Nov 8, 2003
By AARON BEARD
Associated Press Writer
DURHAM, N.C. (AP) – Duke put an emphatic end to its four-year Atlantic Coast Conference losing streak Saturday.
Chris Douglas ran for a career-high 218 yards and two scores, and Malcolm Ruff had a 42-yard interception return for a touchdown to lift the Blue Devils to a 41-17 win against Georgia Tech.
Duke (3-7, 1-5) had not won an ACC game since beating Wake Forest 48-35 on Nov. 13, 1999, a league-record losing streak of 30 games. But the Blue Devils ended that run by constantly rotating quarterbacks against the Yellow Jackets (5-4, 3-3) and relying on Douglas’ career effort.
He became the first Blue Devils player to top the 200-yard mark in nine years with a 27-yard touchdown run with 2:49 to play. The 218 yards were the third-highest in school history as Douglas cracked the 100-yard mark for the third straight week.
Douglas also had a 12-yard TD run in the third quarter.
Behind Douglas, the Blue Devils rushed for 253 yards against a defense allowing a league-best 94.8 rushing yards per contest.
It was the Blue Devils’ first win under interim coach Ted Roof, the defensive coordinator who took over after Carl Franks was fired on Oct. 19. Under Franks, the Blue Devils had won three league games in 1999, but finished 0-8 in league play in each of the last three seasons.
Mike Schneider and Chris Dapolito rotated every few plays and finished with 141 passing yards and a touchdown with just one interception.
P.J. Daniels rushed for 108 yards and a touchdown for the Yellow Jackets, who were looking for their fifth straight win. They had beaten North Carolina State, Wake Forest and Maryland during the run, but could not stop the Blue Devils’ straight-ahead attack.
Freshman quarterback Reggie Ball committed two second-half turnovers that led directly to Blue Devils touchdowns.
Fans stormed the field after the game, tearing down a goalpost at one end of Wallace Wade Stadium. Blue Devils players celebrated earlier, dumping a cooler on Roof after Giuseppe Aguanno’s interception ended Georgia Tech’s last possession with 1:06 to play.
Duke scored the first 10 points of the game and took a 17-10 halftime lead.
Leading 20-10 midway through the third quarter, Matt Zielinski stripped Ball on a keeper in Georgia Tech territory. Brendan Dewan recovered the ball at Georgia Tech’s 36, and Douglas ran it in from 12 yards out four plays later for a 27-10 lead with 4:02 left in the period.
Georgia Tech closed the gap to 27-17 on a 2-yard touchdown by Daniels, but got no closer. Ruff intercepted Ball’s pass on the Yellow Jackets’ next possession and weaved through defenders for the touchdown.
The Blue Devils marched 62 yards on 10 plays to open the game. Cedric Dargan ended the drive with a 1-yard touchdown run with 9:57 left in the first quarter.
After getting a fourth-down stop on Georgia Tech’s first drive, the Blue Devils put together a 39-yard drive, ending with Brent Garber’s 43-yard field goal for a 10-0 lead with 44 seconds left in the opening quarter.
Georgia Tech answered on its next drive with Ball’s 1-yard keeper with 11:47 left in the half.
Duke pushed the lead to 17-7 midway through the quarter when Dapolito connected with Andy Roland for a 7-yard touchdown with 8:01 left in the half. Dan Burnett’s 42-yard field goal with 43 seconds left in the half cut Duke’s lead to seven at the break.