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Duke hands Miami Hurricanes third straight loss

DURHAM, N.C. — The path to an ACC championship once again leads through Duke — and not just in basketball.

These Blue Devils proved to No. 24 Miami — and maybe everyone else — they're no longer pushovers.

Brandon Connette rushed for a career-high four touchdowns and threw for a fifth, and Duke upset the Hurricanes 48-30 Saturday to take control of the league's messy Coastal Division.

"This team is not just a fluke," center Dave Harding said.

Connette, the Blue Devils' change-of-pace quarterback, had touchdown runs of 1, 2, 3 and 4 yards, and threw a 22-yard touchdown to Shaq Powell.

Duke (8-2, 4-2 ACC) — for years, one of the nation's worst in a power conference — won its sixth straight, which ranks as one of the most significant in school history.

"I remember when I first got here, the team hadn't won a game in, like, three years," running back Josh Snead said. He said coach David Cutcliffe told him, "Just believe. Believe in the process."

"We got a lot of guys that believe in this process," Snead said, "and we're here today."

Snead rushed for a career-high 138 yards and Powell added a backbreaking 33-yard touchdown run that put the Blue Devils in complete command.

UM's Dallas Crawford rushed for 115 yards and Stephen Morris threw for 379 and two touchdowns, but the Hurricanes (7-3, 3-3) lost their third straight since climbing to No. 7. They've allowed at least 41 points in each loss.

"There's enough blame to go around in this game," coach Al Golden said.

In a wild one that featured 1,108 total yards and three lead changes, Duke — the only two-loss team in the Coastal — kept hold of the inside track to a berth opposite No. 2 Florida State in the ACC title game in three weeks. FSU already has locked up the Atlantic Division.

Ross Martin gave Duke the lead for good late in the third when he banked in a 48-yard field goal off the upright to make it 31-30. Two possessions later — and two plays after Snead burst 56 yards into the Miami red zone — Connette powered in from 4 yards out to put the Blue Devils up 38-30 with 11:37 left.

Morris finished 30-of-49 with touchdowns of 50 and 5 yards to Herb Waters. Stacy Coley returned a punt 79 yards for a touchdown, and Matt Goudis added three field goals.

But the 'Canes couldn't stop Duke's ground game: The Blue Devils rolled up 358 yards — by far the most by a Cutcliffe-coached team at either Duke or Mississippi — against a UM run defense that was giving up an average of 152.

"Coach said we were going to call it and haul it," Snead said, "and that's what we did."

Duke hands Miami Hurricanes third straight loss 11/16/13 [Last modified: Saturday, November 16, 2013 11:13pm]
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