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Duke easily defeats Virginia 42-17

Associated Press Modified: October 6, 2012 at 7:31 pm •  Published: October 6, 2012

DURHAM, N.C. (AP) — Conner Vernon described it as a perfect day.

The Blue Devils' senior wide receiver caught two touchdown passes and set the Atlantic Coast Conference record for career receptions, helping Duke crush Virginia 42-17 on Saturday.

Just as important in Vernon's mind was the fact the Blue Devils improved to 5-1 on the season and 2-0 in the ACC, giving the program its best start since the 1994 team won its first seven games.

"You can't ask for much more," Vernon said.

With his seven catches for 93 yards on the afternoon, Vernon now has 239 receptions in his career. He surpassed Clemson's Aaron Kelly as the ACC's all-time leader in career receptions when he made a catch for minus-2 yards in the first quarter. The senior also hauled in a 37-yard touchdown on the Blue Devils' second drive, and his 45-yard touchdown reception early in the fourth quarter put Duke up 18 points.

Duke starting quarterback Sean Renfree missed the game with an injured right elbow. His replacement, Anthony Boone, threw four TD passes in his first start.

The sophomore passed for 212 yards without an interception.

"It was a big thing for me," Boone said. "I had a little (bit of) jitters at first, but once I calmed down and settled in, I feel like I executed pretty well."

After gaining 321 yards of total offense in the first half, Virginia (2-4, 0-2) could only muster two yards rushing and five first downs after halftime.

"Nothing happened in the third quarter," Virginia coach Mike London said. "They scored too many points, we didn't get any points. It was frustrating on both sides — I'm talking about offense and defensively. We've got to carry the momentum of halftime and our lead, and they moved the ball on us and ended up scoring points and we didn't answer. We didn't respond."

The key stretch of the game came early in the third quarter.

The Cavaliers had a 17-14 halftime lead on the strength of a first half where they averaged 7.1 yards per rush and totaled 184 yards on the ground.

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