ACC Football: Duke 10, Vanderbilt 7
NASHVILLE, Tenn. ó This is how good things are going for Duke in coach David Cutcliffe’s first season: An injury forces a substitution at cornerback late in the game, and the sophomore intercepts a pass with 38 seconds left to help seal the victory.
Sophomore Chris Rwabukamba picked off Mackenzi Adams’ pass at the Vanderbilt 1, and Nick Maggio’s 42-yard field goal in the third quarter after Duke missed its first two attempts helped the Blue Devils pull out a 10-7 victory over the Commodores on Saturday.
“I just timed my jump and was able to grab the ball at the highest point to secure the interception,” said Rwabukamba, who went in to replace the injured Leon Wright. “The coaches always tell the defensive backs to go get the ball at the highest point, and I was able to make a play.”
Duke (4-3) snapped a six-game skid in this series and put a serious dent in Vanderbilt’s bowl hopes with its first win in Nashville in this series since 1988. Cutcliffe came in 23-2 when coaching against Vanderbilt with his stints at Tennessee and Mississippi, and he improved to 6-0 as head coach against Commodores coach Bobby Johnson.
“It’s always significant to win,” Cutcliffe said of his first time coaching an ACC team against the SEC where he had spent his career until this year.
Duke controlled most of an ugly game, coming up with four sacks and three turnovers as Vandy outgained the Blue Devils 291-250 on offense. The last turnover sealed the victory with 38 seconds left as the Commodores had one last try with Rwabukamba picked off a pass intended for Sean Walker.
Chris Shannon recovered a fumbled punt by Vandy’s Jamie Graham midway through the third at the Commodores 15 that set up Maggio’s winning field goal field goal. This game shouldn’t have been this close, but Joe Surgan missed a 50-yard attempt with Maggio missing a 43-yarder just before halftime and never got a chance to try a 52-yarder in the first after a fumbled snap.