- The Washington Times - Saturday, September 27, 2008

DURHAM, N.C. (AP) | David Cutcliffe needed just one game to end one of Duke’s dismal streaks. Now the new coach can bring an end to an even longer one.

The Blue Devils carry a 25-game ACC losing streak into Saturday’s league opener against Virginia.

“There’s an old saying, ‘If you don’t like what you’re getting, then change what you’re doing,’” Cutcliffe said. “We can’t guarantee a win ever by preparation, but we can guarantee we give ourselves the best chance that we can by preparing like an ACC team. That’s what our focus is on. We know Virginia is a good team, they’ve got really good players and are well-coached. We can’t worry about that. We’re at the stage where we’ve got to worry about Duke. We’ve got to get into the game.”

Cutcliffe has done a solid job of making the once-downtrodden Blue Devils (2-1) look like a solid team, winning nonconference games against James Madison and Navy while staying competitive late in a loss to Northwestern. The season-opening win against the Dukes snapped a 16-game losing streak at Wallace Wade Stadium.

The next step for Duke: claiming its first conference victory since beating Clemson 16-13 in 2004. The Blue Devils have finished 0-8 in ACC play for the past three years.

“Duke’s used to being 0-3 or 1-2 at this point. Obviously, that’s not the case now,” Virginia quarterback Marc Verica said.

Instead, it’s Virginia (1-2) that enters this one with a losing record. The Cavaliers have scored just 33 points - with nearly half of that coming against Richmond of the Championship Subdivision - and are coming off a 45-10 rout at Connecticut in which they allowed the Huskies to score touchdowns on their first four drives.

Virginia is looking for its ninth straight victory in the series, dating back to Duke’s double-overtime victory in Charlottesville in 1999.

“There’s guys on this team that have been around here for a while, and they’ve proven in previous seasons that there’s a lot of resolve there, so they’re not going to back down,” said Verica, who has taken over after starter Peter Lalich’s dismissal from the team. “I think we know what we have to do to get back on the right track, but obviously we’re not going to know for certain until this game.”

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