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Miami holds off upset-minded Duke

Oct 21, 2006 - 10:42 PM DURHAM, North Carolina (Ticker) -- A week after one of the most embarrassing episodes in school history, the Miami football team barely avoided what would have been one of its most humiliating losses.

Willie Cooper intercepted a pass at the goal line on the game's final play to allow the Hurricanes to escape with a 20-15 Atlantic Coast Conference victory over lowly Duke.

Miami (5-2, 2-1 ACC Coastal) was without 13 players who were suspended as a result of last Saturday's ugly brawl in a 35-0 victory over Florida Atlantic.

Still, the Hurricanes did not figure to be tested by the Blue Devils (0-7, 0-5 Coastal), who have not won a conference game in three years. They weren't through the first three quarters, scoring the first 17 points.

Duke trailed, 20-2, entering the final quarter but pulled within 20-15 as Thaddeus Lewis threw an 11-yard touchdown pass to Raphael Chestnut and Re'quan Boyette scored on a seven-yard run.

The Blue Devils began their final drive at their 9 with 1:43 to play and quickly moved into scoring position. Lewis hit Jomar Wright (10 catches, 176 yards) on receptions of 22 and 39 yards as Duke had a 1st-and-goal at the 7 with 17 seconds left.

But on third down with three seconds to go, Cooper picked off Lewis' pass to the left flat and returned it 85 yards to avert the upset.

Kyle Wright threw two first-half touchdown passes to Sam Shields for the Hurricanes, who were penalized 15 times for 120 yards. Jon Peattie booted field goals of 21 and 51 yards.

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