As folks prepared to turn their clocks back Saturday, Virginia's football team took several steps back.
"It's the most difficult thing on the planet Earth to lose that way," Cavaliers receiver Dontrelle Inman said.
"Disheartening and disappointing," coach Mike London said.
Indeed, one week after its finest performance this season, Virginia lost 55-48 at Duke.
The Blue Devils had dropped eight consecutive ACC games. Their quarterback has thrown a conference-high 15 interceptions and their defense is among the nation's worst.
But they defeated Virginia (4-5, 1-4 ACC) for the third consecutive year in a game that featured 1,132 yards total offense, a fake field goal for touchdown (U.Va.) and a successful onside kick to open the second half (Duke).
The Blue Devils have five ACC victories in the last three years, three against Virginia, their first such streak in the series since 1976-78. This marks Duke's first three-game run against any conference rival since it bested Wake Forest in 1993, '94 and '95.
Those trends speak to the Cavaliers' program and the macro challenges confronting London in his first season.
Most troubling from the micro view: Leading 48-47 with 1:07 remaining, Virginia allowed a 32-yard pass completion from Sean Renfree to Donovan Varner on fourth-and-20.
"One play gets you off the field," London said, "and you can't capitalize on that."
Was the Cavaliers' sideline preparing to celebrate?
"Of course," Inman said. "Everyone in the stands … thought we had them."
They didn't, and three snaps later, Duke scored the winning touchdown on Desmond Scott's 35-yard run.
The ACC's No. 11 rushing offense, Duke ran for a season-high 230, nearly double its previous average of 120. The Cavaliers tackled poorly and appeared bamboozled by Duke's wildcat formation, from which freshman backup quarterback Brandon Connette rushed for 78 yards and two touchdowns.
The worst breakdown against the rush came on a fourth-quarter third-and-9 from Virginia's 37, when quarterback Sean Renfree ducked and dodged an all-out blitz and weaved 37 yards for a touchdown. Renfree's previous long run this season was 12 yards.
So many indictments, so little time.
Beat No. 22 Miami one week, lose to Duke (3-6, 1-4 ACC) the next? Such are the take-two-Dramamine swings of rebuilding a program.
No player personifies that mercurial nature more than senior quarterback Marc Verica.
He threw for a school-record 417 yards Saturday and career-high four touchdowns. He completed routes short, deep and intermediate.
But Verica threw three interceptions against a defense that had an ACC-low five in its first eight games. Two of the picks came inside Virginia's 20-yard line, and Duke converted the three turnovers into 16 points.
"You can't throw interceptions," London said.
Not when your margin of error is Ralph Sampson-thin. Now when you have a true freshman offensive lineman, Morgan Moses, shuttling between guard and tackle because of injuries. Not when your two best cornerbacks, Ras-I Dowling and Chase Minnifield, also are hobbled.
And certainly not when your defense yields its most points since 1999 — Illinois scored 63 — and you commit 11 penalties for 103 yards.
"We have 11, they have three," London said of the flags. "That's not acceptable. The turnovers compounded that. It's frustrating. We've got to get it fixed."
The defeat masked two notable performances.
Keith Payne, all 255 pounds of him, burrowed his way for 121 yards rushing and scored three touchdowns. He has 15 on the season, three shy of the school record set by legends Gene Mayer in 1914 and Bill Dudley in 1941.
Inman caught 10 passes for 239 yards, two yards shy of the Virginia record established by Ken Shelton 39 years ago.
But records and history were hollow Saturday.
"I'm never surprised by anything," London said of one peculiar play.
The same applies to London's team.
"We're a ways away," he said.
Farther than a week ago.
David Teel can be reached at 247-4636 or by e-mail at email@example.com. For more from Teel, read his blog at dailypress.com/teeltime, and follow him at twitter.com/DavidTeelatDP. Sign up for text alerts by texting "BIGSPORTS" to 71593.