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Virginia Tech 34, Duke 26: Postgame Stream of Consciousness

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It was way too interesting for way too long, but the Hokies finally put away the Blue Devils late. It was anything but pretty, as EBJ said in the game thread, the coaches have a lot of things to scream about in practice this week. But first and foremost, kudos to David Cucliffe and his Duke Blue Devils. They had a good game plan and executed it well. In they end, they just couldn't complete drives and get seven points on the board instead of three. But Duke played very, very well in this game.

 

  • First Star: Tyrod Taylor. He had a career-high in passing yards and two long TD passes. Duke sold out on stopping the run to force Taylor to beat them. He played well enough to do just that.
  • Second star: Josh Oglesby. He made the tough runs late in the game to put Duke away. While Ryan Williams couldn't find room to run against the Duke front seven, Oglesby stayed North-South, averaged nearly 10 yards per carry and scored twice.
  • Third Star: Jarrett Boykin. Really, this should go to all the receivers and tight ends, who made key, clutch grabs all day. Boykin had the better numbers with six catches for 144 yards and a touchdown. His 62-yard reception on 3rd and 34 was a game-changer.
  • The offense played well for Virginia Tech. The Hokies didn't have success running the ball early against a defense that was playing the run almost exclusively. But those runs that were unsuccessful early helped wear down the Duke defense and set up the rushing success Tech had late.
  • When fans were calling for play action passes early in the game, the Hokies actually ran them and had big gains off them. Duke was playing man coverage against the Tech wide receivers most of the game. While they had good coverage most of the game, Boykin and Danny Coale were able to go up and make big catches early to put the Hokies on the scoreboard. Taylor's deep balls were accurate throughout the game and by putting loft on them like he did, it allowed the receivers to find the ball, go up and make plays.
  • In the fourth quarter, when they needed it most, the Hokies were able to sustain drives by moving the ball on the ground. On their first drive of the fourth, Williams and Oglesby combined for 53 yards on seven carries. On the second TD drive, they combined to run the ball seven times for 41 yards. The Duke defense finally succumbed to the constant battering on the ground from Virginia Tech.
  • The rush defense was fine and when the Hokies were able to get pressure on Thaddeus Lewis they were able to disrupt the timing of Duke's pass game. But holy shit did we give up a lot of big plays through the air. There were coverage breakdowns everywhere.
  • Duke had the kind of game through the air today that I thought Miami would have last week. Lewis spread the ball around to a lot of different receivers and had a lot of long plays. It was ridiculous and better fixed by next week when the Hokies face Boston College.
  • The penalties were ridiculous and cost the Hokies throughout the game. It was just as bad if not worse than the Nebraska game. When the Hokies are doing everything they can to beat themselves, you get scores like 34-26.
  • I was wrong, wrong, wrong. We didn't see Duke's Sean Renfree or Virginia Tech's David Wilson the entire game. Wilson's absence raises a lot of questions from me. Did he not see the field because the game was close? Was it because he's not "getting it"? Are there just not enough carries to go around? I'm happy with the way Williams and Oglesby are playing, and the coaches must be, too, because Wilson hasn't seen much action other than the Marshall game.
  • Around the ACC, North Carolina and Clemson both lost. UNC was at home, playing Virginia and managed three points. Something is very wrong with that offensive line. Clemson, my pick to win the ACC at the beginning of the year, just isn't a very good football team right now.
  • Our opponent next week, Boston College, is currently playing FSU on the secondary TV. I'm interested to see how BC QB David Shinskie plays and what the Hokies will have to do next week to stop him.