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Duke Defeats Virginia Tech In Four Overtime Thriller 45-43

Hokies drop an absolute heartbreaker at Lane

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Coach David Cutcliffe brought his 23rd ranked Blue Devils to Blacksburg on Saturday.  It was homecoming for the Hokies, and they desperately needed an A.C.C. win for any hopes of a Coastal division title.  Duke received the opening kickoff and quickly put together a really great drive culminating in a 1 yard TD toss from Thomas Sirk to Max McCaffrey.  The Blue Devils ran and threw equally well on the first possession.  When Virginia Tech got the ball for the first time, Michael Brewer and Travon Mcmillan led the Hokies down the field to answer.  Bucky Hodges reeled in a 16 yarder from Brewer for the equalizer.  It was 7-7 early in the 1st.  This was the first time the Blue Devils allowed an opponent to score in the opening frame all season.

The Devils responded immediately. On the next drive Thomas Sirk looked incredible hooking up with Anthony Nash for a 45 yard bomb. Sirk hit his second touchdown two plays later hooking up with McCaffrey again. 14-7 Blue Devils.

After trading punts, Brenden Motley got into the game for the first time.  This was no real surprise, as the coaches stated during the week that both QB's would see action.  After 2 read options netted 4 yards, Brewer came in for a pivotal 3rd and 6 play.  Brewer converted, finding Isaiah Ford over the middle for a huge pickup.   The first quarter came to a close with the Hokies trailing 14-7, but driving in Duke territory.  The drive eventually fizzled, but Joey Slye booted a 44 yard FG to bring the Hokies within 4, 14-10.  On the next Duke possession, the Hokies were able to force the Devils' second punt of the game. The Hokies could not move the ball either, but flipped the field with a big punt from A.J. Hughes.  After trading punts again, the Devils put together an impressive drive near the end of the 2nd quarter.  Sirk made some great throws and a clutch run, where he stiff-armed Chuck Clark to the deck.  The Hokies defense stiffened in the red zone, holding Duke to a field goal attempt that was shanked by Ross Martin.  The missed field goal gave the ball back to the Hokies with the score remaining 14-10 Devils.  The half started with some offensive fireworks, and ended with a punt battle. The first half stats looked like this:

Duke Blue Devils Virginia Tech Hokies
1st Downs 11 7
3rd Down Efficiency 7-11 4-9
Rushing Yards 67 36
Passing Yards 158 101
Total Yards 225 137
Interceptions 0 0
Punts(Avg) 3(45.3) 4(52.0)
Penalties(Yards) 3(15) 1(0)
Fumbles(Lost) 0 0

The second half started with the Hokies receiving the kick.  The Hokies managed to pick up a couple of first downs, but eventually punted the rock back to the Devils.  Duke needed no time to score a touchdown on an option play to Shaun Wilson who ran 58 yards to paydirt.  The Hokies had plenty of chances to bring down the back, and Wilson made them pay.21-10 Duke at this point.  The Hokies put together a great answer drive fueled by great runs from Travon McMillian.  The drive chewed up most of the 3rd quarter, and the Hokies were first and goal from the Devils' 6 yard line.  McMillian taking the direct snap, capped off the 20 play drive on a Wildcat run.  21-16 Duke, with the fourth quarter approaching.  The Hokies elected to go for two, and Motley could not convert.  It was a historical drive as it was the longest drive in Frank Beamer's long and storied career at Virginia Tech. Tech tried an onside kick, which Duke recovered as the game entered the last quarter of play.

The fourth quarter began with Duke in Virginia Tech territory thanks to the unconverted onside kick.  The Devils were shut down by the Hokie defense, and were forced to punt.  Faced with a long field, the Hokies had to punt back to Duke with 13:10 left in the game.  Duke quickly got itself in FG range, and this time Ross Martin was true from 41 yards out.  That made the score 24-16 Devils.

Virginia Tech missed a big opportunity with Michael Brewer going to Bucky Hodges deep down the field.  Brewer was under pressure and floated a bomb to an open Hodges who looked like he lost the ball and couldn't adjust.  The pass would have set the Hokies up in prime Duke territory, but instead were forced to punt it back to the Blue Devils. The Hokies defense again was up to the challenge stopping Duke with a 3 and out.  Virginia Tech was running out of chances and time.  On a miracle 4th and 2 play, Brewer through a rainbow prayer to Bucky Hodges for an AMAZING touchdown.  The Hokies had to go for 2 and Brewer tried to get it to Sam Rogers.  The pass was incomplete, but Rogers was interfered with, giving the Hokies a second chance.  From the 1 1/2 yard line, the Hokies threw a fade to Ford which was out of bounds.  FORD was interfered with, giving the Hokies a THIRD chance.  This time they give the ball to McMillian who pounded in the 2 point conversion to tie the game 24-24 with 2:07 left in the game.

Lane Stadium was rocking! Duke promptly drove down the field and was in position to kick a potentially game winning field goal, but Ross Martin hit the right upright and the Hokies had life!  Brewer and the coaches were not in sync with the clock management, as the Hokies let a ton  of time elapse between plays.  It was 3rd and 5 with 2 seconds remaining.  The Hokies decided to trot out Joey Slye for a 67, yes 67, yard FG attempt.  The kick was woefully short, and Duke ran out a return.  The end of regulation was bizarre to say the least.  Heading to overtime, it appeared that the Hokies had the momentum.

The Hokies won the toss, and started out on defense.  The held the Devils to a Ross Martin 38 yard field goal to push the Devils up by 3.  It was up to Michael Brewer and the offense to win the game.  After a couple of McMillian runs, the Hokies were faced with a 3rd and 5.  Brewer's pass was batted down, and Joey Slye hit a 37 yarder as we entered the second overtime.  Virginia Tech had first crack on the other end of the field.  Brewer found Malleck for an 8 yard gain.  Sam Rogers bulled his way for the first down on the next play.  The Hokies again faced a 3rd and medium and Brewer fired an absolute laser to Bucky Hodges for the TD!  The Hokies now led 34-27 with Duke getting a chance to get even.  After a pass interference call, the Devils were immediately knocking on the door.  Sirk found Anthony Nash running free in the back of the end zone, and the Devils were right back in it 34-34.

We entered the THIRD overtime with the rules stipulating that any scoring team must go for a two point conversion.  Duke began the 3rd OT with the football.  Sirk lofted a rainbow that found McCaffrey at the 5 yard line.  Duke tried to get tricky spreading Sirk out at receiver, but the Hokies were not fooled.  The Hokies held on 3rd and goal, and Duke was forced to take the chip shot field goal.  Martin was pure from 20 yards and the score was 37-34.  Tech tried some trickery of its own, but the Ford receiver pass was incomplete.  Brewer couldn't find Ford on 3rd down, and again it was all on Joey Slye's foot.  The 41 yard attempt  was center cut, and we proceeded to the FOURTH overtime period.

Virginia Tech got the ball to begin the 4th extra period.  The Hokies got physical running Rogers and McMillian down to the goal line.  McMillian punched it in, and the Hokies had to go for 2.  Brewer missed Ford, and the score stood at 43-37 with Duke getting its chance. Duke scored on the first play with a bomb from Sirk to Erich Schneider.  The 2 point conversion would decide the ball game. Sirk bulled it in for the win.  An amazing game that the Hokies showed great determination and grit in.