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Virginia Tech Hokies Lead Duke Blue Devils at Halftime, 21-7

The Virginia Tech Hokies would like to return the favor of a home loss to the Duke Blue Devils. How did they do, during the first half?

Last year the Duke Blue Devils defeated the Virginia Tech Hokies, 43-45, in four overtime periods.  For these two teams, last season and this season are almost a complete inverse of one another.  When the Blue Devils came to call in 2015 they were sitting at 5-1.  The Hokies had dropped three of their last four and were sitting at an uncomfortable, 3-4.  This year Duke has dropped three of their last four, and is nursing a 3-5 record, while the Hokies are comfortably bowl qualified at 6-2.  Today the Hokies seek to avenge the home loss they suffered last season.

To open the game the Hokies received the ball and had six runs and a single pass play before they were forced to punt.  Duke was stunted by the VT defense and only managed eleven yards before also punting.  The Hokies opened with runs again, and thanks to a Duke offsides penalty made a third and long a third and three, which Evans ran easily.  Evans and Hodges met up for an amazing catch, which required Bucky to make an incredible adjustment to haul in a poorly thrown ball that was well behind him.  Two plays later, Travon McMillian, ripped off a 14-yard run, up the middle, to put the Hokies up, 7-0.

Duke red-shirt freshmen QB, Daniel Jones, would not be denied.  Featuring a 12 yard QB scramble and a 22-yard completion to the VT three-yard-line, Duke responded with a perfectly executed 75-yard scoring drive, to tie the game, 7-7.  After a short punt return the Hokies quickly found themselves in another third down situation, but converted with an outside pass to C.J. Carroll.  That was the first of three consecutive strikes.  The next pass was a 22-yard reception by Travon, which was immediately followed with a return to Carroll for 14 yards.  After two runs from Sam Rogers the Hokies again found themselves third and short.  Evans took a shot at Chris Cunningham, but the pass was incomplete and Joey Slye missed the ensuing field goal wide right.

With just over a minute remaining in the first quarter the Blue Devils took over and put together back to back long pass plays.  Jones completed a 14-yard pass to TE, Erich Schneider, before closing the quarter with a 30-yard pass across the middle.  At the end of the first the Hokies and Blue Devils were tied, 7-7, with Duke driving at the Virginia Tech 34-yard line.

To open the second quarter, Daniel Jones, rushed for nine yards to the VT 25 before  RB, Shaun Wilson, took it into the red zone with a six-yard run.  The Hokies held on and forced the Duke field goal unit out where they would seemingly make an easy 30-yard chip shot to take the lead.  Except they didn’t, because Greg Stroman blocked the attempt and Adonis Alexander scooped the ball and took it to the house.  The Hokies took the lead, 14-7.  That was the first blocked FG returned for a score since the Hokies did it against Georgia Tech back in 2005.

The Blue Devil offense returned to the field and were quickly held to a three and out.  After the first sack of the game the Hokies again faced a third down, but Evans had a ten-yard run for the first down.  After a 23-yard reception for Cam Phillips the Hokies were halted in the red zone and faced 4th and 1.  Fuente sent the offense back on the field and Evans not only collected the first down, but also another Hokie touchdown.  Virginia Tech 21, Duke 7.

Duke was held to a three and out offensive performance, but on the ensuing punt return, Greg Stroman, injured his ankle and was taken out of the game.  Virginia Tech looked to be putting together the start of another decent drive before an offensive holding penalty relegated the Hokies to 3rd and 8, which they failed to convert.  Duke received a shallow VT punt and started with good field position, at their 45, with about 4:30 left in the half.  Despite the assistance of a defensive pass interference call, Duke was unable to get their offense moving and punted.  C.J. Carroll was on the field for the injured Stroman, but the kick resulted in a touchback and the Hokies took over on their 25-yard line with just over three minutes left in regulation.  The initial offensive production was all from Jerod Evans runs.  First for seven, which was immediately followed by an 11-yard scramble.  After a short two-yard run from Travon and an incomplete pass the Hokies faced 3rd and 8.  The Duke defense had an answer and Evans was forced to throw the ball away, forcing the second Hokie punt in the last five minutes of the half.  The Blue Devils were unable to move the ball and the second quarter closed with the Virginia Tech Hokies leading, 21-7.

Virginia Tech Hokies Duke Blue Devils
First Downs 13 10
Third Downs 5 - 10 5 - 10
Fourth Downs 1 - 1 0 - 0
Total Yards 237 177
Passing 121 92
Completions / Attempts 9 - 16 12 - 19
Average Yards Per Pass 7.6 4.8
Interceptions 0 0
Rushing 116 85
Rushing Attempts 27 18
Yards Per Rush 4.3 4.7
Penalties 2 - 22 yds 3 - 22 yds
Turnovers 0 0
Lost Fumbles 0 0
Interceptions 0 0
Time of Possession 15:20 14:20