The Virginia Tech Hokies headed into Durham, NC to face the undefeated Duke Blue Devils. Duke QB, Daniel Jones, has returned to the starting lineup after sitting the last two games due to the broken collar bone he suffered three weeks ago. The Hokies went into this game looking to redeem themselves, in front of a national audience, after the disappointment at Norfolk last week.
Virginia Tech won the coin toss, but deferred. After stopping Duke’s opening drive VT’s new starting QB Ryan Willis and the offense took to the field. Willis looked good completing passes of 16 and 13 yards to Grimsley and Hazelton, but the drive stalled. Coach Fuente elected to fake a punt, but Caleb Farley was unable to convert and Virginia Tech turned the ball over on downs. Duke’s short field didn’t last long when a Daniel Jones pass was tipped at the line and intercepted by Reggie Floyd, setting up the Hokies to strike first with a Brian Johnson field goal.
Duke was quick to respond, driving 75 yards in just over three minutes to take the lead off a 23 yard TD to Noah Gray. VT recovered the lead, 10-7, when Ryan Willis hit Damon Hazelton for a 27-yard touchdown to complete a 76-yard 3:30 drive. After a quick Duke three-and-out the Hokies had a close call when Hazelton muffed the punt, but the Hokies recovered on their 13-yard line. Willis decided he didn’t have enough passing yards. After hitting Grimsley for a 24-yard pass he immediately followed with a 67-yard touchdown to Dalton Keene. The Blue Devil’s response fizzled out with a missed 43-yard field goal attempt, and the first half finished with the Hokies leading, 17-7.
Willis and the Hokies went to work from their 32-yard line after the Wheatley kickoff return, but only mustered six yards before punting it away. The Virginia Tech defense suffered a fright when Daniel Jones completed a sideline pass to T.J. Rahming who might’ve scored if he hadn’t stepped out of bounds. Duke failed to convert a fourth down attempt and the Hokies took over on the fifty yard line. Willis connected with Kumah for 36 yards, setting up Steven People’s fifth TD on the year.
Both squads spent the remainder of the third quarter trading stalled offensive drives. Duke put together a nine play, 49 yard drive that was punctuated by a leaping Deon Jackson TD, pulling Duke to within ten points with 13:47 left in regulation. Tre Turner became the fifth separate Hokie with a reception of 20+ yards when he hauled in a 33-yard Willis pass that put VT into Duke territory. After a hard fought fourth down conversion, Phillip Patterson had the catch of the game when he pulled Willis’ third TD of the night. Quentin Harris stepped in as QB for Duke, in hopes of a change of pace. It didn’t work out as desired and Duke turned over on downs with 2:54 left on the clock. Virginia Tech was able to run the clock down and the Hokies took victory, 31-14!
- Willis looked sharp moving and passing the ball. He finished the evening with 332 yards, three touchdowns, and zero interceptions!
- The Blue Devils frustrated a Hokies running attack that’s coming off back-to-back 300 yard games, holding VT to 81 yards and an abysmal 2.0 yards per carry.
- VT’s defensive effort was significantly improved over last week, but the secondary still showed vulnerability against the deep ball.
- In case you didn’t see... ODU lost to ECU, 35-37, showing that whatever they did last week was a one-off... UGH!