On a night that was meant to honor the greatest team in Virginia Tech history, the Hokies put up another dud in prime-time, losing to the Duke Blue Devils 45-10 in one of the worst performances in recent school history.
The game started off with the Hokies receiving the opening kick, getting to midfield before the offense stalled. The defense proved up for the challenge early, though, forcing Duke to go three-and-out on its first three possessions. Unfortunately for the Hokies, their offense couldn’t get anything going as they got inside the five-yard line, but had to settle for a field goal for an early 3-0 lead.
Everything went downhill from there.
Head coach Justin Fuente decided to rotate quarterbacks, bringing in Quincy Patterson to carry one time for a short gain. Then, after Willis played the next series, Hendon Hooker came in. After a few positive plays, the Hokies appeared to botch a handoff from Hooker to Keshawn King and the Blue Devils got the ball at Tech’s 16-yard line. On the very first play, Duke QB Quentin Harris found tight end Noah Gray for an easy 16-yard touchdown and that was essentially the end of this one.
Fuente brought Willis back in at quarterback and he still looked the same. Meanwhile, Duke moved surgically up and down the field on its next two possessions to take a 21-3 lead before halftime.
Hooker and Willis would split time at quarterback in the second half. Nothing worked. Offensive coordinator Brad Cornelson, who absolutely should not be an offensive coordinator at a power-five school, was still trying to establish the run instead of using the quick passing game to move up and down the field. And, when Hooker was in the game, it was more than obvious the Hokies were running the football, as he attempted just a few passes.
The Hokies’ lone highlight came when Willis, back in the game, found the returning Damon Hazelton for a 72-yard touchdown. It was Hazelton’s first action of the season. Outside of that one play, Deshawn McClease did have a 45-yard run in the first half. Outside of those plays, it was an ugly night for the Virginia Tech offense.