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Virginia Tech survives Duke 38-31

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It wasn’t pretty, but a huge win for the Hokies.

NCAA Football: Virginia Tech at Duke
Virginia Tech QB Braxton Burmeister
Nell Redmond-USA TODAY Sports

The Virginia Tech Hokies survive again. Down 21 players and two coaches, including defensive coordinator Justin Hamilton due to COVID-19, the Hokies went to Durham and outlasted Duke 38-31.

It was an impressive effort by the Virginia Tech defense considering the Hokies were without their top four cornerbacks, starting safety Divine Deablo and his top backup, J.R. Walker and a host of other, including linebacker Alan Tisdale.

The Blue Devils had two impressive second-half drives, but outside of that an undermanned VT defense got to Duke quarterback Chase Brice seven times. Walk-on safety Tyler Matheny, who was forced into action at safety, was outstanding as he recorded six tackles, including three for loss and an interception.

Senior defensive end Emmanuel Belmar finished the game with three sacks.

The Hokies went with Braxton Burmeister at quarterback, as head coach Justin Fuente felt Hendon Hooker didn’t have enough practice reps.

Burmeister wasn’t terribly efficient throwing the football, completing nine of 24 passes for 163 yards with a touchdown and an interception. He did rush for 43 yards and two scores.

It was once again the Khalil Herbert show, as the Kansas transfer rushed for 207 yards on just 19 attempts, including a touchdown. He also returned three kickoffs for a total of 150 yards. He had one called back when his foot was out of bounds at the Duke 16-yard line.

With the win, the Hokies move to 2-0 and have a big class in Chapel Hill with the No. 12 Tar Heels next week.