The Virginia Tech Hokies defeated the Duke Blue Devils, 48-17, to improve to 5-5 on the season. The Hokies also move to 3-3 in ACC play with the win over Duke.
This was a thorough beatdown that had to feel satisfying for the players, coaches, and fans in Lane Stadium on that September Friday night two years ago when the Blue Devils handed the Hokies their worst home loss in the modern era. The game where Duke coach David Cutcliffe faked a punt late in the fourth quarter up four touchdowns.
While this game doesn’t mean a lot in the grand scheme of things, it meant a lot to those young men on the field Saturday and the coaching staff. Plus, it’s always good to celebrate a win.
Now, here are five takeaways from Virginia Tech’s win.
A reminder of how much fun Lane Stadium is
Remember the old days of coming to Blacksburg on game day and knowing the Hokies were going to take their opponents to the woodshed? Yeah, it’s been a while. Saturday’s win took us back to that special place we took for granted. This is what always happened to an overmatched opponent when it came to Lane Stadium. We need to get back to that point.
The game was never in doubt, the offense had no problem scoring and the defense played sound, hard-hitting football. Several Hokies made plays on offense, and the fans were loud and in a good mood. It’s honestly too bad the game was officiated by ACC officials — the worst in the country.
Welcome back, Keshawn King
Running back Keshawn King had himself a game on Saturday. King carried the football nine times 90 yards and a touchdown. He also caught a 47-yard touchdown pass. That’s the King we’ve been waiting for.
The third-year back from Florida has battled injuries during his time in Blacksburg. The talent was always there. Last season was a lost one for King with Khalil Herbert in town. This season, coaches expected big things from him, but an early-season fumble and an injury kept him from producing. Not to mention, it isn’t easy to take Malachi Thomas and Raheem Blackshear off the field.
Let’s hope King returns to Blacksburg next year and finds a substantial role in whatever offense Virginia Tech plans to run in 2022. He’s a talented kid, and head coach Justin Fuente heaped the praise on King after the game.
The catch on the run for Keshawn King gets his first TD of the season pic.twitter.com/o8BW7ESjh2— Stadium (@Stadium) November 14, 2021
Braxton Burmeister was injured again but did return. This young man is tough, and puts it on the line for his teammates each week. Trust me, they respect Burmeister regardless of what limitations fans believe has on the field. It’s not Burmeister’s fault so much is expected from him — blame the coaching staff.
Anyhow, back to Saturday. Burmeister has let the ball rip lately, and it’s opening up things for the entire offense. He completed nine of 15 passes for 215 yards and three touchdowns, with one interception.
Knox Kadum attempted three passes, completing two, for 61 yards. His lone incompletion was an overthrow of a wide-open Tre Turner for what would’ve been an easy touchdown. It was windy in Blacksburg on Saturday, and the pass seemed to sail on Kadum. He looked a little more comfortable in his limited opportunities this week.
Duke is bad
Make no mistake, the Duke Blue Devils are the worst team in the ACC — in a bad ACC. While they have some talented players in spots, overall, Duke doesn’t do a lot of things well. I wonder if Cutcliffe thought about that fake punt at anytime on Saturday?
So, while we can be impressed with Virginia Tech’s performance, we can also acknowledge Duke is terrible.
Senior day is always bittersweet. We watch these young men go from recruits to playing in Blacksburg for multiple seasons. Fans grow attached to the players, and the players grow attached to the special community that is Virginia Tech, Blacksburg and the New River Valley.
On Saturday, over 20 Hokies were honored. Players such as Tre Turner, James Mitchell, Tyrell Smith, Lecitus Smith, Brock Hoffman, Silas Dzansi, Jermaine Waller, Jordan Williams, Amare Barno, Raheem Blackshear, Jalen Holston and Burmeister, were among those players. I apologize for leaving others out, it was not deliberate. All 20+ of these young men created special moments for all of us fans and supporters, and we are fans for life, on the football field — and off.
This was a strange year because for many of these players, they could’ve came back for an extra year, thanks to NCAA granting athletes what is essentially a free year of eligibility, thanks to COVID-19. We know Dax Hollifield is coming back. Perhaps a handful of those honored on Saturday will return. If so, we will accept all of them with open arms. But, for many, it’s time to move on, with, or without football.
Hokie fans say thank you to all of our seniors. But, we’ve still got games to play.
As for the fans, kudos to everyone for showing up in Blacksburg on Saturday. It was a cold day with almost nothing to play. Yet, fans showed up and supported the Hokies. That’s why Virginia Tech fans are the best.