Hokies Escape Scare from Duke

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Virginia Tech (6) ...   7  10   3  14 - 34
Duke ................   7   3   3  13 - 26

Scoring Summary:

1st Quarter
02:48 DU - King 48 yd pass from Lewis (Snyderwine kick)
00:49 VT - Coale 36 yd pass from Taylor (Waldron kick)

2nd Quarter
10:41 VT - Waldron 40 yd field goal
06:14 VT - Boykin 28 yd pass from Taylor (Waldron kick)
00:07 DU - Snyderwine 29 yd field goal

3rd Quarter
12:43 DU - Snyderwine 25 yd field goal
08:33 VT - Waldron 33 yd field goal

4th Quarter
13:51 DU - Snyderwine 47 yd field goal
09:37 VT - Oglesby 12 yd run (Waldron kick)
07:08 DU - Snyderwine 43 yd field goal
02:28 VT - Oglesby 19 yd run (Waldron kick)
00:25 DU - Kelly 4 yd pass from Lewis (Snyderwine kick)

Durham, NC – This was a classic letdown game for Virginia Tech, and that’s exactly how it played out. It was very sloppy, but the Hokies managed to leave Durham with a 34-26 win over the Duke Blue Devils. Tech improved to 4-1 overall, and 2-0 in the ACC with the win. Duke dropped to 2-3 overall, and 0-1 in the ACC.

Tyrod Taylor had a brilliant game, going 17-of-22 for 327 yards, with two touchdowns and no interceptions, setting a career high for passing yards in a game. He showed a lot of poise in the pocket, and he seemed to know exactly where to go with the football.

Taylor was helped by a group of wide receivers who played their best game of the season. Jarrett Boykin set career highs in catches (6) and yards (144). He also had a big touchdown reception in the corner of the end zone, wrestling the ball away from a Duke cornerback.

Danny Coale also had a big day, catching three passes for a career-high 94 yards. Coale hauled in a 37 yard touchdown pass from Taylor in the first half, and he also came down with a big catch in traffic late in the game, displaying great body control. Dyrell Roberts added four catches for 38 yards.

Starting tight end Greg Boone also appears to be getting healthier. He was injured against Alabama and caught just two passes for 15 yards in the first four games of the season. Against Duke, he had two receptions for 25 yards. Andre Smith added had a 17 yard reception, his first catch of the season.

Duke shut down the Tech running game, until the fourth quarter. At that point the Tech offensive line asserted itself, and Ryan Williams and Josh Oglesby were hard to tackle. Williams finished with 24 carries for 83 yards. Duke had more success against Williams than any other defense this season. Oglesby had a big fourth quarter. His two late touchdown runs iced the game for Tech. He finished with six carries for 59 yards and two touchdowns.

The Hokies finished with 477 yards of total offense, their second-highest total of the season.

The Tech defense didn’t fare as well. Duke quarterback Thad Lewis, perhaps the most underrated signal caller in the country, torched a Tech secondary which until Saturday had been dominant. Lewis was 22-of-40 for 359 yards, with two touchdowns and no interceptions.

Freshman wide receiver Conner Vernon had four catches for 128 yards, while Austin Kelly had six receptions for 43 yards and a touchdown.

Duke jumped out to a 7-0 lead early, but the Hokies rallied to take a 17-10 lead at halftime. The Blue Devils trailed by as little as four points in the second half, but Josh Oglesby’s two fourth quarter touchdown runs gave Virginia Tech a 35-19 lead.

The Blue Devils scored their final touchdown with 25 seconds remaining to make the score a one possession game, but their onside kick was unsuccessful.

Despite the poor pass defense, there were a couple of defensive standouts for the Hokies. Whip linebacker Cody Grimm played at a high level, as usual. He led the Hokies with 14 tackles, and he added two tackles for loss and a forced fumble. Demetrius Taylor had two tackles for loss and a sack.

Steven Friday and Nekos Brown also had sacks for Tech. The Hokie defense has three sacks for the game, while the Tech offensive line allowed just one sack. Over the past two games, Tyrod Taylor has been sacked just once.

Recap

Though this game turned out to be a high scoring game, you couldn’t tell in the opening possessions. The Hokies punted on their first two possessions, and it turned out to be their only punts of the game.

Duke finally got things going on their second drive of the game. Quarterback Thad Lewis found fullback Brandon King wide open in the Tech secondary for a 48 yard touchdown. Each of Tech’s defenders on the left side of the field bit on the playfake, and no one stayed deep. The result was a wide open touchdown pass, and Duke led 7-0 with 2:48 remaining in the first quarter.

The Hokies also had two offsides penalties during Duke’s touchdown drive. They were two of 12 penalties committed by Tech on the day. They racked up 105 yards of penalty yardage, which shows they were not mentally focused heading into the game.

It took Tyrod Taylor just four plays to answer. The Hokies took over on their own 40 after Duke’s kickoff rolled out of bounds. Modest runs of three and four yards sandwiched a 17 yard completion to Andre Smith down the middle. Taylor made an excellent throw to Smith, who was well-defended on the play.

The quick drive ended when Taylor hit Danny Coale on a 36 yard post for a touchdown. Coale showed excellent body control to come down with the ball, and Tech pulled even 7-7 with 49 seconds left in the first quarter.

The Hokies later added a field goal early in the second quarter, and threatened to pull away before halftime. Jarrett Boykin made a great 28 yard touchdown catch in the corner of the endzone, keeping his feet inbounds while beating a Duke defender for the ball. Just like that, Tech led 17-7 6:14 left in the second quarter.

At that point the Tech defense had recovered from their early miscue. They were playing well, so it seemed reasonable that they would stop Duke’s upcoming drive and get the ball back for the Tech offense. A 20-7 or 24-7 halftime lead seemed to be in the works.

However, Thad Lewis started to head up. He led Duke on a field goal drive that cut the halftime score to 17-10. The drive was aided by a pass interference call on Rashad Carmichael, and Duke was also able to jump on one of their own fumbles, saving the drive.

Duke got the ball first in the second half, and they came out blazing. Lewis hit Conner Vernon for 74 yards, putting the Blue Devils inside the Tech 10. The Hokie defense stiffened, but a 25 yard field goal cut the lead to 17-13 Tech with 12:44 remaining in the third quarter.

Penalties nearly killed Tech’s next drive. Facing third and 24 from the Tech 16, Tyrod Taylor made a huge play, hitting Jarrett Boykin down the right sideline for a 62 yard gain to the Duke 22. The Hokies had to settle for a 33 yard field goal by Matt Waldron, but they led by a touchdown, 20-13, with 8:33 left in the third quarter.

After a three and out by Duke, the Hokies had a chance to extend their lead. A 21 yard pass to Danny Coale gave Tech a first down at Duke’s 46. Taylor then hit Jarrett Boykin at the 19, but he was stripped of the ball, and the Blue Devils recovered. The Hokies missed a great chance to make it a two-score game.

Duke capitalized by getting another field goal, but the drive was kept alive by another penalty by Virginia Tech. The Blue Devils gained just five yards on a third and 24 from their own 41, but a personal foul on the Hokies kept the drive alive. The Duke drive stalled again, but a 47 yard field goal by Will Snyderwine made the score 20-16 Hokies with 13:51 left in the game. Things were getting too close for comfort.

On Tech’s next possession, the offensive line finally began to assert itself. The Hokies had struggled on the ground all day, but Ryan Williams had six carries for 41 on this drive, and then Josh Oglesby capped it off with a 12 yard touchdown run to put Tech up 27-16 with 9:37 remaining.

However, it wasn’t enough to put the Blue Devils away for good. Jake Johnson whiffed on a critical sack on Duke’s next drive, and Lewis was able to turn it into a 55 yard completion to Donovan Varner to the Tech 19. Duke had to settle for yet another field goal, but the score was now 27-19 with 7:08 remaining. A touchdown and a two-point conversion would tie the game.

Yet again, the Tech running game took over on their final drive of the game, and they also got some help from the passing game. On third and 11 from the Tech 36, Taylor hit Danny Coale for a 37 yard gain to the Duke 27. Three plays later, Josh Oglesby took a handoff on the right side and scampered 19 yards for the game clinching touchdown. The Hokies held a 34-19 lead with 2:28 remaining.

Duke did drive down the field for another touchdown on their last drive. Thad Lewis connected with Austin Kelly for a four yard touchdown on fourth down. That made the score 34-26, but the onside kick was recovered by the Hokies, and Tech ran out the clock.

Virginia Tech returns to action next Saturday, when they host Boston College. Kickoff is scheduled for noon, and the game will be televised by Raycom. Check your local listings.


STATISTICS

                          VT          DU
                         ----        ----
First downs               21          17
Rushed-yards          39-150       31-38
Passing yards            327         359
Sacked-yards lost        1-6        3-17
Return yards              69         119
Passes               17-22-0     22-40-0
Punts                   2-43      4-40.5
Fumbles-lost             2-1         1-0
Penalties-yards       12-105        7-44
Time of possession     29:25       30:35
Att: 26,211

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS 

RUSHING-Virginia Tech, Williams 24-83, Oglesby 6-59,
Roberts 2-6, Coale 1-3, Taylor 5-1, TEAM 1-(-2). 
DU, Scott 7-34, King 2-7, Boyette 10-4, Kurunwune 4-2,
Lewis 7-1, TEAM 1-(-10).

PASSING-Virginia Tech, Taylor 17-22-327-0. 
DU, Lewis 22-40-359-0.

RECEIVING-Virginia Tech, Boykin 6-144, Roberts 4-38, Coale 3-94,
Boone 2-25, Smith 1-17, Boyce 1-9.  DU, Kelly 6-43, Vernon 4-128,
Varner 4-87, King 3-58, Scott 1-26, Williams 1-11, Kurunwune 1-7,
Huffman 1-3, Boyette 1-(-4).
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