Hokies Rally and Pound Duke

Virginia Tech pounded Duke in the trenches, overcame a 20 point deficit, and ran the Blue Devils out of Blacksburg 41-20 on Saturday afternoon. The Hokies improved to 4-3 overall and 2-1 in the ACC with the win, while Duke dropped to 5-2 and 2-1.

This was a scary game in the first quarter for Tech. Duke hit a deep ball for a touchdown on their first possession, followed it up with two field goals, and returned an interception for a touchdown to take a 20-0 lead just over 11 minutes into the game. With the way the Hokies had played the last two weeks, the outcome seemed inevitable.

However, Tech stayed focused, hit big plays in the passing game, pounded the football in the running game, and put immense pressure on Duke quarterback Sean Renfree. After falling behind 20-0, the Hokies outscored Duke 41-0 the rest of the way. The slow start turned into the biggest comeback in Frank Beamer’s career.

J.C. Coleman rushed for 183 yards and 2 touchdowns on just 13 carries against Duke.

J.C. Coleman became Tech’s first 100 yard rusher of the season. He finished with 183 yards on just 13 carries, and he had touchdown runs of 45 yards and 86 yards. As a team, Tech ran for 269 yards and averaged 6.9 yards per carry. Logan Thomas added 50 yards on 11 carries, while Tony Gregory had eight carries for 33 yards.

Thomas also had a big game through the air, going 14-of-23 for 256 yards, with two touchdowns and an interception. The interception was a tough luck play, bouncing off the hands of Tony Gregory and into the arms of Jordan Byas, who returned it for a touchdown.

Marcus Davis had five receptions for 144 yards and two touchdowns, while Dyrell Roberts added five catches for 31 yards. The tight ends also came up with big plays, with Ryan Malleck and Randall Dun combining for three catches for 78 yards.

Overall, the Hokies outgained the Blue Devils 525 to 329 in total offense.

However, the big story was Tech’s defense. Despite giving up a few big plays early, the Hokies settled down. Michael Cole and Detrick Bonner recorded interceptions, and the Tech defensive line turned things up a couple of notches. Tech held Duke to just 22 rushing yards, and the Hokies sacked Sean Renfree five times.

Luther Maddy had the best game of his career, dominating the interior line and recording two sacks. James Gayle had 2.5 tackles for loss and a sack, and ran over several offensive tackles in the process. Tyrel Wilson and Dadi Nicolas each added a sack for the Hokies, and the Tech defense forced four total turnovers. The Tech defense also hit and pressured Renfree numerous other times.

After the first quarter, this game was all Virginia Tech, and it was the best three quarters of football the Hokies have played all year. The only negative of the game was Andrew Miller’s injury. Miller suffered a fractured left ankle, and he will be reevaluated on Sunday.

Virginia Tech returns to action next Saturday when they travel to Death Valley to take on Clemson. Kickoff is scheduled for noon, and the game will be televised by ABC, ESPN or ESPN2.

Box Score

19 Responses You are logged in as Test

  1. Scary to think we have to beat UVA and BC and go 1-2 against FSU, Miami and Clemson to finish the regular season above .500. But I feel a lot better about our chances to do that now. Go Hokies!

  2. A GREAT win considering how things started. After being down 20-0, I watched the players on the sideline. What I saw was a bunch of guys still engaged and encouraging one another. In particular, Detrick Bonner and Bruce Taylor came down to the offensive end of the bench; similarly, some of the offensive players did the same. If their was a lack of passion and effort in past games, I certainly did not see it when we were down 20-0. Thankfully, they got it together and it was great to see the enthusiasm (and confidence) build throughout the game. Hopefully, the momentum will carryover in the Clemson game and we come out with a W! GO HOKIES!!!

  3. Good story, Chris — I’m telling you (I hung in there with the HOKIES) I had just about given them up for dead — proud (and relieve) that they cam back. THAT showed some character; this team needs a strong dose of leadership to sustain them to a winning season and possible birth in the ACCCG, but they have to beat Miami, BC, and UVA. Beating either Clemson an/or FSU does not seem possible right now, but weird stuff happens…

  4. Good game. Best effort of the year for the Hokies….after another slow start. But…it was just Duke. Sure, Duke was 5-1 and having their best season in 20 years. But…it’s still just Duke. Duke does not compare to Clemson.

    Maybe the Hokies have washed themselves of the early season morass and just plain uninspired play.

    We owe Clemson not just one, but two. I hope remembering what happened last year will be enough to jolt the Hokies to a W in Death Valley. I remember about 20 years ago our guys waved the Tigers onto the field as they started their traditional run down the hill, like “Come on, let’s get it on.” And we beat those clowns for the first time ever. Then we owned them for several years, including some awesome Thursday night beat downs. Corey Moore had one of his most memorable games ever against Clemson on a Thursday night. Clemson turned the tables last year, and we need to hang a L on them in their own fricking stadium.

    I’ll say it again, Dabo just ain’t that good of a coach. Except maybe for hiring his OC and DC. If it weren’t for those guys Dabo wouldn’t even be there. If my name were Dabo the first thing I’d do is change it.

    1. Dabo’s smartest move as a head coach was realizing that he himself wasn’t a very good coach (ie, x’s and o’s, and teaching) but he is a good recruiter. He’s handed the details over to some (seemingly) very good assistants, and made himself the CEO. Smartest thing he’s done.

    2. I remember Dabo replying to the question after he took over for 1/2 a season Q: “What have you learned after taking over this season? His response: “I learned that I can do this job of head coach.”

      I thought at the time, and still think it, that was the best possible response he could have given.
      Remember, he wasn’t the hired head coach at that time. Clemson did a search and decided to give him the job and the team has gotten better every year, won the ACC last year, beat Auburn in the opener, and I believe has beaten Beamer every time he has lined up against him.

      I would be proud to have Dabo as coach of the Hokies!

      Go Hokies!

  5. Wonderful to see JC break out with some good (fantastic) runs. Logan was tough too. Otherwise Tech’s backs just don’t seem big enough ormean enough to break tackles and move the pile. Tony Gregory seems kinda small and appears to go down easily when contacted. The problems with the C to QB exchange continue. Changing centers shouldn’t mean repeated exchange problems.

    Much credit to the team for coming back strong when things looked bleak.

    1. Keep in mind that that was the 3rd center, albeit one who had played the position before. I believe it goes Miller (went down with the ankle) Farris (out previously for some issue, don’t remember what) and then Via comes in, at 6′ 7″. He’s started at Center before, but hasn’t gotten a lot of snaps there recently.

  6. This was one Game for the record books for sure. Even if it was against Duke, VT’s Defense showed up for the first time this year. Still alot of big games left, so I sure hope that this was a turning point for the whole team. Thanks for another good article .

  7. I didn’t watch the game, but sounds like this game confirms, outside of all things good, the game is won or lost at the line of scrimmage. Sounds simple enough, but we just haven’t been very good at it in games 1-6. Sounds like today we owned the trenches. Will be critical in Death Valley.

  8. That was arguably the ugliest 1st quarter and best final 3 quarters of the season. Playing the game of figuring out what Duke would end the game with based on the 1st quarter, they would have won 80-0 and racked up almost 600 yards. Good job by the defense of turning things around. And nice job by the OL of establishing dominance on the LOS after being manhandled early. But we can’t afford anymore attrition on the OL. Also nice 2nd half by Marcus Davis after looking like a lost freshman early in the game.

  9. Looked more like VT this time. Hope some of it carries over to death valley, next week – we owe them one.

    1. yes we do!!!that would be sweet revenge and get this underachieving team back on track.\

      1. YES!

        Let’s make it two in a row. Looked like two different teams out there yesterday but great effort to fill the O-line after injury and a great way to break out the running game and build synergy between the run & passing games.

        Hang tough Hokie Nation

        GO Hokies!!


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