Duke Game Analysis: Hokies Coming Together

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Once again, the Hokie Nation descended upon the heart of ACC country and took
over Tobacco Road. They were not disappointed, as the Hokie football team took
care of business on the gridiron, easily defeating Duke 43-14 in Durham. It was
a convincing victory against an improved Duke program, but this was more than a
just another win against a lower-tier opponent. It started at Clemson and
continued on Saturday — this team is starting to come together and get things
in order. There are still some key issues to resolve (and some injuries and
illnesses to overcome), but it looks like these Hokies are ready to make some
noise just in time for the ACC stretch run.

Yes, this was “just Duke,” but in analyzing the game, I liked how
fast and focused the Hokies played on both sides of the ball. They were loose
and relaxed; a far different posture from the pressing, tight bunch that we saw
so often earlier in the year.

For this game analysis, I’m going to try something a little different. I’m
going to start with some impressions and trends on both sides of the ball and
then take a closer look at the game based on how the game unfolded. I’ll wrap it
up with some general observations and then take a quick look at the upcoming
game with Boston College.

It’s a different approach, but what the heck. Let’s give it a shot.

Impressions and Trends

The offense found the passing game that was expected to be there from day
one. Both QB’s had success throwing the ball, and the underachieving quartet of
wide receivers found their rhythm and each one showed the ability to be a
difference maker at that position.

But the running game is still backfiring, with the spotlight now tilted more
toward the tailbacks than the offensive line. With Ed Wang back at RT and Nick
Marshman back at LG, the offensive line showed improvement and a little more
consistency — it was just a first step, but it was an important one.

In this game, the offensive line was not helped much by either the tight ends
or the tailbacks. The tight ends have blocked much better this season in the
running game, so I’ll tag this one as just an off game. On the other hand, the
tailbacks have struggled all season