2008 Duke Game Analysis: Hokies Win Frigid Chess Match

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wasn’t pretty, but the Hokies got the win they needed to set themselves up
for another run at the ACC title. In the end, that was the most important
aspect of this game against Duke. As they say, it’s better to win ugly
than to lose pretty … or something like that. But what I am asked to do
here is to analyze the game in detail and unfortunately that involves
breaking down some of the ugliness that continues to infect the Tech
offense. So, take a deep breath and read on.

First the good news. The Tech defense played lights out. They are
playing at a level capable of carrying a team to bigger and better things.
But you already knew that.

Let’s break down some of the specifics and analyze why they played so
well against Duke … .

Defense Dominant … Again

The Tech defense delivered a dominating performance while facing a ton
of adversity. “Sudden change” is the expression coaches use to
describe changes in possession due to turnovers. And “sudden
change” was the theme of the first half as the Tech defense
experienced a sudden change on three of the first four and five of the
first seven possessions. On those five possessions, Duke’s average
starting field position was the Tech 49 yard line. And on those five
possessions, they ran 20 total plays, gained just 49 yards (2.45 yards per
play) and scored just three points.

That had to frustrate Duke coach David Cutcliffe, because the game
couldn’t have started any better for his team. He didn’t have his star QB
Thaddeus Lewis, so his plan was to run the clock on offense, protect the
ball and try to steal the game by taking advantage of opportunities.
Everything unfolded better than he could have imagined