The Blue Collar Breakdown: VT vs. Duke

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This weekend, the Hokies will host the Duke University Blue Devils at Lane Stadium.  The game kicks off at 12:30 PM and is televised by the ACC Network.  The Hokies open this game as an almost inexplicable 10-pt favorite.  It’s hard to imagine after watching the Hokies the last two weeks that they can beat anyone by 10 points, let alone a pretty talented and well-coached Duke squad that is coming off of a 42-17 annihilation of the UVA Cavaliers.

Duke’s Head Coach David Cutcliffe has his guys playing very well right now, and you can believe that the Duke players have liked what they saw watching the Hokies on film this week, and they smell blood in the water.  The Hokies have been uncharacteristically weak against the run on defense and in establishing the running game on offense.  Last week’s loss to UNC saw the Hokies offensive and defensive lines thoroughly dominated in the trenches and, in spite of the claims of many players, until they line up and smash an opponent at the line, you have to believe that the confidence of many of these players is a little bit shaken.

On the other side, the Blue Devils come into this game riding high on a 4 game winning streak and they are unbeaten in ACC play.  They solidly defeated both the Cavaliers and the Demon Deacons and were only beaten this season by a pretty good Stanford Cardinal team.  That said; Duke hasn’t really beaten a good team this year and they are a combined 1-39 against the remaining teams left on their schedule.  So, there is still a lot of work left to do for Duke, but they have their sights firmly set on the Hokies, and they believe they can win.

And, why shouldn’t they?  The Hokies enjoy a substantial talent advantage over the Blue Devils, but Duke has challenged the Hokies in the recent past.  This version of the Hokies may be more talented than Duke, but they are certainly not playing like a traditional VT power and they have already lost to two teams (Pitt & Cincinnati) that are less talented than Virginia Tech.

So, exactly how much talent difference is there between these two teams and what matchups will Duke seek to exploit in order to come away from Lane with an upset win?  What will the VT coaching staff look to do in order to exploit their talent advantage over the Blue Devils on Saturday afternoon?  Let’s take a look…

Blue Devils and Hokies Overall Talent Comparison

Let’s dive right in with a similar