A Quick and Painful Look at Duke
Well, I blew it. I had a lot of confidence coming into the game last week. I recognized, as did many in the local and national media, that Duke was talented and disciplined enough to beat Virginia Tech. Especially a Virginia Tech team that has struggled all season to score points and take advantage in the redzone. Of course, I recognized the possibility. I just couldn’t believe it would happen. I had the opportunity to go the same route as many and write a fairly safe column last week that predicted a dogfight and warned ominously of the potential home upset against a traditionally overmatched opponent. I eschewed that option and went all in on a Hokie victory.
In hindsight, I should have gone the other direction. Think about it – who would have blamed me? The Hokies have come dangerously close in recent years to losing to Duke at home and on the road. This year’s team has struggled to score and has been turnover prone at the most inopportune times. It was, arguably, the most important recruiting weekend of the past three seasons, and the Hokies were wearing orange with maroon lids. Those are perfect ingredients for an upset soup.
Instead, I came out swinging. I decided to go with bravado versus humility. I decided to embrace the Hokies of the previous three games. The tough, hardnosed, “grind it out” team that reminded me so much of the Hokie teams I adored in the mid to late 90’s. I decided to believe that this version of the Hokies had turned a corner and the offense had adopted an attitude of persistence and relentlessness. Yes, they are inexperienced on that side of the ball and yes, they have talent issues at certain positions, but they had proven themselves to be difficult to beat and they had proven the ability to move the ball and score when they absolutely had to. I decided the 2013 Hokies were “in the funnel” of destiny. I decided they were going to have their first signature “statement” game of the season. I decided they were going to beat Duke convincingly and establish a rhythm for the rest of the season.
Why was I so confident? Because, we are Virginia Tech and they are Duke. Because we have the vaunted Hokie defense and they are Duke. Because they were coming into Lane Stadium for the long anticipated 3:30PM kickoff and the Hokie faithful were going to come out in full force and give the Blue Devils a taste of what real fan hostility feels like. And, of course, the Blue Devils...
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