The Hokies came into this ACC game badly needing a win. Losers of three straight and sitting in the basement of the ACC Coastal Division standings, Virginia Tech faced a Duke team that was busy building on last season’s success to the tune of an 8-1 record. However, the Blue Devils lacked a signature win this season, leaving their record looking a little soft. Thus, beating an even a down Virginia Tech team would go a long way to legitimizing the long suffering program.
The game looked like it was going to get away from the Hokies early. Duke jumped out to an early 10-0 lead on a Ross Martin field goal and Josh Snead touchdown run. The Blue Devils were looking to put another in the endzone when Deon Clarke intercepted an Anthony Boone pass at the two yard line. The Hokie offense then countered with one of their most impressive drives of the season, going 98 yards and finishing with a Michael Brewer touchdown pass.
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The Hokie offense continued to be inconsistent during the game and things got more complicated when leading rusher, Marshawn Williams, left the game with an apparent left knee injury. The already injury ravaged backfield was once again forced to become creative to generate any sort of rushing attack. The Hokies used J.C. Coleman, who finished the game with 95 yards on the ground, on the outside and backup quarterback Brendan Motley on some option reads to give the Duke defense different looks.
The second half provided opportunities for the Hokies and they were able to do do just enough and get jut enough good fortune to win the game. Duke turned the ball over twice in the second half and VY was able capitalize. But in the end it all came down to Duke kicker Ross Martin. Last season, Duke was able to ride his leg to victory and very nearly was able to again today. But in the end, his two missed field goals, including a potential game winner with under three minutes left in the game proved the difference.
The Hokies climb back to .500 with the win and appear in much better shape to get bowl eligible in the next two weeks. Virginia Tech must win one of its final two games against Wake Forest and UVA to get that sixth win of the season and keep extend their 21 year bowl streak.