Nov 15, 2014; Durham, NC, USA; Duke Blue Devils running back Shaquille Powell (28) is tackled by Virginia Tech Hokies linebacker Deon Clarke (40) at Wallace Wade Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark Dolejs-USA TODAY Sports
The good part of the game was one specific side of the ball game. The defense for the Hokies played great. In the years where the Hokies have been in the conversation for a top team in the country, they relied on a stellar defense to lead the way.
In the past years, the Hokies have depended on their defense to not only keep them in games but at sometimes score points for them as well. The Hokie defense may not have scored any points against Duke but they definitely kept the Hokies in the game.
The Hokies fell behind early in the first half as Duke marched down the field and scored 10 quick points. After that, Bud Foster’s defense took over and established themselves as the dominate force on the field. As I said in my keys to the game, the Hokies needed to keep Anthony Boone and Jamison Crowder in check to have a chance to win. For the most part the defense did exactly this.
Both players did get their numbers with Boone rushing for 34 yards on 14 carries but the Hokies held him out of the end zone. Also, the Hokie defense limited the explosive carries by Boone. Hokie fans, you can thank Andrew Motuapuaka and Kyshown Jarrett for limiting Boone’s runs. Both were up close to the line of scrimmage to make tackles and stop runs before they started.
With Crowder, it was much of the same as he got his numbers, 6 receptions totaling 73 yards, but no touchdowns just like Boone. This lack of offensive production could be attributed to great defensive play as well as a solid game plan by Bud Foster.
Not only did the Hokies bottle up the Blue Devils two biggest offensive threats, they came up with big turnovers and huge tackles for loss.
The Hokies came up with three turnovers, two on defense and one in the special teams game. Of the three turnovers, the biggest was by far the interception by Deon Clarke when it looked like Duke was about to go in for a back breaking 17 point lead. However, that turnover setup an impressive 98 yard drive and a touchdown for the Hokies.
Even more impressive was the sack totals for the defense. Duke had given up 4 sacks all season thanks in part to an experienced offensive line. However, that line yielded 4 sacks to the Hokies. Those sacks turned the tide and essentially sealed the game for the Hokies.