BLACKSBURG, VA. – The Duke Blue Devils football team continued to create history as it upset the 16th-ranked Virginia Tech Hokies 13-10 in front of 63,326 in attendance at Lane Stadium on Saturday.
In earning its sixth win of the season and first over Virginia Tech (6-2, 3-1) on its home field, Duke (6-2, 2-2) became bowl eligible for the second year in a row – the first time the program has done so in school history.
It wasn’t one of the Blue Devils’ best offensive efforts against an opponent all season, finishing the game 0-for-11 on third-down conversion attempts, but it was one that managed to score once out of the three trips they made into the red zone all game.
Quarterback Anthony Boone (7-25, 107 yards, 4 INT) and place kicker Ross Martin (2-2 FG) provided just enough offense, scoring a touchdown and two field goals respectively, while the Duke defense fended off a strong second-half surge from the Hokies.
As has become the trend lately during the Blue Devils’ current four-game win streak, Duke’s defense made a significant contribution to winning the game.
Linebackers David Helton (19 tackles) and Kelby Brown (14 tackles, 1 INT), along with safety DeVon Edwards (12 tackles) led a defensive corps that ground out 105 total tackles and came up with four interceptions against Tech’s offense led by quarterback Logan Thomas (21-38, 214 yards; 24 rushes, 101 yards, 1 TD).
Leading 6-0 after the first half of play, the Blue Devils extended their lead to 13-0 in the third quarter before Virginia Tech (6-2, 3-1) got its offense to produce points and set up one of the most exciting endings to an ACC game all season.
Struggling to effectively pass against the Virginia Tech defense throughout the game, Boone managed to put his boots to the ground (11 rushes, 67 yards) and scored the eventual game-winning scoring play on his own with 6:14 remaining in the third quarter.
As Logan matched Boone’s score, posting the Hokies’ lone touchdown of the game to narrow the score back down to six points, it was Virginia Tech place kicker Cody Journell’s inconsistent performance that helped to keep Duke ahead.
After making good on his second field goal attempt of the game, Journell (1-3 FG) was unable to tie the score and missed what would have been a game-tying 40-yard attempt with 6:02 to play in the fourth quarter.
After Boone couldn’t move the offense farther down-field after three downs, the Hokies got the ball back on their own 44-yard line and had their sights on producing a game-tying or winning sequence of plays.
However, it was Brown who made the most significant defensive play of the game for Duke as he picked off Logan’s pass attempt and gave the Blue Devils the ball back with 4:22 remaining.
From that point onwards, Boone along with wildcat quarterback Brandon Connette, who converted the team’s only and most critical fourth down conversion of the game, guided the offense to gain two more first downs that finalized the Blue Devils’ first win over Virginia Tech since 1981.