Hokies Get Unconvincing Win Over Duke
Virginia Tech’s players left the field Saturday without a hint of satisfaction. No smiles, no high fives, no celebration.
In the moments after Virginia Tech’s 34-26 win over Duke, the Hokies’ tempered reaction provided evidence of an unfulfilling and unconvincing afternoon.
“It wasn’t as sharp as we’d like,” Coach Frank Beamer said. “I don’t think it was lack of effort. Part of it was Duke and part of it was us. I think we learn from it, and thank goodness we got a win coming out of here. Sometimes I think you’ve just got to win some games that are not real pretty on the road, and I think this is probably one of those.”
Virginia Tech did not perform like a team that appeared to be the class of the Atlantic Coast Conference with a win over Miami a week earlier. Against the doormat Blue Devils, the No. 6 Hokies (4-1, 2-0) were sleepwalking until the fourth quarter, when they roused themselves with two touchdowns to put away the game before a crowd of 26,211.
While the Hokies’ offense showed some promising signs, Virginia Tech bogged itself down with a season-high 12 penalties and continued to show a susceptibility to big gains, allowing 359 passing yards thanks largely to five completions of 20 or more yards.
The bright spot for Virginia Tech was its passing offense. Quarterback Tyrod Taylor looked crisp and threw for a career-high 327 yards and two touchdowns, completing 17 of 22 passes. It was his best passing performance of the season.
Offensive coordinator Bryan Stinespring acknowledged the Hokies did not run the ball well, but said that they showed potential a more balanced offense with a passing game that perked up. The Hokies ranked 115th nationally before Saturday’s game.
Duke quarterback Thaddeus Lewis was effective against the Hokies’ secondary, completing 22 of 40 passes and throwing two touchdowns. Duke used max-protect schemes to keep Virginia Tech’s blitz at bay. Against a subdued pass rush, the Blue Devils exploited one-on-one deep coverage to connect on type of big play that has been the Achilles’ heel of Virginia Tech’s defense. The Hokies allowed passes of 74, 55, 48, 34 and 26 yards.
“A bunch of them were just good plays they had,” linebacker Cody Grimm said. “It wasn’t breakdowns in the coverage as much as it was them running good plays at the right time.”
Duke recorded its 38th consecutive loss to an opponent ranked by the Associated Press, dating to 1994. But the remaining Blue Devils fans stood an applauded the team’s effort. After receiving a scare in a sluggish performance, the Hokies’ mood was muted after the game, one that some players and coaches said they would view as a learning moment.
Posted by: eorr | October 4, 2009 12:04 PM | Report abuse
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