“Sometimes losses like this can get you going a little bit,” Tyler said, surveying the situation after No. 16 Virginia Tech had its six-game losing streak end in a 13-10 setback to surprising Duke. “You can’t lose again. You know you’re going to have to … beat everybody that you face.”
The Hokies (6-2, 3-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) still control their fate in the ACC’s Coastal Division. Only Miami, 3-0, has a better record in the division, and the teams play on Nov. 9 in Miami. But Virginia Tech has plenty to work on, as evidenced by the fact that they struggled even after a bye week, even after outgaining the Blue Devils 387-198 and even after holding onto the ball for nearly two-thirds of the game.
“After a bye week, you’re supposed to be hitting on everything,” tailback J.C. Coleman said.
Instead, Logan Thomas threw four interceptions, the last with about 4½ minutes to play, and the nation’s No. 2 defense couldn’t stop Duke on a fourth-and-1, allowing them to run out the clock.
“Duke just came out here and beat us,” coach Frank Beamer said.
Anthony Boone ran for a touchdown, Ross Martin kicked two long field goals and Duke ended a 12-game losing streak against the Hokies and a long history of losing to ranked teams.
The Blue Devils (6-2, 2-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) beat a ranked team for the first time since they stopped No. 13 Virginia in 1994, and beat one on the road for the first time since Stanford in 1971. And they did it without converting any of their 11 third-down plays, and the time of possession deficit.
The Hokies hurt themselves all game with mistakes, including an illegal motion penalty against D.J. Coles that wiped out a touchdown catch, Thomas‘ interception on the following play and two flags against Virginia Tech and some shifty running by Boone that helped Duke take a 13-0 lead in the third quarter.
Tyler was flagged for pass interference, and Kyshoen Jarrett for defensive holding two plays later, setting up Duke at the Hokies’ 26. From there, Boone ran for six yards, for 11 yards and for the final nine on consecutive plays, and the Blue Devils were poised for a historic win.
Things looked bleak for Virginia Tech when Thomas threw his third interception on the Hokies’ next series, a pass that was broken up by David Helton and intercepted by Jeremy Cash, but the defense forced a three-and-out and Thomas and the offense finally came to life.
After a review, the ensuing punt was ruled downed at the 1, and with fans jeering the call, Thomas hit Demitri Knowles streaking down the left sideline for 56 yards on the first play. Thomas ran for 21 yards on two carries, hit D.J. Coles for 12 yards and ran it in with 11 seconds left in the third quarter.
After another three-and-out for Duke, the Hokies drove to Cody Journell’s 42-yard field goal that made it 13-10, and when Boone threw deep for Jamison Crowder and freshman Kendall Fuller intercepted for the third time in the game, the Hokies drove stalled at the Blue Devils’ 23.
Journell had already missed once in the game, and he did again, pulling a 40-yard try wide left to keep Duke in front.
A pass deflection and Kelby Brown’s interception, Thomas‘ fourth of the game, sealed it.