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Extra point: Duke football vs. Virginia Tech

Daniel Jones couldn't complete a pass in the second half for Duke's sputtering offense.
Daniel Jones couldn't complete a pass in the second half for Duke's sputtering offense.

Duke’s offense continued to sputter in yet another sloppy outing, registering less than 200 yards overall and just 3.1 yards per play in a 24-3 loss against Virginia Tech, its fifth in a row.

Revisiting the three keys to the game: 

Tackle, tackle, tackle. With the help of a constant downpour, the Blue Devils wrapped up pretty well when given the chance, but sometimes had trouble getting to running back Deshawn McClease, who ran for 75 yards and a touchdown. On the Hokies’ first touchdown, McClease went untouched on the goal line for an easy four-yard score, but for the most part, Duke’s tackling succeeded.

Create space on the outside. Outside of one scoring drive in the second quarter that ended in Austin Parker’s 31-yard field goal, quarterback Daniel Jones could not find his receivers, and did not complete a pass in the second half. The Blue Devils also tried to use wide receiver T.J. Rahming on a couple of end-arounds, but they were largely unsuccessful against a swarming Virginia Tech defense.

Make it special. Duke did not miss a field goal and was fine on punts—averaging 43.1 yards per punt in the rain—but Virginia Tech was flat-out unbelievable. Punter Oscar Bradburn placed four of his five punts inside the Blue Devils’ 20-yard line, and Rahming did not opt to return a single punt, meanwhile Hokie returner Greg Stroman returned five punts for 40 total yards.

Three key plays: 

0:42 remaining, second quarter: The Blue Devils’ drive had just stalled on its own six-yard line, and they were looking to run out the clock when senior running back Shaun Wilson was tackled for no gain on third and six. But Wilson let his frustrations get the better of him, committing a personal foul that stopped the clock, giving Virginia Tech enough time to mount a quick drive with fabulous field position to end the half.

0:20 remaining, second quarter: After starting off their final drive on Duke’s 42-yard line with just 30 seconds left and no timeouts, Hokie quarterback Josh Jackson found wideout Sean Savoy for a 26-yard touchdown pass, giving Virginia Tech a 17-3 lead heading into halftime. The score came on the heels of Wilson’s personal foul, and halted any momentum the Blue Devils might have had.

7:35 remaining, fourth quarter: With the result all but sealed with the score 24-3 in favor of the Hokies, Duke was knocking on the door, hoping to make it a two-score game after a second straight drive into Hokie territory. But on fourth-and-1 from Virginia Tech’s 11-yard line, Wilson was stopped for no gain on a run up the middle, ending the Blue Devils’ last chance for a comeback.

Three key stats: 

Duke goes 0-2 on fourth down. The Blue Devils had two opportunities deep in the Hokies’ side of the field in the fourth quarter to make it a closer game, but could not convert either time as Duke was held without a touchdown in the game.

Blue Devils flagged for seven penalties. Throughout head coach David Cutcliffe’s 10 years at the helm of the program, Duke has been consistently one of the least-penalized teams in the nation. However, the losing has been getting to the Blue Devils, who committed seven infractions for the second contest in a row.

Jones does not complete a pass in the second half. The pouring rain clearly affected the redshirt sophomore in the second half, as he could not complete a single pass, allowing Virginia Tech to key in on Duke’s running game, which averaged just 2.9 yards per carry Saturday night. 

And the Duke game ball goes to...Joe Giles-Harris. 

Redshirt sophomore linebacker Joe Giles-Harris continues to be the Blue Devils’ best player on the field, as he racked up a game-high 11 tackles and made his presence felt throughout the game.

And the Pittsburgh game ball goes to... Mook Reynolds

The junior safety was all over the field, both in the running and passing game for the Hokies. Reynolds registered 2.5 tackles for loss, and was a constant threat to Duke’s passing, especially once the game got sloppy in the second half.


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