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Beats' picks: Can Duke football turn its season around against Virginia Tech?

Despite Chase Brice's four-interception performance last week, it seems that head coach David Cutcliffe is sticking with the Georgia native as his starter for now.
Despite Chase Brice's four-interception performance last week, it seems that head coach David Cutcliffe is sticking with the Georgia native as his starter for now.

Prior to each Duke football game, beat writers Evan Kolin, Shane Smith, Jake Piazza, Max Rego and Cam Polo will make their predictions for the contest, and we’ll track their records throughout the season. Here are their takes on the Blue Devils’ home matchup against Virginia Tech, which has the Hokies as a 13-point favorite.

Evan Kolin: Virginia Tech 27-24

For a Duke squad that I originally had losing just five total games throughout the season (and that was a relatively modest prediction), I find it extremely difficult to put in writing that it will exit Saturday with an 0-4 record to start the year. But from what I've seen from the Blue Devils thus far, I just don't see an upset of this talented Virginia Tech team in the works. I do believe Duke can fight until the very end, though, and that may just be what head coach David Cutcliffe's squad needs to propel it throughout the remainder of the 2020 campaign.

Shane Smith: Virginia Tech 44-20

So much uncertainty surrounds this game for the Blue Devils, which is poor timing to face a Virginia Tech team that was firing on all cylinders offensively in its season-opener last week. Duke can hope to gain some confidence by tightening up its play and limiting turnovers, but the Hokies are primed to coast once again in Wallace Wade Stadium, where they haven’t lost since 1981.

Jake Piazza: Virginia Tech 48-24

The Hokies are the best team not in the AP Top 25, and Duke hasn’t shown me anything to hint at an upset. Virginia Tech plays with fire and an obvious swagger on the field, and against a team struggling as much as the Blue Devils, that’s going to be enough for them to leave Durham with the victory.

Max Rego: Virginia Tech 28-17

With starting quarterback Hendon Hooker likely making his return to the field, the Hokies will be able to build on last week’s 45-point performance against N.C. State. While Duke will likely look to get the run game going early, Virginia Tech’s relatively stout defensive line will make life difficult in the trenches for the Blue Devils.

Cam Polo: Virginia Tech 33-13

Even though the Hokies had a slew of players and staff out due to COVID-19 concerns, they rolled over N.C. State in their first game, and I don’t expect them to slow down. Duke has been an absolute mess on the offensive end, and it won’t get any easier against its second opponent from the great state of Virginia in as many weeks. Wallace Wade’s cardboard cutouts likely won’t be enjoying themselves come the second half Saturday.

Overall results:

Evan Kolin: 1-2

Shane Smith: 2-1

Jake Piazza: 3-0

Max Rego: 1-2

Cam Polo: 2-1

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