To make matters even better for Duke this victory, their 6th victory on the year, makes the Blue Devils bowl eligible for the second straight year. It also means that they will be going to a bowl for the second straight year for the first time in school history.
The Blue Devils used another amazing performance by their defense who limited the Hokies to just 10 points and got 4 interceptions. Duke benefited greatly by a very poor performance from Virginia Tech quarterback Logan Thomas to secure Duke’s first victory over a ranked opponent since 1994 and a the first on the road since 1971. Such a victory is hard to describe unless you truly know how bad Duke Football has been.
Despite an awful game by starting quarterback Anthony Boone, 7-25 107 yards, 4 interceptions and 0 completed passes in the second half, the Blue Devils found a way to come out of Blacksburg with a coveted win against a ranked team and an elite conference opponent to boot.
Offensively this was as inept as Duke (6-2, 2-2 ACC) has looked but a huge part of that has to just how good Virginia Tech’s defense is and how good their secondary and defensive front was at causing Boone’s struggles. Still, the Blue Devils defense held their own and the victory really goes to their ability to force their own turnovers and keep Virginia Tech out of the endzone, save the one touchdown in the third quarter.
Duke owes a lot of credit the re-emergence of place kicker Ross Martin who was able to get Duke some points when offensive drives stalled and after the Blue Devils turned the ball over in the redzone twice. Martin drilled two big field goals including a 53 yarder to give Duke a 6-0 lead going into the half.
The kicks were big considering some of Martin’s documented struggles this year. Also, considering the offensive struggles against the Hokies, aside from their one touchdown scoring drive in the third quarter, Martin’s leg turned out to be the difference in a three-point victory.
Heading into the game, David Cutcliffe said his team would be on cloud nine if they were to defeat the Hokies, especially after losing a 20-0 lead Duke had last year in Blacksburg. Cutcliffe said that his team was better and the fact they were able to hold off a better Virginia Tech team proved that the more experienced Blue Devils appear to be ready to finally take that next step in the rebuilding of the program.
The Blue Devils will have a much needed week off before they take on a struggling NC State team at home. It will be a game that Duke should be favorited to win but one they cannot sleep on. The Blue Devils are new to winning but shouldn’t start taking it for granted after one big win.
Now they have to start building off on it not just basking in the glow. Beating Virginia Tech was one big step but there are still more big steps left to go but the Blue Devils are off to a great start.