Every one that is close to Duke football knew coming into this season that winning six out of 12 games would be tough. It is even tougher trying to accomplish that feat through seven games. But the way the first quarter indicated, it looked like Duke was well on their way to going 6-1.
Duke came out swinging with a huge pass play from Renfree to Crowder to open up the game. For this being such an important game for Virginia Tech at home, it was the last thing anyone expected to see in less than 3 minutes to start the game. But the Blue Devils were not done yet, the next two possessions they kicked field goals to go up 13-0. Field goals being the key words. In the past, when Duke settled for field goals rather than scoring touchdowns, it has always came back to bite them.
For example, last season vs Wake Forest, Duke settled for back to back field goals inside the 10 to go up 23-17, rather than scoring touchdowns and going up 31-17. The next offensive play for the Demon Decons, they scored on a long touchdown pass from Tanner Price to Chris Givens. Which ended up being the last score of the game. With the final score being Wake- 24, Duke- 23.
But shockingly enough, Duke was not done trying to ruin homecoming for the Hokies. Jordon Byas picked off a bobbled pass that ended up right in his chest and returned it back for a score to put Duke up 20-0.
Then, Duke’s worst nightmare happened. Being a Duke fan, people come to know that no lead is ever safe enough for Duke, and it showed yesterday, when the Hokies came back to score 41 straight points. The ultimate shift of momentum came right before half when Duke seemed like they were going to provide some kind of points in the last minute of the first half, but then Renfree threw a pick that was returned for 39 yards. Virginia Tech’s next play was a 42 yard bomb that came off of Duke’s blown coverage that put Tech back into the game right before half. Instead of Duke going up 23 or 27-10, Duke went up 20-17 heading into half time.
The opening possession in the 3rd quarter, Virginia Tech scored to go up 24-20, and never looked back. They ended up going on to win 41-20.
Last week Duke won as a team vs UVA, this week Duke lost as a team to VT.
The Offense had numerous false starts, the offensive line couldn’t block which led to Renfree having no time in the pocket, he was hit every play, sacked five times, and the offensive line provided no running lanes for running backs. But they are only part of the blame. Duke’s wide receivers had a poor time catching passes yesterday, in a couple possessions, Duke had back to back drops.
The Defense played poorly as well, most noticeably the secondary. The cornerbacks were picked a part yesterday, with numerous blown coverages, poor tackling and miscommunication. The defensive line also did a poor job up front trying to push the blockers back, instead the blockers pushed Duke’s line backwards which provided open gaps for the running backs to have a good day, and also led to Logan Thomas picking apart the defense.
For Duke’s sake, they need to fix their run defense with the best running back in the ACC coming to Wallace Wade this Saturday if they want any chance of winning.