No. 16 Hokies falter in 13-10 loss to Duke

Virginia Tech linebacker Jack Tyler tried to find a bright

side.

”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 4 1/2 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.

Martin accounted for all the first-half scoring with field goals

of 51 and 53 yards, the later a career-best on the final play of

the first half.

Virginia Tech had numerous scoring chances, but Thomas’ pass was

broken up on a fourth-and-11 from the Blue Devils’ 31 on the

Hokies’ first series, he threw an interception in the end zone from

the 1 yard-line in the second quarter and Journell’s 45-yard field

goal hit the left upright late in the half.

The Blue Devils also were turned away with nothing twice in

Hokies territory. Fuller’s second interception of the day came

after Duke drove to the Virginia Tech 18, and Tariq Edwards tipped

a ball that Dadi Nicolas intercepted at the Duke 17 after the Blue

Devils reached the Virginia Tech 12.

Follow Hank on twitter at: http://www.twitter.com/hankkurzjr