Virginia Tech vs. Duke prediction and game preview. Projecting who wins between the Hokies and Blue Devils on Saturday in Durham, NC.
Virginia Tech vs. Duke Game Preview
When: Saturday, Nov. 5 – 3:30 p.m. ET
Where: Wallace Wade Stadium, Durham, NC
TV Broadcast: ESPNU
The Hokies (6-2, 4-1 ACC) are coming off of a big road win against Pitt, as quarterback Jerod Evans battled through a right ankle injury to throw for a career-high 406 yards and two touchdowns in a 39-36 victory. Joey Slye tied the school and ACC records by making six field goals as VT beat the Panthers on the road for the first time in 17 years.
Meanwhile, the Blue Devils (3-5, 0-4) allowed Georgia Tech quarterback Justin Thomas to run and throw for a combined 459 yards with four touchdowns in a 38-35 Yellow Jackets win. Duke fell behind by three touchdowns and battled back, but it was all for naught in Atlanta as Georgia Tech snapped a streak of two straight losses to Duke.
Last year’s meeting between these two teams was wild. Blue Devils quarterback Thomas Sirk threw four touchdown passes, the final one in the fourth overtime, and ran for the game-winning two-point conversion to give David Cutcliffe’s squad a 45-43 victory. It was Duke’s second consecutive win at Lane Stadium.
What To Know About Virginia Tech
Justin Fuente’s Hokies took advantage of Pitt’s No. 120 pass defense last week, as three VT wide receivers topped 100 yards in the same game for the first time in school history. Isaiah Ford’s 10 receptions included his school-record 23rd receiving touchdown, as the Hokies piled up 556 total yards. Evans left briefly in the third quarter of the win after getting his right leg rolled up, but it is nothing of concern for a team that clinched a bowl berth for a 24th straight year, which is the longest active streak in the nation. VT remains tied atop the ACC Coastal division with North Carolina, and the Hokies hold the head-to-head tiebreaker as well.
What to Know About Duke
The Blue Devils dropped a tough game to Georgia Tech last week following a bye, which came after Cutcliffe’s squad gave a strong effort in a 24-14 loss at Louisville. The Blue Devils remain winless in ACC play, and it looks as if they could be shut out of the postseason. It’s been a wild and tough year in many ways for Duke, which lost running back Jela Duncan for the season after he ruptured his left Achilles tendon in the loss to GT. He was injured when celebrating Shaun Wilson’s touchdown run in the third quarter that cut into the Yellow Jackets’ lead. Wilson should assume the role of top running back now, and he has rushed for 373 yards and two touchdowns on 90 carries this season. But Duncan was the team’s top rusher and a leader, so more pressure is now on quarterback Daniel Jones.
Offense: Virginia Tech. The Hokies are averaging 36.0 points per game, while Duke is putting up 24.5 points per contest.
Defense: Virginia Tech. The Hokies are giving up just 321.5 yards per game, while the Blue Devils are allowing teams to rack up 393.1 yards per contest.
Special Teams: Even. Virginia Tech’s Slye is a nice weapon to have in a close game, while Duke’s Wilson returned a kick 96 yards for a score in the upset win over Notre Dame earlier in the year.
Coaching: Even. Fuente was the right hire at the right time for this Hokies program, while an upset win for Duke is always a possibility because of Cutcliffe.
Intangibles: Even. Don’t ever underestimate the Blue Devils, while the Hokies are trying to win a division title.
Matchup To Watch
Bucky Hodges vs. Duke defense
In last year’s game, the Virginia Tech tight end caught three touchdown passes from Michael Brewer. The time could be right for an encore performance, as Hodges caught six passes for 145 yards last week in the win over Pitt. Over his last three games, he has hauled in 18 passes for 290 yards and three touchdowns. He can be a matchup nightmare for the Blue Devils as the Hokies look to claim an ACC division crown.
Spread: Virginia Tech -9
Virginia Tech vs. Duke Prediction
The Hokies’ defense is ultimately the difference in this one. Bud Foster’s unit won’t let Jones or Wilson hurt it too much with their legs, while a couple of mistakes through the air by Jones will be momentum-swingers. Duke’s defense is solid, but Evans is having a fantastic first year in Blacksburg and keeps the offense humming as VT tries to win the Coastal.
Virginia Tech vs. Duke Score Prediction: Virginia Tech 31, Duke 20