Virginia Tech at Duke

No. 23 Virginia Tech holds on for 24-21 win over Duke

By JOEDY McCREARY
AP Sports Writer
  •  

DURHAM, N.C. (AP) Virginia Tech took the lead with some ''Beamerball.'' The Hokies kept hold of it with another program staple - some tough defense at the right time.

Adonis Alexander returned a blocked field goal 75 yards for the early, go-ahead touchdown, and No. 23 Virginia Tech held on to beat Duke 24-21 on Saturday and remain in control of the ACC's Coastal Division race.

''We took what could have been a really difficult situation, and the kids did a great job,'' first-year Tech coach Justin Fuente said.

It was classic ''Beamerball'' - even without Frank Beamer, who's in his first year of retirement.

Travon McMillian ran 14 yards for a TD and Jerod Evans passed for 192 yards and scored on a 7-yard run, carrying three Duke defenders along for the ride, for the Hokies (7-2, 5-1, No. 19 CFP).

Daniel Jones pulled Duke within three points with his second touchdown run of the game, a 2-yarder with 7:10 to play.

The Blue Devils got the ball back with 5:55 remaining after forcing a three-and-out, but it looked like they gave it right back when Shaun Wilson fumbled at the 35. But that decision was overturned after a review determined Virginia Tech rover Terrell Edmunds should have been called for targeting, giving the Blue Devils the ball at midfield.

These Hokies didn't buckle. Duke's next three plays netted three yards before the Blue Devils punted back, and Virginia Tech ran out the final 4:06, with Evans converting the game-sealing third-and-3 with less than 2 minutes to go.

''I was pleased with the way the team responded after that event,'' Fuente said. ''That was an opportunity to kind of let the air out of your balloon, so to speak, and it certainly did not happen. The defense responded, the offense got the ball and ran the clock out to finish the ball game.''

Jones, who finished with 148 yards passing, also scored from 7 yards out late in the third quarter to make it 21-14, before Joey Slye extended the Hokies' lead to 10 with a 27-yard field goal on the next possession.

Wilson had a short touchdown run for the Blue Devils (3-6, 0-5), who have lost three straight and are 1-4 since upsetting Notre Dame.

THE TAKEAWAY

Virginia Tech: The path to the Coastal Division title still runs through Blacksburg, thanks to that 34-3 win at North Carolina last month. Nothing came easy after they went up 21-7 in the second quarter, but at least the Hokies handled success better than last time and now they will wrap up their first ACC title game berth since 2011 with home wins against Georgia Tech next week and Virginia on Nov. 26.

Duke: The Blue Devils have to be in win-or-else mode the rest of the way if they want to extend their school-record postseason streak to five years. They could reach a bowl game with a 5-7 record because of their high APR scores - and if there's a shortage of six-win teams - but at this point, there's a serious question about whether Duke will make it to the five-win mark. ''What we have is a good football team without a very good record,'' coach David Cutcliffe said.

POLL IMPLICATIONS

This victory may not send the Hokies much higher, but at least they made enough timely plays to avoid a repeat of the Syracuse loss last month that sent them tumbling out of the Top 25.

PLAY OF THE DAY

With the score tied at 7 - and two snaps after Jones misfired on a sure-thing touchdown pass that would have given Duke the lead - the Blue Devils brought in AJ Reed, who to that point had made just 3 of 7 field goals all season, to try a 30-yarder.

Greg Stroman came off the left edge to block it, and after Alexander scooped it up and took off downfield, Stroman delivered a crushing block on Reed that helped spring him for Tech's second special-teams TD of the season and first off a blocked field goal since 2005.

INJURY REPORT

Stroman did not return after he injured his right ankle during a hit from Jeremy McDuffie while fielding a second-quarter punt. He was carried to the sideline and carted to the locker room. Fuente did not provide any details on Stroman's status.

QUICK HITS

Evans was held without a touchdown pass for the first time this season. ... Virginia Tech was held to 399 total yards. The only time the Hokies finished with fewer this season was in the victory at North Carolina in hurricane conditions.

UP NEXT

Virginia Tech: Faces Georgia Tech next Saturday before making a visit to Notre Dame.

Duke: Has a short week to prepare for its fiercest rival, No. 18 North Carolina, on Thursday night.

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Follow Joedy McCreary at http://twitter.com/joedyap. His work can be found at http://bigstory.ap.org/content/joedy-mccreary

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More AP college football at www.collegefootball.ap.org and https://twitter.com/AP-Top25

Copyright 2017 by STATS LLC. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC is strictly prohibited.
 
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Scoreboard
Virginia Tech #19  (6-2) «7140324
Duke  (3-5)707721
Players of the Game
Hokies

J. Evans
Att 27
Comp 15
Yds 192
TD 0
Blue Devils

D. Jones
Att 31
Comp 18
Yds 148
TD 0
Scoring Summary
VATECHTravon McMillian 14 yd run (Joey Slye kick)
DUKEShaun Wilson 3 yd run (AJ Reed kick)
VATECHAdonis Alexander 75 yd blocked FG return (Joey Slye kick)
VATECHJerod Evans 7 yd run (Joey Slye kick)
DUKEDaniel Jones 7 yd run (AJ Reed kick)
VATECHJoey Slye 27 yd FG
DUKEDaniel Jones 2 yd run (AJ Reed kick)
 
Team Stats
 VATECHDUKE
First Downs2324
Third Down Efficiency8-187-16
Fourth Down Efficiency2-21-1
Plays-Net Yards79-39976-375
Rushes-Yds52-20745-227
Passing Yds192148
Kick Return Yds7722
Punt Return Yds55
Passes15-27-018-31-0
Punts6-2107-282
Fumbles-Lost0-00-0
Penalties-Yds6-586-46
Time of Poss.30:229:58
 
Individual Stats
RUSHING
VATECH: Jerod Evans 18-83, Travon McMillian 15-72, Sam Rogers 8-22, Marshawn Williams 3-13, Steven Peoples 2-13, Cam Phillips 3-8, Bucky Hodges 1-0, Team 2--4
DUKE: Daniel Jones 18-99, Shaun Wilson 21-76, Joseph Ajeigbe 6-52
PASSING
VATECH: Jerod Evans 15-27-192-0
DUKE: Daniel Jones 18-31-148-0
RECEIVING
VATECH: Isaiah Ford 4-62, Cam Phillips 3-37, C.J. Carroll 3-27, Travon McMillian 2-33, Bucky Hodges 2-24, Henri Murphy 1-9
DUKE: Chris Taylor 6-31, Aaron Young 4-48, Erich Schneider 2-19, Joseph Ajeigbe 2-1, Daniel Helm 1-22, Quay Chambers 1-19, Shaun Wilson 1-5, Davis Koppenhaver 1-3
 
Standings
TeamStandingsConferenceOverall
Virginia Tech1st Atlantic Coast Coastal6-210-4
Duke6th Atlantic Coast Coastal1-74-8

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