October 3, 2009
Taylor's big passing day helps Hokies hold off Duke
By Jimmy Robertson
(6) Virginia Tech (4-1) 71031434
Duke (2-3) 7331326
  • Wallace Wade - 26,211
  • Passing: Tyrod Taylor 327 yds
  • Rushing: Ryan Williams 83 yds
  • Receiving: Jarrett Boykin 144 yds
DURHAM, N.C. — Tyrod Taylor notched the first 300-yard passing game of his career and Josh Oglesby scored on two touchdown runs in the fourth quarter to break open up a close game and enable the No. 6-ranked Virginia Tech Hokies pull away from the Duke Blue Devils 34-26 in front of 26,211 fans at Wallace Wade Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

The victory marked Tech’s fourth in a row, as the Hokies moved to 4-1 overall on the season, 2-0 in the ACC. The win also marked Tech’s ninth straight over Duke and snapped the Hokies’ three-game ACC road losing streak. Tech moved to 19-0 in conference road openers under head coach Frank Beamer.

But it wasn’t particularly easy.

“I give Duke a lot of credit. I think they do a lot of things well and did a lot of things well today,” Tech head coach Frank Beamer said. “Having said that, we had too many penalties and gave up too many long plays. We weren’t as sharp as we’d have liked. It wasn’t a lack of effort. I think part of it was Duke and part of it was us. I think we learn from this and get ready for the next one.

“Sometimes, I think you’ve just got to win some games on the road that aren’t going to be pretty. This was probably one of those.”

Tech led 20-13 midway through the third quarter, but a Jarrett Boykin fumble deep in Duke territory gave the ball to the Blue Devils, and subsequently, they went on a 17-play march. The drive led to a 47-yard field goal by Duke’s Will Snyderwine that cut the Tech lead to 20-16 with 13:51 remaining in the game.

But the Hokies answered with an impressive drive. Behind the rushing of Ryan Williams, Tech moved the ball from its 38 to the Duke 12, with Williams carrying the ball six times for 41 yards on the drive. On first-and-10 from the 12, Oglesby got the call and went off the left side for a 12-yard touchdown run. Matt Waldron’s extra point gave the Hokies a 27-16 lead with 9:37 to go – and some breathing room.

Duke cut the lead to 27-19 on another Snyderwine field goal, a 43-yarder that came with 7:08 left in the game. But Oglesby and the Hokies answered again. A 78-yard march ended when Oglesby scored on a 19-yard run with 2:28 remaining to give Tech a 34-19 lead.

Oglesby, a redshirt sophomore who grew up in nearby Raleigh, N.C., finished with 59 yards rushing in front of his home folks on six carries and had the two touchdowns – the first two of his career.

“It felt good,” Oglesby said. “I’m glad I had the opportunity to get those runs and get those touchdowns. It kind of caught me by surprise. Those holes were gigantic and I have to give credit to the offensive line.

“I think we like being in those situations. Everyone is going to rise to the occasion. We’ve seen that before, so we were confident we could go out there late in the game and put them away.”

“I give our offense a lot of credit for keeping pressure on them [the Blue Devils] at the end,” Beamer said. “We kept running the ball and Josh had a couple of great runs. When we needed to run the football, we did.”

Duke scored a touchdown on a 4-yard pass from Thaddeus Lewis to Austin Kelly with 25 seconds to account for the final margin.

Tech’s offense put up 477 yards of offense (327 passing and 150 rushing) to lift the Hokies in this one. With Duke loading up to stop the running game – Williams finished with 83 yards, but got most of those in the fourth quarter – the Hokies were forced to rely on the arm of Taylor and he delivered

The junior from Hampton, Va., had the best passing game of his career, completing 17-of-22 for 327 yards – the first 300-yard passing game of his career. He completed touchdown passes 36 yards to Danny Coale and 28 yards to Jarrett Boykin and also fired completions of 62, 37, 20 and 17 yards.

“Coach [Bryan Stinespring] opened it up in practice this week and then called the plays in the game,” Taylor said. “We did a good job of executing. I thought we had some mismatches. We have a lot of talent on the offensive side of the ball and it’s my job to get the ball to them.”

Duke got on the board first in this one, scoring on its second possession when Lewis found a wide-open Brandon King for a 48-yard touchdown. But the Hokies scored the next 17 points to open a lead they ultimately would not relinquish.

Taylor hit Coale on a post pattern for a 36-yard touchdown and Waldron drilled 40-yard field goal that gave the Hokies a 10-7 lead with 10:41 remaining in the first half. The final score in that spurt came when Taylor hit Boykin for a questionable 28-yard touchdown with 6:14 left in the half. The play was reviewed, as both Boykin and the Duke defensive back appeared to have the ball when they fell to the ground, but the officials gave Boykin the score.

Snyderwine, who booted four field goals, and Lewis, who threw for 359 yards against Tech’s defense, paced Duke. He completed 22-of-40, with two going for touchdowns.

Long plays – Lewis fired completions of 74, 55 and 48 yards – hurt the Hokies along with 12 penalties for 105 yards.

“Any time you get the win, you’ve got to be happy,” said whip linebacker Cody Grimm, who was credited with a game-high 14 tackles. “If we don’t clean some stuff up, we’re going to get beat down the road. We gave up too many big plays in key situations. There were a few where they made good plays against the defense we ran and that’s going to happen, but we’ve got to eliminate some of the silly stuff, like not staying in our gaps.

“But at least we got the win, so we’re happy about that.”

Tech looks to extend its winning streak to five next Saturday when the Hokies take on Boston College at Lane Stadium. Kickoff is slated for noon.

For updates on Virginia Tech football, follow the Hokies on Twitter (@VT_Football).

For updates on the Hokies, follow Jimmy Robertson on Twitter (@jrobIHS).

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