Hokies hold on for road win at Duke

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(23) Virginia Tech (7-2) 7140324
Duke (3-6) 707721
  • Brooks Field at WWS - 38,217
  • Passing: Jerod Evans 192 yds
  • Rushing: Jerod Evans 83 yds
  • Receiving: Isaiah Ford 62 yds

DURHAM, N.C. – Virginia Tech quarterback Jerod Evans accounted for 275 yards, Tech’s defense got just enough stops, and the Hokies’ offense held the ball for the final 4:06 of the game in lifting the No. 23 Hokies to a hard-fought 24-21 victory over Duke at Wallace Wade Stadium on Saturday.

The win moved Tech to 7-2 overall, 5-1 in the ACC and kept the Hokies tied with North Carolina atop the Coastal Division. Tech holds the tiebreaker over the Tar Heels by virtue of its victory over North Carolina earlier this season.

The Hokies weren’t the offensive juggernaut that they were the past two games, finishing with 399 yards. Defensively, they allowed 227 yards rushing. But they cobbled enough plays together to hold off s stubborn Duke team.

“I think the elite teams and the good teams, where we want to be, those teams find a way to win, no matter when it’s ugly, or how ugly it looks,” Tech receiver Isaiah Ford said. “When adversity hits, they find a way to win, and that’s what we did tonight.”

The Hokies – who have won seven straight in Durham going back to 1982 – led 21-7 at halftime, thanks to touchdown runs by Evans and Travon McMillian and a blocked field goal returned for a touchdown by Adonis Alexander. But the Blue Devils cut the lead to 24-21 on a 2-yard touchdown run by quarterback Daniel Jones with 7:10 left.

Tech went three-and-out on the ensuing possession, but the Hokies’ defense forced a Duke punt, giving them the ball with 4:06 left. Tech never gave up the ball, converting twice on third down to drain the clock for the win.

“I’m proud of our kids and the way they finished the ball game,” Tech coach Justin Fuente said. “We knew it was going to be tough coming in here. Duke is much better than their record. They’re very well coached, and they play hard. I’m awfully happy to find a way to win the game. We knew it was going to be hard from the start. We faced some adversity and responded.”

Evans completed 15 of 27 for 192 yards and he also rushed for 83 yards and a touchdown. McMillian rushed for 72 yards, as Tech finished with 207 yards rushing.

BIG PLAYS

• Ford caught just four passes, but made the biggest catch of the game when he hauled in a 15-yard pass from Evans on third-and-4 on Tech’s final drive. Evans’ 4-yard run in third-and-3 a few plays later enabled Tech to run out the clock

• Duke tried to climb back into the game early in the second half, driving to the Tech 20, but the Hokies got sacks from Ken Ekanem and Woody Baron in a three-play span and that forced the Blue Devils to punt.

• On the Hokies’ final scoring drive of the first half, they converted twice on third down before Evans scored in a fourth-down run. With the Hokies facing a third-and-9 from the Tech 48, Evans rushed for 10 yards and a first down at the Duke 42. With them facing a third-and-7 from the Duke 39, Evans completed a 23-yard pass to Cam Phillips for a first down at the Duke 16.

• Evans’ 20-yard pass to Bucky Hodges in the second quarter gave the Hokies a first down at the Duke 16. Two plays later, McMillian scored on a 14-yard run.

GAME NOTES

Greg Stroman’s blocked field goal marked the Hokies’ fourth blocked kick of the season (three field goals and a punt). The last time Tech blocked four kicks in a season was in 2008 when it blocked five.

• McMillian’s touchdown run marked the fourth of the season for him and the 11th rushing touchdown of his career. He has 14 overall touchdowns in his career.

• Evans’ touchdown run marked his fourth of the season. He did not throw a touchdown pass in a game for the first time this season.

Terrell Edmunds finished with a career-high 14 tackles before being ejected in the fourth quarter for targeting.

• Woody Baron had 3.5 tackles for a loss, giving him 13 on the season. He and Tremaine Edmunds are tied for the team lead in that category.

UP NEXT

The Hokies return home for their first Saturday game since beating East Carolina on Sept. 24. They will face Georgia Tech – a team that they have beaten in five of the past six meetings, including a 23-21 win in Atlanta last season. They are 9-3 against the Yellow Jackets since joining the ACC for the 2004-05 academic year. Kickoff for the game is slated for 3:30 p.m.

For updates on Virginia Tech football, follow the Hokies on Twitter and on Instagram @vthokiefootball Instagram

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