The Virginia Tech Hokies were on the road for the second week in a row still feeling the sting from last week’s loss to Old Dominion. This time they traveled to Durham, North Carolina to take on the then 22nd ranked Duke Blue Devils.
Virginia Tech came into the game missing a few key players from both sides of the ball. This includes the dismissal of top pass rusher Trevon Hill and the injury to starting quarterback Josh Jackson. However, the Hokies came together behind Ryan Willis and a reenergized Bud Foster defense. Willis finished the game throwing for 332 yards on 17-for-27 passing. Additionally, Tech’s defense wreaked havoc, netting seven tackles for a loss with two sacks and two quarterback hurries.
Return of the Lunch Pail Defense
As previously mentioned Bud Foster and his defense made adjustments after last week’s struggles. With a new defensive approach of three down linemen, the Hokies generated a consistent pass rush led by Houshun Gaines who picked up a career high 2.5 sacks. This approach allowed the Hokies to drop eight players into coverage, slowing down a dangerous Blue Devils aerial attack. The Blue Devils finished the day completing only three passing plays of 20 or more yards. This was a large change from the 11 such plays surrendered to Old Dominion.
No Josh, No Problem
One of the biggest talking points last week was the injury to starting quarterback Josh Jackson, who fractured his left fibula. Redshirt junior Ryan Willis stepped in and played well, completing a pass to eight different receivers. Willis threw touchdowns to Dalton Keene (first of the year), Damon Hazelton (fourth) and Phil Patterson (first). The Hokies are in good hands with Ryan Willis, who has been in Tech’s system for the past 18 months and showed great leadership when leading the offense.
The Hokies move up to 24th in the latest AP poll and now prepare for the visiting sixth-ranked Notre Dame Fighting Irish on October 5th. Meanwhile the Blue Devils will look to review the tape as they go into a bye week before traveling to Atlanta to face Georgia Tech.