Lane Stadium. Blacksburg, VA
3:30 EST PM ESPNU
Since joining the ACC in 2004, the Virginia Tech Hokies have had complete dominance over the Duke Blue Devils being 7-0 in all competitions. The Hokies are 6-1 at the moment and come in with the fifth ranked scoring defense in the country. On the other side of the ball, the Duke Blue Devils come in carrying a 5-2 record including an undefeated road record and three consecutive victories.
Both teams enter with their veteran Quarterbacks playing their best football and both will need them to keep their play at a high level. Logan Thomas of the Hokies is coming off of two of his best performances of his career going 38-62 for 532 yards, four touchdowns and zero interceptions. The Hokies will need Thomas and the offense to have continued success against the Blue Devils who average 35.7 points per game. For Duke, junior Quarterbacks Brandon Connette and Anthony Boone have both had success this year splitting time. Both quarterbacks have had success but it is Boone who should be under center against the Hokies. Boone has yet to lose a game this year as the starting quarterback and has an overall quarterback rating of 141.6.
Boone along with Sophomore running back Jela Duncan and star wide receiver Jamison Crowder lead a potent offense but they have yet to meet a defense anywhere near the caliber of Virginia Tech. Crowder has put up gaudy numbers this year with 56 receptions, 731 yards and three touchdowns but he will be guarded by the best shutdown corner in the country, Kyle Fuller. The Hokies have the fifth ranked defense in the country led by seniors Derrick Hopkins, Kyle Fuller and Jack Tyler and lead the ACC in sacks and interceptions this year which they will need to stop the Blue Devils offense.
With pass rushers, J.R. Collins, James Gayle, Dadi Nicolas and Tyrel Wilson the Hokies rarely have the need to blitz extra players which causes trouble for any team looking to throw the ball. On the ground, defensive tackles Luther Maddy and Derrick Hopkins clog up anything teams try to do which was evident with the Hokies dominant performance against Georgia Tech holding the vaunted Yellow Jackets running game to just 129 yards. Only Marshall and #1 ranked Alabama have been able to put up more than 20 points on the Hokies and Alabama needed three non-offensive touchdowns to do so.
I would expect the Blue Devils to struggle mightily against this defense and have a hard time getting to that 20 point total. The Hokies are a bit of a sleeper in the ACC this year coming off of a down year and a loss in week one but with a win today, they will move to 7-1 on their path to a major showdown in Miami on November 9th.
Prediction: Virginia Tech 27 Duke 13