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Postgame News and Notes from Virginia Tech's 38-31 Victory Over Duke

By Mike McDaniel | October 04
Postgame News and Notes from Virginia Tech's 38-31 Victory Over Duke
Courtesy: Virginia Tech Athletics

The Virginia Tech Hokies, down 21 players (including the top four defensive backs) and two full-time coaches, gutted out a gritty 38-31 win over the Duke Blue Devils on Saturday night in Durham. After a tough first half for the offense, the Hokies stormed ahead in the second half behind a school-record 358 all-purpose yards from running back Khalil Herbert.

It wasn't pretty, but Virginia Tech found a way with a depleted secondary and an up-and-down passing game for the entirety.

The Hokies, now 2-0, will ready for a showdown next Saturday in Chapel Hill against the 2-0 North Carolina Tar Heels, who inched by Boston College 26-22 on Saturday afternoon. Here's everything you need to know following Tech's victory over the Blue Devils.

Press Conference Quotes

Head Coach Justin Fuente

Opening Statement...

"I'm not sure if I can put into words how difficult what we have been dealing with is. The uncertainty and the in-and-out, the last-minute changes, but our kids continue to believe in the cause, control what they can control, at least through two weeks, have performed well enough to earn a victory. If we hadn't won, I would have been proud of them for the way they've gone about their business. I thought that there were a lot of big plays in the game, but Tre Turner makes a big play on third down there in the fourth quarter and then we fumble an exchange and the defense came out, didn't bat an eye, and got a big stop with great enthusiasm, and then got the ball back to the offense and went down and scored and that about salted it away. I thought the way they took the field defensively is a compliment to the coaches, some of whom are here and some of whom are back home. I was really impressed with that."

On the starting cornerbacks and what the backup plan was...

"To be honest, they were the only two we had. Outside of them, we had a couple walk-ons that are great kids and who would have gone out there and executed. We also had a couple of offensive guys we could have put in there."

On Khalil Herbert and the running game...

"Khalil has been really good. Obviously, I don't know what the statistics were, I haven't seen them the first half versus the second half...but I feel like we made a couple adjustments schematically at halftime and eventually wore them down a little bit. I think that they got a little bit tired, which helped, but Khalil has been fantastic. He has just been explosive and strong, has great vision, and has been really good for us...

I don't know if I am ready to crown it (the running game) the best in the nation just yet, but I do like the way we work. I like the leadership, and the toughness. They want the challenge. I do think Khalil is awfully talented, that is a pretty obvious statement. I am just going to tell you guys, he is as great of a kid as you are going to find too. Just polite, nice, great family. Just a pleasure to have on this team...

We need to continue to work and improve and next week we are going to have a different scheme. We are going to be ready to work again. This week, it kind of took us a little while to get things going but once we did, I feel like they were feeding off each other..."

On Khalil Herbert's kick return in the 3rd quarter...

"I know they scored and they had the momentum and offensively, we certainly weren't clipping it off in big chunks, by any means, and to go grab the momentum back with that huge return, cutting it back across the field, that was a big swing and to eventually find a way to punch the ball into the end zone was huge. That's the thing about kickoff returns. It is kind of interesting. Usually, when you take the field to start the half or after something bad has happened...we talk, and Shibest talks at length, about how it's an opportunity to go regain some momentum that we may have list, because obviously, the other team has scored."

On the play of walk-on redshirt-sophomore safety Tyler Matheny...

"What a great kid. All he does is work his tail off and do everything that you ask him to do. He has been repping for some time there at boundary and when the time came, he met the challenge. It's a fantastic story, quite honestly."

On the status of quarterback Hendon Hooker...

"He's good....I told him I was proud of the way he was supporting his teammates on the sidelines."

Safety Tyler Matheny

On when he found out he would be starting...

"I found out Thursday that I was likely getting the starting was more excitement than nerves. It's been a dream of mine to be in this position."

On his interception...

"Keonta Jenkins did a great job covering the post. He was able to get his hand in there and I was in the right place at the right time to make a play."

On the difficulty of preparing with limited depth in the secondary...

"It's definitely not how I imagined I would be out there, with freshmen and reserves around me starting....but our coaches had us prepared. It's been next man up from the start and we have all been ready."

Running Back Khalil Herbert

On his long kick return...

"I was happy to be able to make a play there in the open field. I just try to give this team a spark any way that I can. It was just a good team win."

On his big game...

"Yeah I mean it's always good to play well...but helping contribute to a team win is the best part about it....I gotta give a ton of credit to the o-line. Coach Vice keeps getting these guys up front ready and it's been great so far."

On the resiliency of the defense...

"The defense did a great job tonight keeping us in the game. Bunch of young guys just stepping in, stepping up, and making plays."

On Tre Turner's tweet of "Khalil Herbert for Heisman"...

"No thoughts on that."


"I'm just trying to celebrate the win with these guys and get on the bus to get back to Blacksburg."

Defensive End Emmanuel Belmar

On the defensive stop in the 4th quarter after the Braxton Burmeister fumble...

"I feel like that was the most energy we've had defensively all season and we really needed that. We were getting tired in the second half but made plays down the stretch when we needed to"

Game Notes (Courtesy of the Virginia Tech Athletic Department)

General Team Notes

-Virginia Tech now holds an 18-10 record against Duke, with the Hokies winning nine straight against the Blue Devils in Durham.

-The Hokies are now 14-3 in their initial road ACC contests of the season since joining the conference in 2004.

-Tech's 324 rushing yards against Duke marked only the fourth time since VT joined the ACC that the Hokies have eclipsed the 300+ yard rushing mark. The Hokies most recently did so...*checks notes*...last week against NC State.

-The 38 points scored against the Blue Devils marks the 324th consecutive game that Virginia Tech has scored, which is the third-longest active streak in the nation among FBS schools. It's also the sixth-longest streak in FBS history.

Head Coach Justin Fuente

-With the victory, Justin Fuente moves to 35-20 as the head coach at Virginia Tech, and 61-43 overall in his career.

-Fuente is 4-1 against Duke.

-Fuente holds a 30-2 record when leading at the half with the Hokies.

-Fuente is 7-1 in the state of North Carolina at Tech and 6-0 in ACC games.

-Fuente is 10-1 against the four ACC schools in North Carolina, with the Hokies owning a 366-222 scoring margin.

Running Back Khalil Herbert

-Herbert's 208 rushing yards is the seventh-highest single-game total in program history.

-Herbert had 358 all-purpose yards (208 on the ground, 150 on kickoff return), which is a new single-game record for the Virginia Tech football program.

Linebacker Rayshard Ashby

-Led the defense with 10 total tackles in the game, including seven solo stops.

-Registered his second sack of the season.

Safety Tyler Matheny

-Matheny, a redshirt-sophomore walk-on, made the first start of his Virginia Tech career and recorded an interception and seven tackles (including two for loss). The seven tackles ranked third on the team in the contest.

Defensive End Emmanuel Belmar

-Recorded a career-best three sacks in the game for 17 yards. He now has 9.0 sacks in his Virginia Tech career.

Defensive Back Dorian Strong

-Made his first career start at cornerback.

-Strong registered five tackles and broke up one pass.

Kicker Brian Johnson

-Made his only field goal attempt from 21 yards out.

-Johnson has now made 16 consecutive field goals dating back to October 19, 2019.

Mike McDaniel

Mike McDaniel

As a first generation Hokie, I can't say that Virginia Tech has always been in my blood, but I can say unequivocally that I bleed maroon and orange now. I graduated from the Pamplin College of Business in 2015 with a double major in accounting and finance, and have parlayed that into a five-year career in government compliance consulting in the Washington D.C. metro area where I grew up. At Tech, I enjoyed going to as many sporting events as I could, playing four years for the Club Golf team, and realizing my passion for writing and creating content.

I have previously written for Gobbler Country on the SB Nation network, Fighting Gobbler for Fansided,, The Tech Lunch Pail, and most recently for Sports Illustrated's All Hokies, where I was the lead publisher.

In addition to writing, I am also co-host of Basketball Conference: The ACC Football Podcast and the Hokie Hangover Podcast covering Virginia Tech athletics.

I'm passionate about Virginia Tech, but also hope to bring an objective and journalistic background to enhance the already fantastic athletic coverage here at Sons of Saturday.

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