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Three Reasons Why Virginia Tech Could Beat Duke

By Robert Irby | September 30
Three Reasons Why Virginia Tech Could Beat Duke
via Zack Lantz

After the Hokies (finally) took the field for the first time last weekend, morale could not be higher for this football team following an emphatic victory over NC State.

As VT transitions to its next opponent, Duke, the team is preparing to play its first road game of the season.

While the first road game is typically a cause for concern, especially given the enormous opponent waiting for the Hokies next week (UNC), there really should be no fear from Hokie fans. Duke is a very bad football team.

This is perhaps the easiest article I’ve had to write since becoming a Scribe of Saturday. Without further ado, here are three (of the many) reasons why Virginia Tech could beat Duke:

1. The Hokies’ offense is better than Duke’s defense

Here’s the thing: Virginia Tech matches up well against Duke on both sides of the ball. Let’s look at the Hokie offense first.

Unless you live under a rock, you know the Hokies looked fantastic offensively against NC State last weekend. Expect more of the same this week.

That said, Duke’s defense is not quite as bad as NC State’s. Chris Rumph is a future NFL starter and Victor Dimukeje already has four sacks in three games.

But despite those two stars up front, Duke is still giving up 30 points per game. David Cutcliffe’s defenses always play hard and disciplined, but this team simply does not have enough talent to stop ACC offenses, especially one like Virginia Tech’s.

With Hendon Hooker likely coming back, the VT offense should be at full capacity. The offensive line showed they are one of the best in the conference and should mitigate the threat from Rumph and Dimukeje, opening the door for Khalil Herbert to run all over another defense and Hooker to pick up where he left off last season.

2. The Hokies’ defense is better than Duke’s offense

Let’s turn our attention to the other side of the ball. As dominant the performance we should expect from the Hokie offense is, the defense’s should be even more.

Duke’s offense is really, really bad. Even if the Hokies are having a bad day defensively, Duke will still struggle to score points.

Right now, the Blue Devils are averaging a measly 13 points per game, which is second-worst in the ACC and sixth-worst nationally. Of those five teams averaging fewer points, only one has played as many games as Duke (UL Monroe).

There was certainly reason for optimism coming into the season with Clemson transfer Chase Brice stepping in at QB, but sadly the “Quarterback Whisperer” Cutcliffe has not been able to work his magic thus far.

Brice has thrown six interceptions compared to just two touchdowns. In other words, for every touchdown Brice throws, three interceptions follow.

That said, the Hokie’s depleted secondary looked shaky at times against NC State, particularly when the Wolfpack brought Devin Leary in at QB. However, star DB Jermaine Waller likely coming back for the Hokies should lead to an improved performance by the secondary.

In the running game, Duke is actually sneaky-decent. Their RBs are averaging 4.4 yards-per-carry.

However, Tech’s front seven looked improved from last year, with transfer Justus Reed making a huge difference on the defensive line against the Wolfpack. Though Duke does have some talent at running back, it pales in comparison to NC State, who has one of the best rushing attacks in the ACC.

Tech’s defense should have its way with the struggling Blue Devil offense, and I would not be surprised to see the first shutout in the Justin Hamilton era

3. Revenge is sweet

September 27, 2019 was perhaps the lowest point of Justin Fuente’s tenure at Virginia Tech.

The Hokies were set to celebrate the 20th anniversary of their magical National Championship run, with most of the 1999 team returning to Blacksburg for the festivities.

With the likes of Michael Vick, Corey Moore and Andre Davis in attendance, the Hokies were thoroughly embarrassed on national television.

A Duke team that didn’t even make a bowl game came into Lane Stadium and demolished the Hokies 45-10.

The team went on to turn it around that season, winning six of their next seven games. However, they never got a chance to lay their vengeance upon the team that gave them that embarrassment.

The Hokies have not forgotten. They understand this game is as important as any they will play this season, as they have a chance to show the country they are not the same team from a year + a week ago.

Some sluggish play could normally be expected in a game against a lesser opponent like this, but this one is different.

The Hokies will return the favor for the Blue Devils, firmly closing one of the darkest chapters of Virginia Tech football’s story.

Robert Irby

Robert Irby

Born and raised in Radford, Virginia (hometown of the man himself, Mike Young), I am a lifelong Hokie. A member of Virginia Tech's Class of 2019, I currently reside in Charlotte, North Carolina. Two of my greatest loves are writing and Hokie athletics, so an opportunity to be a Scribe of Saturday was exactly what I needed. I have written for the Independent Tribune in Concord, NC, as well as Joe Gibbs Racing, the Tech Lunch Pail and Fansided. I hope one day to write for ESPN, The Athletic, Fox Sports, The Ringer or one of the like. In addition to watching/writing about sports, I enjoy drinking craft beer and playing golf.

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