If you’re a football fan in any way, you probably know that Duke isn’t your average “football school”, and while Virginia Tech is no Bama, they’re formidable just about every year. Duke has managed to challenge them and even win in 2015 in awesome fashion:
That year was actually a similar situation to this year: the Blue Devils were pretty darn good that year and even made the Pinstripe Bowl Game, but Virginia Tech had struggled a bit that year, during coach Frank Beamer’s final year before retirement. Duke was even ranked at a similar spot to their current one: they were 23rd in the country at the time, which, by coincidence, was the last time Duke was ranked in college football before now. We took the Hokies to four OTs before finally defeating them on a magical two-point conversion by Thomas Sirk. Sirk would go on to transfer after losing the starting spot to his backup, who is now quarterback Daniel Jones. That game promoted Duke to officially bowl eligible. It was thrilling to watch.
Now Duke faces the Hokies in a similar yet slightly different situation: this time we’ll be at home, and Tech, who was previously ranked thirteenth, is coming off a stunning loss and a fall from the rankings after being shocked by Old Dominion. No, that’s no typo.
Duke has faced injury woes this season, from quarterback Daniel Jones’s broken collarbone to cornerback Mark Gilbert’s dislocated hip. It’s all been not-great luck for us, but the backups have stepped up to the challenge and have done well against Baylor and NCCU. Virginia Tech, despite the loss of starting quarterback Josh Jackson, is easily one of the most intimidating opponents we’ll face all season and it’s time for some guys to step up.
Players to Watch
If you watched the highlights of the 2015 Duke vs. Virginia Tech matchup, you probably saw that Shaun Wilson 58-yard run. Last year was Wilson’s final year as a Blue Devil, but fellow running back Brittain Brown, who shared touches with Wilson during his final year, has made himself into a star this year and he could have a big game in a big game. Old Dominion torched a usually stout defense, and hopefully Brittain Brown can find some routes to get the Duke offense rolling before Virginia Tech can figure too much out.
On the defensive end of the field, Joe Giles-Harris is one of the best linebackers in the game. He plays the weakside and against Northwestern racked up 9 tackles! We need him, big time.
Date: Saturday, September 29
Location: Wallace Wade Stadium, Durham, NC
*** UPDATE: Daniel Jones will start vs. Virginia Tech three weeks after surgery ***