Virginia Tech Blows Out Duke on Senior Day 48-17

Virginia Tech Blows Out Duke on Senior Day 48-17
Photo Credit: Dave Knachel/Virginia Tech Athletics
Tim Thomas

Tim Thomas | @TimThomasTLP

TLP: Editor
Nov 13, 2021

Senior Day arrived in Blacksburg in the middle of a seemingly lost season for Virginia Tech with change on the horizon, but the objective today being to send out their seniors well. For Virginia Tech, it was mission accomplished against a Duke team that didn't put up much of a fight, was without their starting QB, and had no answers for Tech's complete domination.

Virginia Tech beat Duke 48-17 to improve to 5-5 on the season including 3-3 in ACC play while Duke fell to 3-7 overall including 0-6 in ACC play.

The Hokies were dominant in every aspect with Tech having their first game of 500+ yards of offense since their 2018 loss to Old Dominion finishing with 573 for the game. Tech's success is best summed up by the fact that the Hokies averaged almost 10 yards per play compared to 4.4 yards per play for Duke as Tech was dominant in every aspect.

Tech's offensive success was in large part due to the talent of this team shining through and Burmeister having one of his better passing days in terms of stretching with Tech's talented skill guys like Raheem Blackshear, Tayvion Robinson, Tre Turner, and more making big plays.

Tech's rush defense was particularly strong as they held Duke's star RB Mataeo Durant to 33 yards on 10 carries while Duke's passing attack struggled without their starting QB with true freshman Riley Leonard struggling before being replaced by fellow true freshman Jordan Moore who was able to get some offense going with his legs. Anytime you hold a team well under 5 yards per play is impressive at the Power 5 level even when it's Duke is a strong showing to be very pleased about.

Braxton Burmeister had one of his best games as a Hokie going 9-15 for 215 yards, a career high 3 touchdowns, and 1 interception plus 71 rushing yards on 9 carries. Burmeister showed some of the passing promise that would suggest he may not be at his ceiling as a QB though his passing limitations are still undeniable. Burmeister briefly left the game due to injury with Knox Kadum going 2-3 for 61 yards on that drive.

Raheem Blackshear was one of the biggest stars of the day as he had 12 carries for 117 yards and a touchdown plus 2 catches for 40 yards and a touchdown as he was making plays all over the field. Keshawn King made his presence known with a 47-yard touchdown reception plus 9 carries for 90 yards and a touchdown including a 49-yard rush while Malachi Thomas had 7 carries for 10 yards.

Tayvion Robinson was a two-way playmaker as he led Tech with 4 receptions for 78 yards plus a 3-yard carry while also continuing to show why he's one of America's best punt returns with 3 returns for 73 yards. Kaleb Smith had a strong game with 2 catches for 64 yards and a touchdown while Tre Turner had a 29-yard reception plus 2 carries for 8 yards and Nick Gallo had an 18-yard reception.

Defensively, while it was a day to celebrate the seniors, some of Tech's top standouts were guys who will be important pieces for next year's defense.

Dax Hollifield led the way for the Hokies with 13 tackles including 1.5 for loss with 1 sack plus a pass breakup while Alan Tisdale had 9 tackles including 2 for loss with 0.5 sacks as Tech's starting LB duo played extremely well. TyJuan Garbutt led the defensive line with 3 tackles including 1 for loss plus a QB hurry and a fumble recovery that he returned for a touchdown while Norell Pollard forced that fumble on a strip sack and had 2 tackles total for the game plus a QB hurry.

Tae Daley added 10 tackles and 1 pass breakup plus an interception that was cancelled out by a penalty while Chamarri Conner had 6 tackles including a sack. Jaylen Griffin had 2 tackles including 0.5 for loss as he looks like the replacement for Amare Barno should Barno head to the NFL as expected. Nasir Peoples had 9 tackles while Jermaine Waller had 3.

This was a much-needed home victory for the Hokies to avoid what would have been an embarrassing losing record at home and four-straight home losses to end the season. It was also a fantastic way for Tech to send off their large senior class that includes a few guys who will certainly be on NFL rosters come this time next year.

Some of the likely key pieces for next year's team also stepped up and showed why brighter days may be ahead even sooner than expected in Blacksburg from Tayvion Robinson to Alan Tisdale and Dax Hollifield to Keshawn King to Dorian Strong to TyJuan Garbutt and Norell Pollard. Burmeister also had a strong performance though given how many injuries he's taken and his limitations as a passer, it still seems more likely than not that Tech's 2022 QB is likely not on the current roster.

There's no doubt that change is almost certainly on the way and this result will not cause the winds of change to stop now.

However, in the midst of a long, lost season, it was a reprieve from the storm that had bared down on Lane Stadium since the opening win over UNC with the Hokies' best performance of the season giving Tech fans a much needed reprieve before a Christmas season of major change.