Virginia Tech heads outside the Commonwealth of Virginia for the final time this season looking to end their six-game losing streak against a 6-3 Duke team hungry to lock in a winning season in the first year of the Mike Elko era in front of their home fans.
So can the Hokies pull off the upset or will Duke guarantee a winning season? Here are our picks for the Hokies against Duke.
Riley Leonard has been a revelation for a solid Duke offense while the Hokies have struggled plenty on offense. While this matchup isn't great for their rushing attack with Duke's prowess there, they have had issues with their pass defense.
Opponents have been averaging over 270 passing yards per game against Duke. While the Hokies haven't had great offensive success this year to say the least, Grant Wells and Kaleb Smith have combined for their fair share of big plays. If the Hokies are to pull the upset, they'll need to find some big plays and put up lots of production in the passing game.
Both defense are better defending the run which profiles for a game defined by lots of yards but a battle to see who bends but breaks less often. That would seem to go against the Hokies given their struggles closing out games recently with N.C. State and Georgia Tech both having 2 fourth quarter touchdowns against the Hokies in the past two games.
Don't be surprised if this turns out to be a four quarter but in the end, Duke is the better team and will get the job done to lock in a winning season.
Pick: Duke 26, Virginia Tech 19
The Hokies are struggling. Brent Pry and company have lost six in a row, and are in the basement of the ACC. To make matters worse, Tech travels to Durham, North Carolina in week 11 to take on a surging Blue Devils squad led by sophomore quarterback Riley Leonard.
Duke, with a 6-3 overall record, sits at 3-2 in ACC play, good enough for second place in the Coastal Division. They definitely will not pass in-state rival North Carolina, but a second place finish and bowl game for first year head coach Mike Elko; that’s not too bad of a start.
But could this be a trap game for Duke? Well it certainly could, but Virginia Tech has to be able to maintain a second half lead. The past two weeks against N.C. State and Georgia Tech, the Hokies took a lead into the fourth quarter, but were unable to hold on.
The offense has looked better in recent weeks, with Grant Wells and Kaleb Smith taking leadership roles, but the real surprise last week was Tucker Holloway. The freshman burst on to the scene with a 90-yard punt return touchdown that gave him the ACC Specialist of the Week honor.
Holloway could be the x-factor in this first year coach showdown, but the Blue Devils should still have the edge.