Virginia Tech felt ignored heading into its ACC opener. That won’t be the case this week.
The sixth-ranked Hokies look for their ninth consecutive victory over Duke on Saturday when the teams meet at Wallace Wade Stadium.
Much of the talk surrounding last week’s matchup with Miami focused on the Hurricanes’ first top 10 ranking since the end of 2005. The Hokies (3-1, 1-0) quieted the buzz by shutting down sophomore quarterback Jacory Harris and defeating then-No. 9 Miami 31-17 in Blacksburg.
“It’s a fact that you didn’t hear a lot about Virginia Tech this week,” coach Frank Beamer said. “You heard a lot about Miami this week, and rightfully so, but I’m proud of our guys.
“I’m proud of what we’re all about here at Virginia Tech.”
The Hokies sacked Harris three times and forced him into two fumbles, one coming on the game’s fifth play on senior cornerback Dorian Porch’s sack.
Virginia Tech scored three plays later on a two-yard run by freshman Ryan Williams.
Hokies opponents rushed for an average of 200.3 yards in the first three games, but Virginia Tech held Miami to 59 yards on 34 carries.
“That’s just a compliment to our kids,” defensive coordinator Bud Foster said. “They know what our tradition is here. They responded to what we demanded and what we challenged them with this week.”
Duke freshman running back Desmond Scott will present Foster’s defense with a new challenge. Scott rushed 16 times for 100 yards and a touchdown in his college debut en route to a 49-14 win over North Carolina Central last week.
Scott helped the Blue Devils (2-2, 0-0) pile up 223 rushing yards, their most since they had 235 in a 40-14 victory over VMI on Sept. 17, 2005.
“Coach (David) Cutcliffe always tells us to be ready no matter what string you are, first, second, third, fourth, you got to be ready,” sophomore running back Patrick Kurunwune told the school’s official Web site after rushing for 93 yards and a touchdown. “Desmond came out today and stepped up. We are just real happy that we are deep at running back.”
Virginia Tech is just as pleased with its own star freshman back. The 19-year-old Williams rushed for 150 yards and two touchdowns against the Hurricanes to win his third ACC rookie of the week award.
Williams is sixth in the Football Bowl Subdivision with 123.0 rushing yards per game and tied for third with eight touchdowns.
“I’m impressed with that guy,” Beamer told the school’s official Web site. “He runs hard. He can make a guy miss. He’s got speed, and he hurts those guys when he’s running. I like watching him.”
Junior quarterback Tyrod Taylor looks for another solid performance after going 4 of 9 for 98 yards and a touchdown, and rushing for 75 yards on 10 carries versus Miami.
Taylor moved past Michael Vick for third place among Virginia Tech quarterbacks with 1,252 rushing yards. He has run for 13 career touchdowns, three shy of tying Vick for second all-time among Hokies QBs.
Duke senior Thaddeus Lewis went 17 of 25 for 189 yards last week and threw two touchdowns to sophomore Donovan Varner, who caught six passes for 76 yards. Lewis also ran for a score.
The Blue Devils have been outscored 101-7 in their last two home games against top 10 teams - the most recent a 45-0 loss to then-No. 7 Virginia Tech on Sept. 10, 2005. Duke dropped the last meeting with the Hokies 14-3 at Durham on Nov. 22, 2008, and hasn’t beaten them since 1981.
Virginia Tech is 18-0 in conference road openers under Beamer.