College football: Mistakes doom Duke in loss to Va. Tech

Published 7:06 pm Saturday, November 15, 2014

The Associated Press

DURHAM, N.C. (AP) — No. 19 Duke’s highest national ranking in two decades is certainly gone — and so is much of the Blue Devils’ breathing room in the ACC’s Coastal Division.

All because they couldn’t take care of the ball.

Duke turned it over three times and those giveaways led to all of Virginia Tech’s points in a 17-16 upset on Saturday.

“They’re good at taking advantage of mistakes that you make, and they did that,” Duke coach David Cutcliffe said.

Duke (8-2, 4-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) began the day with six total turnovers — no Bowl Subdivision team had fewer — but now has given it away three times in each of its two losses.

Anthony Boone was 18 of 40 for 181 yards, but he was intercepted twice and DeVon Edwards fumbled a kickoff to set up the go-ahead touchdown for Virginia Tech.

Michael Brewer was 12 of 23 for 138 yards with two touchdowns, covering 15 yards to Bucky Hodges and 10 yards to Isaiah Ford, for the Hokies (5-5, 2-4).

Josh Snead scored the lone touchdown for the mistake-prone Blue Devils.

ke had two chances late, first advancing to the Tech 22 before Martin — who began the day having made all 13 of his field goals — was wide left.

The Blue Devils forced a three-and-out and got the ball back at their 40 with 2 minutes left, but Boone was sacked on consecutive plays before safety Detrick Bonner pressured him into a no-chance incompletion on fourth-and-21.

“It’s a gamble that you’re bringing … two secondary guys off the edge,” Beamer said. “It’s a little bit of a gamble that worked out.”

Two Duke miscues came on back-to-back series that helped Virginia Tech — which hadn’t forced a takeaway since Oct. 16 — escape a 16-7 deficit.

Breon Borders picked off a Brewer pass at the Virginia Tech 36 but three plays later, Boone was hit while throwing and Di Nardo returned the interception to the Duke 9 to set up Joey Slye’s 35-yard field goal that made it 16-10 on the final play of the third.

Edwards’ fumble set up Brewer’s scoring pass to Hodges on a post pattern to put the Hokies ahead to stay with 12:47 left.

Martin kicked three field goals, including a 24-yarder that made it a nine-point game, but the Hokies were content to let Duke settle for three points at a time instead of seven.

“We probably did leave some points on the field,” Cutcliffe said. “Field goals and touchdowns are two really different things.”

That helped them hang around and avoid being blown out — at one point, Duke outgained Virginia Tech 123-7.

Momentum took a complete 180 on the first play of the second quarter, when Deon Clarke intercepted Boone’s deep throw at the Virginia Tech 2.

Instead of being down big, the Hokies drove 98 yards and pulled to 10-7 on Brewer’s corner fade to Ford.