Nov 29, 2019; Charlottesville, VA, USA; Virginia Tech Hokies head coach Justin Fuente stands on the field during warm-ups prior to the Cavaliers  game against the Virginia Tech Hokies at Scott Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

News Articles

Virginia Tech vies to dump Duke, return to Top 25

Virginia Tech went from being in the top 20 to dropping completely out of the latest Associated Press rankings.

But the Hokies didn’t lose last week.

In fact, they delivered a resilient performance in their season-opening 45-24 victory over North Carolina State despite having 23 players and four coaches out due to either COVID-19 positive tests or contract tracing.

But multiple Big Ten teams and Pac-12 frontrunner Oregon vaulted Virginia Tech (1-0, 1-0 ACC) in the rankings. The Hokies, still ranked No. 23 in the coaches poll since Pac-12 teams have yet to be included in those rankings, will try to climb back up starting Saturday when they face struggling Duke in Durham, N.C.

The Blue Devils are 0-3 (all conference losses) for the first time in the 13-year tenure of coach David Cutcliffe. They are allowing 30.3 points per game and scoring just 13.0, which is tied for sixth worst among the 72 FBS schools that have played thus far.

Duke has committed 14 turnovers, with seven of those coming in last week’s 38-20 loss at Virginia.

“Yes it’s been challenging and it’s going to continue to be challenging,” Cutcliffe told reporters this week. “When you alter anything, you have to increase the quality of everything you’re doing. … You may not believe this, but I think we’re close.”

Duke junior quarterback Chase Brice, a Clemson transfer, threw four interceptions on 16-of-36 passing to go along with 246 yards and two touchdowns. Brice has been sacked nine times and is 59 of 115 (51.3 percent) for 722 yards.

Backup quarterbacks Gunnar Holmberg and Chris Katrenick made appearances in the fourth quarter of last week’s game, but Cutcliffe said after the game he didn’t think it was time to consider a change at the position.

“We work all three of those guys every week,” Cutcliffe said. “We certainly will always be looking at that position just like any other position. But I don’t need to create anything just yet.”

Virginia Tech coach Justin Fuente didn’t say if new defensive coordinator Justin Hamilton, who is taking over this season for Bud Foster, or linebackers coach Tracy Claeys would be back this week.

First-year cornerbacks coach Ryan Smith assumed temporary coordinator duties against N.C. State and the Hokies limited the Wolfpack to 5.1 yards per play.

“I think we’re going to have to have that mentality as we go throughout this season that we’ve got to do our best to get everybody prepared — and that’s coaches and players alike — to play multiple roles because we could find ourselves very easily in that situation as soon as this week,” Fuente said.

Fuente is expecting to have redshirt junior quarterback Hendon Hooker (1,555 yards passing and 13 touchdowns last season) available this week.

Quarterbacks Braxton Burmeister and Quincy Patterson II combined for 181 passing yards and two touchdown passes and ran for 93 yards. Patterson directed two scoring drives that built a 31-10 halftime lead after Burmeister was forced to leave the game with a cramping hand.

Still, Hooker’s presence should provide a boost to an offense that totaled 314 rushing yards led by Khalil Herbert (104 yards and a touchdown on six carries). The Hokies amassed 495 yards overall.

“Each week is different, and there is no guarantee that we’ll have a full complement of people coming into the next week,” Fuente said. “It was nice for us to get to do it. It was nice for us to play well. Certainly, I don’t want to make too much of it.”

–Field Level Media

Field Level Media
Sport Writer & Editor
FLM has a North American focus while tying into regional and hyper-local resources – providing the ability to distribute compelling content through the writing of professional journalists. As the U.S. sports content provider to dozens of digital and print media publishers through strategic partnerships with the likes of Reuters and Nielsen Sports, FLM covers the nuts and bolts with a breaking news desk and game event coverage.

Upcoming Games

Aug 28th, 3:33 PM

Hawaii

UCLA

@

Aug 28th, 3:33 PM

Southern Utah

San Jose State (24)

@

Aug 28th, 3:33 PM

Nebraska

Illinois

@

Aug 28th, 3:33 PM

UCONN

Fresno State

@

Aug 28th, 3:33 PM

UTEP

New Mexico State

@

Sep 1st, 3:33 PM

Jacksonville State

UAB

@

Sep 2nd, 12:00 PM

East Carolina

Appalachian State

@

Sep 2nd, 3:33 PM

LIU

Florida International (FIU)

@

Sep 2nd, 3:33 PM

Weber State

Utah

@

Sep 2nd, 3:33 PM

Southern Utah

Arizona State

@

Sep 2nd, 3:33 PM

Western Illinois

Ball State (23)

@

Sep 2nd, 3:33 PM

North Carolina (18)

Virginia Tech

@

Sep 2nd, 3:33 PM

USF

NC State

@

Sep 2nd, 3:33 PM

UC Davis

Tulsa

@

Sep 2nd, 3:33 PM

Ohio State (2)

Minnesota

@

Sep 2nd, 3:33 PM

Houston Baptist

New Mexico

@

Sep 2nd, 3:33 PM

Eastern Washington

UNLV

@

Sep 3rd, 3:33 PM

Northern Colorado

Colorado

@

Sep 3rd, 3:33 PM

St. Francis-PA

Eastern Michigan

@

Sep 3rd, 3:33 PM

Old Dominion

Wake Forest

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

Clemson (3)

Georgia (7)

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

Duke

Charlotte

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

The Citadel

Coastal Carolina (14)

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

Florida Atlantic

Florida (13)

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

Central Michigan

Missouri

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

Colgate

Boston College

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

Montana

Washington

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

Northern Iowa

Iowa State (9)

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

Louisiana-Monroe

Kentucky

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

Bowling Green

Tennessee

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

Fresno State

Oregon

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

Eastern Illinois

South Carolina

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

Army

Georgia State

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

East Tennessee State

Vanderbilt

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

Kansas State

Stanford

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

Kent State

Texas A&M (4)

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

Akron

Auburn

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

Utah State

Washington State

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

Southern University

Troy

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

Rice

Arkansas

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

NIU

Georgia Tech

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

Nevada

California

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

Missouri State

Oklahoma State (20)

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

LA Tech

Mississippi State

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

Monmouth-New Jersey

Middle Tennessee

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

San Jose State (24)

USC (21)

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

Southern Miss

South Alabama

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

Northwestern State

North Texas

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

Louisiana-Lafayette (15)

Texas (19)

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

Wagner

Buffalo (25)

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

Baylor

Texas State

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

Syracuse

Ohio

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

Alabama (1)

Miami-FL (22)

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

Duquesne

TCU

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

Central Arkansas

Arkansas State

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

Norfolk State

Toledo

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

LSU

UCLA

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

Arizona

BYU (11)

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

Bethune-Cookman

UTEP

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

Campbell

Liberty (17)

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

Tennessee-Martin

WKU

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

Miami-OH

Cincinnati (8)

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

Holy Cross

UCONN

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

Houston

Texas Tech

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

Nicholls State

Memphis

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

Massachusetts

Pittsburgh

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

Boise State

UCF

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

William & Mary

Virginia

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

South Dakota

Kansas

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

Abilene Christian

SMU

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

Marshall

Navy

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

Oklahoma (6)

Tulane

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

UTSA

Illinois

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

New Mexico State

San Diego State

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

Portland State

Hawaii

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

Indiana (12)

Iowa (16)

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

West Virginia

Maryland

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

Western Michigan

Michigan

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

Michigan State

Northwestern (10)

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

Lafayette

Air Force

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

Montana State

Wyoming

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

Oregon State

Purdue

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

Temple

Rutgers

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

Penn State

Wisconsin

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

South Dakota State

Colorado State

@

Sep 4th, 6:00 PM

Gardner-Webb

Georgia Southern

@