Virginia Tech Sleepwalks to Win Over Duke

By Mark Viera
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, October 4, 2009

DURHAM, N.C., Oct. 3 -- In the moments after Virginia Tech's 34-26 win over Duke on Saturday, the Hokies' tempered reaction provided evidence of an unfulfilling afternoon. There were no smiles, no high-fives, no celebration whatsoever.

"It wasn't as sharp as we'd like," Coach Frank Beamer said. "I don't think it was lack of effort. Part of it was Duke and part of it was us. I think we learn from it, and thank goodness we got a win coming out of here. Sometimes I think you've just got to win some games that are not real pretty on the road, and I think this is probably one of those."

Virginia Tech did not perform like a team that one week earlier appeared to be the class of the ACC with a win over Miami. Against the doormat Blue Devils, the No. 6 Hokies (4-1, 2-0) seemed to sleepwalk until the fourth quarter, when they roused themselves with two touchdowns to put away the game before a crowd of 26,211.

While the Hokies' offense showed some promising signs, Virginia Tech bogged itself down with a season-high 12 penalties and continued to show a susceptibility to big gains, allowing 359 passing yards thanks largely to five completions of 20 or more yards.

After the game, defensive coordinator Bud Foster said he noticed a "laissez faire" attitude among the Hokies during the week. He also said he was disappointed with some of the leadership on defense as the team prepared to play the Blue Devils (2-3, 0-1).

"Eventually, you'd like some senior leadership to take over," Foster said. "I know this, I get tired of doing it every week. You'd like to see the seniors take charge, but that's my job, too."

Foster added: "This will be a lesson learned that anybody can beat anybody in this day and age in college football. But you've got to stay focused."

The bright spot for Virginia Tech was its passing offense. Quarterback Tyrod Taylor looked crisp and threw for a career-high 327 yards and two touchdowns, completing 17 of 22 passes.

Taylor hit Danny Coale for a 36-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter and connected with Jarrett Boykin for a 28-yard touchdown in the second quarter. Boykin had a career-high 144 yards on six receptions.

On perhaps his most impressive display, Taylor connected with Boykin for a 62-yard gain on a third-and-34 play in the third quarter. Taylor showed poise and accuracy in delivering the long strike.

"I don't get them a lot, but when they come that's when you need them the most," Taylor said of taking shots down the field. "I think we've done a very good job of executing versus one-on-one coverage and singling guys out and making plays."

The Hokies' rushing offense was limited to 150 yards, well below its average of 216.5 entering the game. Running back Ryan Williams finished with 83 yards on 24 carries. But late in the fourth quarter, the Hokies gained some traction as the coaches called more runs outside after seeing that inside runs were being stuffed. Running back Josh Oglesby capped two fourth-quarter drives with touchdown runs.

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