Tag Archives: Duke at Virginia Tech preview

9

Duke at Virginia Tech Game Notes

9aDuke at Virginia Tech

Thursday, February 21, 2013 • 9:00 p.m. • ESPN2

Blacksburg, Va. • Cassell Coliseum (9,847)

The Opening Tip

• The Blue Devils are ranked No. 6 in the AP Poll and in the USA Today Coaches Poll. Duke is 104-29 all-time when ranked No. 6 in the AP Poll.

• The Blue Devils have been ranked in the AP Top 10 for 109 consecutive weeks. Duke had been ranked in the top five for 13 straight weeks prior to this week’s No. 6 ranking.

• Duke is playing its 202nd straight game as a top-10 team in the AP poll. Duke is 168-33 in that span.

• Head coach Mike Krzyzewski is tied with Adolph Rupp for the third-most wins by a coach at one school with 876.

• Duke is playing back-to-back road games – excluding neutral sites – for only the second time this season. Duke defeated Wake Forest and Florida State in consecutive road games on Jan. 30 and Feb. 2.

• Duke is 9-3 away from Cameron Indoor Stadium this season.

The Last Time Out

• Rasheed Sulaimon hit three straight free throws to tie the game at 81-81 with 16 seconds left, but Maryland freshman Seth Allen sank a pair of free throws with two seconds left to lead the Terrapins past Duke, 83-81, in the Comcast Center Wednesday.

• After going scoreless in the first half, Sulaimon scored 16 points in the second half and hit all seven free throws.

• Seth Curry scored 25 points for Duke on 11-of-17 shooting. Quinn Cook contributed 18 points, and Josh Hairston scored a season-high 11.

• Duke forced 26 Maryland turnovers, scoring 27 poinst off Terrapin miscues. The 26 turnovers tied for the most by a Duke opponent this season.

• Maryland, which ranks second nationally in rebounds per game and rebounding margin, outrebounded Duke 40-20.

Numbers Game

l Duke, ranked No. 6 in the latest AP Poll, has been ranked in the top 10 of the poll 109 consecutive weeks. The last time Duke was not ranked in the top 10 was Nov. 19, 2007.

l Duke is one of only three teams in the top 10 of the Associated Press Poll (No. 6), Coaches Poll (No. 6), NCAA RPI (No. 1) and Strength of Schedule index (No. 1). Miami and Louisville are the other two teams ranked among the top 10.

l Duke leads the ACC in three-point percentage (.408) and three-point field goals per game (7.6 3pg.). The .408 clip would rank as the third-best in school history. Duke has made 10 or more three-point field goals eight times this season.

l Head coach Mike Krzyzewski is tied with Adolph Rupp for the third-most career victories at one school. Krzyzewski is 876-235 (.789) all-time as Duke’s head coach. Krzyzewski is three wins shy of tying Dean Smith for second all-time at one school and 34 shy of all-time leader Jim Boeheim.

l Coach K needs just one more win to reach 950 for his career. He is the winningest coach in Division I men’s basketball with 40 more wins than the next closest coach.

l Duke has lost back-to-back games just once since the 2009-10 season. Duke’s record following a loss during that span is 16-1.

l Duke is one of only two teams in the ACC with five players averaging double-digit scoring. Mason Plumlee (17.6 ppg), Seth Curry (16.9), Ryan Kelly (13.4), Quinn Cook (12.3) and Rasheed Sulaimon (11.7) are all averaging double figures.

l Duke owns a 1.36:1 assist-to-turnover ratio, which would best the school record of 1.32:1 set by the 2000-01 NCAA Championship team.

l Mason Plumlee needs just 13 more rebounds to reach 1,000 for his career. Plumlee would be the eighth Blue Devil to reach that mark and the third with 1,000 points, 1,000 rebounds and 150 blocks.

l Seth Curry has scored 20 or more points in seven of Duke’s 12 ACC games. He has scored in double figures in all but two of those games and averages 17.6 points per game in league play to rank third in the ACC. Curry also ranks among the top five in league play in three-pointers per game (t-1st, 3.0) and free throw percentage (3rd, .825).

l In Duke’s two games following a loss this season, freshman Rasheed Sulaimon averages a team-high 20.0 points per game while shooting .750 (9-of-12) from three-point range. Seth Curry averages 18.5 ppg and Mason Plumlee 17.5 ppg in games following a loss.

Duke-Virginia Tech Series History

• Duke leads the all-time series with Virginia Tech 40-8, with a combined 20-6 record in games outside of Cameron Indoor Stadium. Duke is 9-5 against Virginia Tech on the road and 11-1 at neutral sites.

• The Duke-Virginia Tech series began on Feb. 16, 1912 when Duke won 37-32.

• Duke is 11-3 against Virginia Tech under head coach Mike Krzyzewski.

• Duke has won four straight meetings and eight of the last nine contests.

• The last two meetings have been decided by an average of 4.5 points. Duke defeated Virginia Tech 70-65 in overtime in the final meeting of the 2011-12 regular season and then pulled out a 60-56 win in the 2012 ACC Tournament.

• Duke is 11-3 against Virginia Tech since the Hokies joined the ACC in 2004-05.

Coach-Cutcliffe 10-6-12

Duke with an opportunity to gain bowl eligibility against Virginia Tech Saturday

Can Duke Head Coach David Cutcliffe end another  streak on Saturday? – BDN Photo

Duke at Virginia Tech
12:30 PM ET
Saturday, October 13
Blacksburg, VA

TV: ACC Network/ESPN3

Radio: Blue Devil IMG Sports Network

Duke: 5-1 (2-0 ACC), beat Virginia, 42-17
Virginia Tech: 3-3 (1-1 ACC), lost to North Carolina, 34-48

Last year: Virginia Tech defeated Duke, 14-10

DUKE INJURIES

PROBABLE: S Brandon Braxton (upper body), CB Lee Butler (lower body), DE Justin Foxx (hand), QB Sean Renfree (elbow), S Chris Tavarez (knee)
QUESTIONABLE: NG Jamal Bruce (foot), DT Jamal Wallace (lower body)
DOUBTFUL: DE Dezmond Johnson (lower body)
OUT: CB Jared Boyd (leg), LB Kelby Brown (leg), TE Braxton Deaver (leg)
OUT FOR SEASON: TE Jack Farrell (leg), WR Blair Holliday, DE Allen Jackson (shoulder), S Corbin McCarthy (shoulder), S Taylor Sowell (leg)

VIRGINIA TECH INJURIES

DOUBTFUL: TE Eric Martin (shoulder)
OUT: G/C Caleb Farris (ankle), WR Christian Reeves (hamstring), LG David Wang (ankle/knee)
OUT FOR SEASON: OT Nick Acree (knee), FB Riley Beiro (shoulder), WR D.J. Coles (knee)

HOW DUKE CAN WIN

North Carolina exposed the Virginia Tech rush defense last week, and with a banged up offensive line, Saturday’s game will come down to the line of scrimmage. The Blue Devils have to control the trenches if they hope to win on Saturday. Offensively, it appears that Duke will get Sean Renfree back this week, but Anthony Boone may be a better matchup against the Hokies. His ability to run, along with Brandon Connette, could put Virginia Tech on their heels. Regardless of who lines up under center, the Blue Devils will have to feature a balanced attack against the Hokies. If Duke can control the line of scrimmage and establish a running game with Juwan Thompson, Josh Snead, and Jela Duncan, the struggling Virginia Tech defense will be forced to drop into single coverage against Duke’s dynamic receivers. If that’s the case, look for another big day for Vernon and Crowder.

Defensively, Duke has to take advantage of Virginia Tech’s lack of depth and experience on the offensive line. Thomas is an effective runner, but he has been put under pressure this year and forced into 7 interceptions. The opportunistic Duke defense should be looking to force a takeaway or two. The Hokies have not been able to establish their running game this year, averaging just 130 yards on the ground. The Blue Devils need to make sure that doesn’t happen this week, and getting back Justin Foxx, Jamal Bruce, and Jamal Wallace would be a big boost to the defensive front. Special teams has been huge for the Blue Devils, and if they can again win the field position battle, Virginia Tech may struggle to put together long drives.

HOW VIRGINIA TECH CAN WIN

Despite their struggles, the Hokies have the talent to play well in all three phases, and they hope to put it all together on Saturday. Logan Thomas is an experienced quarterback and has the ability to march this team down the field by himself. The Blue Devils will have to be aware of his ability to run, as he has already scored 4 touchdowns on the ground this year. Now halfway through the season, Thomas is starting to get comfortable with his new group of receivers, and he’ll have both RB Tony Gregory and WR Dyrell Roberts back from injury this week. Marcus Davis and Corey Fuller have been Thomas’ favorite targets so far this year, and prized freshman JC Coleman has received some carries behind Michael Holmes.  Last week, Virginia was able to move the ball consistently in the first half on the ground against the Blue Devils behind their big offensive line. Virginia Tech has a banged up and inexperienced offensive line, but they still will likely look to establish the run against Duke much as Virginia did a week ago with a heavy dose of Holmes, Gregory, and Coleman. The Hokies have the talent to put together a balanced offensive attack, and that could cause trouble for a Duke defense that has given up yards. If Virginia Tech is able to find good balance and take care of the football, they should have a good chance to win on Saturday.

Defensively is where the Hokies have hurt the Blue Devils most in the past. Duke’s last trip to Lane Stadium was a 44-7 blowout, as the Blue Devils struggled with turnovers. After giving up 48 points to North Carolina and a ton of yards on the ground last week, the Hokies’ defense will be highly motivated this week against Duke. Virginia Tech has certainly struggled against the run and they’ve had their share of injuries, but they have a number of defenders capable of disrupting the Blue Devil offense. Look for seniors Bruce Taylor and Antone Exum to try and force turnovers, whether it’s Boone or Renfree under center. If Virginia Tech is able to win the turnover battle as they have in the past against Duke, it may be another long Saturday in Lane Stadium for the Blue Devils.

WHY VIRGINIA TECH WILL WIN

Coach Cutcliffe has stopped a number of streaks during his time in Durham, and he has a chance to end more on Saturday. Duke’s last bowl eligible season was in 1994. The Blue Devils last victory against the Hokies came in 1982. Yes, none of the current Blue Devils were even born then. Duke is happy to be at 5-1, but they also have work still to do, and their work gets tougher the second half of the season. The Blue Devils are a healthier team overall, but they are still without 9 scholarship players this week. On the other side of the field, Virginia Tech has played some of its worst football in years over the first half of the season. They remain a talented, but inexperienced, football team. At some point, one has to think that luck changes for both of these teams: injuries catch up to Duke, and the Hokies finally play well in all three phases. Will that happen on Saturday? With a beautiful fall day expected for Homecoming in Lane Stadium, this should be a terrific ACC Coastal Division matchup. The Blue Devils look to become bowl eligible and prove they are true contenders in the conference, while the Hokies will try to show that they’re still the team to beat to get to Charlotte. This is a game that Duke can win, but the Hokies are a team that finds ways to win close games against the Blue Devils. Virginia Tech 31, Duke 27

Duke travels to Blacksburg this weekend in search of their 6th win.

Know the opponent: Virginia Tech Hokies

Duke will look to steal a rare win in Blacksburg this weekend against Virginia Tech.

Duke (5-1, 2-0 ACC) travels to Blacksburg to take on the Virginia Tech Hokies (3-3, 1-1 ACC) on Saturday. The Blue Devils are searching for a win to earn themselves bowl eligibility for the first time since 1994. A win against the Hokies, however, would be a first for the program since 1982. Despite the disappointing start to 2012, Virginia Tech remains a contender in the ACC Coastal Division, and the Blue Devils will have to play some of their best football of the year to bag a win in Lane Stadium. It’s Homecoming Weekend in Blacksburg, and the Hokies will be looking to get their season back on track after two straight losses.

Each week, BDN brings in an opposing beat writer to provide an inside look at the Blue Devils’ opponent. This week, we welcome in another outstanding writer in Andy Bitter, who is the Virginia Tech football beat writer for The Virginian-Pilot. Andy joined The Pilot in October 2011 after spending three years covering Auburn for the Columbus (Ga.) Ledger-Enquirer. His eventful time on the Auburn beat included a coaching change, a Heisman Trophy winner, the school’s first national championship in 53 years and the poisoning of the school’s iconic oak trees. BDN is happy to have Andy join us this week to give his take on this Saturday’s matchup.

Raise your hand if you thought Duke would be 5-1 and Virginia Tech 3-3 heading into the Hokies’ Homecoming weekend. Probably not many. What is the mood within and around the Virginia Tech program after the 3-3 start?

It’s certainly not one of satisfaction. Virginia Tech has gotten off to slow starts before, but nothing quite like this. This is the earliest the Hokies have lost three games since 1992, when they went 2-8-1. That was also the last time Tech didn’t go to a bowl game.

I would describe the mood around Blacksburg as urgent, but not panicked. Players and coaches have said this week that they aren’t in “crisis mode” yet. And while it’s tough to gauge whether or not they’re being truthful, quarterback Logan Thomas made a good point this week. “We’ve been able to move the ball and we’ve been able to stop people,” he said. “We just haven’t done it all in the same game yet.”

He has a point. The Hokies have looked the part either on offense or defense at times this year, but never at the same time. And for a team that’s probably not as talented as it has been in the past, having turned over basically the entire offense from last year other than Thomas, it makes for a much smaller margin of error. It’s still a talented team, but not one that can get by just by showing up, which has been the case in past years.

Despite returning just 3 starters on offense, the Hokies were the consensus pick to win the ACC Coastal in 2012 behind QB Logan Thomas. Through the first half of the season, however, Virginia Tech hasn’t been able to put up points consistently and ranks towards the bottom of the ACC in several offensive categories. What has been the source of the struggles for Thomas and the Hokies’ offense?

I think a lot of it comes back to the offensive line, and by extension, the running game. The line, which replaced four starters from last year, hasn’t been able to get any kind of consistent push up front. It hasn’t helped that injuries have forced the Hokies to shuffle things in the interior. It hasn’t looked pretty. Tech has averaged 88.75 rushing yards per game against teams from BCS conferences, a jarring change from the past, when the Hokies have been able to produce consistent yards on the ground. Not having a Darren Evans or Ryan Williams or David Wilson on the roster at tailback has contributed to that, but the tailbacks they do have aren’t getting much of a chance to run the ball, getting hit either behind or near the line on every carry.

Those struggles have impacted the passing game too. Defenses don’t have to respect the run, so they’ve been able to rush Thomas with impunity. The o-line has done an OK job blocking for him but not great. As a result, Thomas still looks jittery back there at times. His footwork hasn’t been the same and he doesn’t seem as comfortable, and it’s affecting his passes.

Year after year, Bud Foster puts together one of the top defensive units in the ACC. In 2012, the Hokies boast a veteran defense that ranks second in the conference in pass efficiency, led by seniors Bruce Taylor and Antone Exum. Last week, Gio Bernard and the Tar Heels were able to score 48 points on the typically stingy Hokie defense. How have opponents been successful moving the ball against Virginia Tech this year?

Well, those passing statistics are more a function of who Virginia Tech has played so far (Georgia Tech was an option team and Austin Peay and Bowling Green couldn’t pass worth a lick). The problems have been all over. The secondary was shuffled in the offseason, with Exum moving to corner and two corners moving to safety. They haven’t jelled like the team had hoped and there have been busts in run support from the group. (Attrition has left the secondary thin, too. The coaches only trust about five defensive backs on the roster, and even that might be generous.) The linebacking group hasn’t had Tariq Edwards all year, which has forced Taylor to play out of position. But other than that, the Hokies simply aren’t making plays like they have in the past. The pass rush has been non-existent and players aren’t getting to the ball in packs like they have before. Foster thinks there’s a little bit of a trust issue on defense, something the team has taken measures at correcting this week.

The Blue Devils have given the Hokies a few scares in recent years, but Duke’s last win against Virginia Tech was back in 1982. With Duke riding a four game winning streak and the Hokies dropping two in a row, can the Blue Devils finally snap their streak on Saturday? How do you assess this match up?

I still get the sense that Duke’s start is a bit of a mirage, just by looking at the teams the Blue Devils have beaten (Wake Forest and Virginia might be the worst two teams in the ACC). That said, they have the Hokies’ full attention this week. I think Virginia Tech was sleep-walking in last year’s matchup a little bit, with the bye on the horizon. I don’t think that’s the case this year. But this simply isn’t a Virginia Tech team that can overwhelm an opponent like it has in the past. This defense has issues, and Duke’s offense has enough weapons to be able to exploit it Saturday. I think Thomas might have turned a corner with his passing last week (he had a career high 354 yards to go with two long touchdown passes), so Tech might have some success there. The key might be whether the Hokies’ stagnant running game can get going against a Duke rushing defense that gave up big chunks of yards on the ground to UVa last week. If Tech can run consistently, I think it will win a high-scoring game, something like 30-27. But I expect it to be close.