Blue Devils top Hok­ies in four OTs

The Washington Post Sunday - - WASHINGTONPOST.COM/SPORTS - DUKE 45, VIR­GINIA TECH 43 BY HANK KURZ JR. — As­so­ci­ated Press

blacks­burg, va. — Thomas Sirk had an an­swer for any­one think­ing No. 23 Duke’s suc­cess was all about the Blue Devils’ highly rated de­fense.

Sirk threw four touch­down passes, the last one in the fourth over­time, and then ran for the game-win­ning two-point con­ver­sion Satur­day night, giv­ing the Blue Devils a 45-43 vic­tory against Vir­ginia Tech in the longest game in ACC his­tory.

Duke (6-1, 3-0) also won for the 12th time in 13 road games and for the sec­ond con­sec­u­tive time at Lane Sta­dium.

Af­ter ar­riv­ing in Vir­ginia with the na­tion’s No. 4 over­all de­fense, Sirk showed the of­fense de­serves some credit, too.

“We had a great game plan com­ing in, try­ing to get their guys iso­lated and get the lineback­ers out of there,” he said. “We had quar­ter­back draws, quar­ter­back pow­ers. We did it all. Our of­fen­sive line did such a great job open­ing up holes ver­sus a very tough and phys­i­cal D-line and lineback­ing corps.”

Sirk had tied the score at 43 by hit­ting Erich Schneider for 25 yards on the Blue Devils’ first play of the last over­time.

On the two-point con­ver­sion play, the Hok­ies were in the right de­fense, putting the onus on Sirk to make the play.

“Coach said if there’s noth­ing there, don’t force the throw. Tuck it and run,” he said.

And the vaunted de­fense had put them in po­si­tion for the gamewin­ner.

The Hok­ies al­ready had scored a touch­down in the fourth over­time, but with the rules man­dat­ing that teams must go for two­point con­ver­sions af­ter two over­times, Michael Brewer rolled right, and his at­tempt to sneak a pass into Isa­iah Ford was knocked away by Deon­dre Sin­gle­ton.

“I think the guy made a heck of a play knock­ing it away,” Brewer said.

Sirk fin­ished 19 for 39 for 270 yards and ran 18 times for an­other 109 yards.

Vir­ginia Tech (3-5, 1-3) lost for the fourth time in five games.

“I don’t know that I’ve ever been part of a more heart­break­ing loss,” said Brewer, who re­turned to the start­ing lineup for the first time since break­ing his left col­lar­bone in a sea­son-open­ing loss to No. 1 Ohio State. “At this point, we’re play­ing for a bowl game.”

Brewer fin­ished 24 for 45 for 270 yards and three touch­downs, all to tight end Bucky Hodges.

The teams had traded field goals, then touch­downs, then field goals again through the first three over­times.

The Hok­ies trailed al­most all game, but two long sec­ond-half scor­ing drives drew them even.

The sec­ond cov­ered 83 yards and tied it with 2 min­utes 7 sec­onds to play. Brewer’s 23-yard touch­down pass to Hodges came on fourth and two. Af­ter the Blue Devils were twice called for pass in­ter­fer­ence on two-point pass at­tempts, Travon McMil­lian (29 car­ries, 142 yards) ran it in to tie the game at 24-all.

In the third quar­ter, Vir­ginia Tech pulled within 21-16 with a 20-play, 95-yard drive that took 9:46, the longest drive in the 29-year his­tory of Frank Beamer’s ten­ure as coach.

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