Blue Devils top Hokies in four OTs
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.