With the game on the line in the first four-overtime game in ACC history, Thomas Sirk pushed up the middle of a short field for a game-winning two-point conversion attempt to keep No. 23 Duke perfect in ACC play. The wild 45-43 victory at Virginia Tech keeps the Blue Devils in a favorable position in the ACC Coastal Division and helps them keep pace with Pittsburgh and North Carolina in the division standings.
Duke and Virginia Tech exchanged field goals in the first overtime, and then traded touchdowns in the second. Bucky Hodges scored one for the Hokies from 11 yards out and Anthony Nash hauled in a short touchdown pass from Thomas Sirk to force the game to a third overtime on Duke’s possession. In that third overtime, the teams once again exchanged field goals to lead to a fourth overtime. It was the first four-overtime game for both schools.
Duke seemed to take firm control of the game in the third quarter when Shaun Wilson ripped off a 58-yard touchdown, putting Duke up 21-10. However, the Hokies put together a time-consuming 20-yard play to cover 95 yards for a gritty touchdown, with Travon McMillian doing the honors on a short two-yard run to make it a one-score game late in the third quarter. Duke added a field goal early in the fourth quarter to extend its lead to eight points. Virginia Tech strung together another long touchdown drive late in the fourth quarter, going 83 yards on 12 plays, the last being a 23-yard touchdown catch for Bucky Hodges from Michael Brewer.
Duke is now bowl-eligible for the fourth straight season.The Blue Devils have lost each of the last three bowl trips and will continue looking for the first postseason bowl victory in school history since winning the Cotton Bowl at the end of the 1960 season. Where that bowl game will be still remains to be seen. For now, Duke still has other business to attend to.
Next up for Duke will be another important ACC Coastal Division game. The Blue Devils will host Miami in Durham next week, with the Hurricanes coming in looking to move on from an awful 58-0 home loss to Clemson. Miami won last year’s game, 22-10, and has not lost in Durham since 1976. This is a pivotal, make-or-break stretch for Duke. After Miami, Duke plays at North cArolina and then hosts Pittsburgh. Duke’s fate in the ACC Coastal Division could be set in these next three games.
Virginia Tech will hope to rebound on the road next week when the Hokies head north to take on Boston College. The Hokies are starting to flirt with an unfortunate postseason fate. Three wins shy of bowl eligibility, Virginia Tech must win three of their final four games. With road trips to Boston College, Georgia Tech and Virginia to go with a home game against North Carolina, a bowl trip is still within reasonable reach for Virginia Tech. The Hokies have not missed the postseason since 1992. The end of the Frank Beamer era in Blacksburg appears to be ending on a disappointing note.