12:00 PM ET, September 10, 2005
Wallace Wade Stadium, DURHAM, NC
DURHAM, N.C. (AP) -- Two conference road games, two wins. And seventh-ranked Virginia Tech figures its best still lies ahead.
Marcus Vick threw three touchdown passes and the Hokies turned in a dominating defensive performance Saturday to beat Duke 45-0, keeping them unbeaten on the road in the Atlantic Coast Conference since joining last season.
Roland Minor returned an interception for a touchdown for the Hokies (2-0, 2-0 ACC), while Branden Ore and George Bell added rushing scores.
The Hokies were coming off a 20-16 victory at North Carolina State, where they tallied just 232 total yards. But the Hokies had no trouble in their second trip to the Tar Heel state, overwhelming the Blue Devils (0-2, 0-1) from the start.
"We just looked at our game tape from last week, and the whole week we were fixing our mistakes and trying to minimize them," Ore said. "We just came out here and did what we were supposed to do. Everybody took care of their responsibilities and it clicked."
It sure did. Duke finished with 35 total yards on 53 plays, a woeful total made worse by the Blue Devils' nine penalties for 68 yards. It was Duke's lowest yardage total in at least nine years, going back to a 91-yard day against Florida State in 1996.
Virginia Tech's defenders spent plenty of time in the Duke backfield, tallying 10 tackles-for-loss and holding Duke to just 13 yards rushing on 35 attempts.
That made things very easy on Vick and the still-developing Hokies' offense, which was trying to improve from last week's tough outing. And the Hokies' special teams also did their part, pinning Duke inside the 13-yard line three times on punt coverage and getting four touchbacks on kickoffs from Jared Develli.
That all-around solid play gave Virginia Tech consecutive road wins to start the season for the first time in nine years -- and a good start in the race for the league's Coastal Division title and a spot in the 12-team ACC's inaugural championship game.
Just don't tell them that.
"I've been playing for Virginia Tech for a long time where we started off with a bang and we kind of fell off," said defensive tackle Jonathan Lewis, who finished with one of the team's five sacks. "I think the key for us is not to even think about that.
"One step, one rep. That's the key, doing everything right," he said.
Vick, coming off a mistake-free performance in his first collegiate start, looked sharp against the Blue Devils. He completed 12-of-19 passes for 172 yards -- though his receivers dropped three catchable throws in the first half -- with one interception before being pulled after the third quarter.
On Virginia Tech's second drive, he connected with Jeff King in the back right corner of the end zone for a 7-yard score midway through the first quarter. He later connected with Josh Morgan for a 37-yard score down the left sideline in the second period and added a perfectly thrown 35-yard pass over the middle to David Clowney for a 28-0 lead early in the third.
Last week, Vick -- the younger brother of former Hokies star Michael Vick -- finished 10-for-21 for 108 yards and a touchdown to go with 31 yards rushing with no turnovers.
"I felt more comfortable," Vick said. "It just seemed like things were going slow out there and I had enough time to go through my reads and get the ball out of my hands."
His only mistake Saturday came when Duke's John Talley jumped in front of his quick pass to Eddie Royal on the left side in the second quarter -- though it hardly mattered considering the way the Hokies' defense was playing.
The defense even helped out with the scoring when Minor cut off Curt Dukes' floating pass for Marcus Jones and returned it 23 yards, giving Virginia Tech a 14-0 lead with 1:54 left in the opening period.
Dukes rushed for 20 yards to lead the Blue Devils, who have lost five straight in the series and haven't beaten the Hokies since 1981.
"We just got beat in every phase of the game today," Duke coach Ted Roof said. "They are a much better football team than we are."
Top 25 Overview
It was over when... Marcus Vick threw the first of his three TD passes in the first quarter. The way the Hokies defense was playing, that was all the scoring Virginia Tech would need.
Gameball goes to... The Virginia Tech defense. The Hokies held Duke to just 35 total yards on 53 plays and notched 10 tackles-for-loss and held Duke to just 13 yards rushing on 35 attempts. Is that any good?
Stat of the game... 0: Number of road losses Virginia Tech has since joining the ACC.
The Fan Pick
99.5% of College Pick'em players picked Virginia Tech to win the game.
Team Stat Comparison
|3rd Down Conversions||4-11||3-14|
|4th Down Conversions||1-1||0-1|
|TD||6:55||JEFF KING 7 YD PASS FROM MARCUS VICK (BRANDON PACE KICK)|
Drive info: 7 plays, 57 yards.
|TD||1:54||ROLAND MINOR 23 YD INTERCEPTION RETURN (BRANDON PACE KICK)||14||0|
|TD||9:15||JOSH MORGAN 37 YD PASS FROM MARCUS VICK (BRANDON PACE KICK)|
Drive info: 5 plays, 69 yards.
|TD||11:52||DAVID CLOWNEY 35 YD PASS FROM MARCUS VICK (BRANDON PACE KICK)|
Drive info: 4 plays, 52 yards.
|TD||1:34||GEORGE BELL 3 YD RUN (BRANDON PACE KICK)|
Drive info: 11 plays, 53 yards.
|FG||8:13||BRANDON PACE 31 YD FG|
Drive info: 4 plays, -1 yards.
|TD||4:57||BRANDEN ORE 4 YD RUN (BRANDON PACE KICK)|
Drive info: 5 plays, 34 yards.