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Duke takes down No. 16 Virginia Tech to reach bowl eligibility for second straight season


Ross Cockrell (6) and Duke's defense intercepted Virginia Tech QB Logan Thomas four times. (Don Petersen/AP)

Ross Cockrell

Take a look at the stat sheet from Duke's game against No. 16 Virginia Tech on Saturday and it's hard to imagine the Blue Devils escaping Blacksburg with a victory. But that's exactly what coach David Cutcliffe and his team did. Cutcliffe became the first coach to lead Duke to bowl eligibility in back-to-back seasons.

The Blue Devils failed to convert a third down (0-for-11). They were outgained 387 yards to 198. They held the ball for just over 20 minutes, whereas the Hokies held it for 39:27. And Duke quarterback Anthony Boone completed just 7-of-25 passes, and threw four interceptions.

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None of it mattered. The Blue Devils won 13-10, their first victory over a ranked team since 1994, and their first road victory over a ranked foe since 1971.

Duke prevailed in large part because the Blue Devils were able to keep pressure on Virginia Tech quarterback Logan Thomas. The fifth-year senior uncorked four interceptions, including a backbreaking pick with 4:55 remaining that allowed Duke to run out the clock. Thomas completed just 21-of-38 attempts, as the Hokies lost for the first time since Week 1, when they fell 35-10 to top-ranked Alabama.