DURHAM, N.C. - The Blue Devils shut out the Hokies in the second half, holding Tech to 132 yards of total offense following halftime, but Duke could not take advantage of late opportunities as No. 15 Virginia Tech escaped with a 14-10 victory Saturday afternoon at Wallace Wade Stadium.
Virginia Tech running back David Wilson ran for 148 yards on 23 carries, while Hokie quarterback Logan Thomas threw for 190 yards and a touchdown in a game marked by turnovers. Duke safety Matt Daniels picked off two Thomas passes, but Duke committed four turnovers of its own in the loss.
Blue Devil wide receiver Conner Vernon finished with 88 yards on four catches to move into second place in the Duke record books with 2,459 career receiving yards. Quarterback Sean Renfree threw for 204 yards and running back Desmond Scott led the Blue Devils on the ground with 72 yards on 10 carries.
The Hokies outgained the Blue Devils 301-171 in the first half, which saw the two teams combine for five turnovers, to take a 14-7 lead into halftime. Duke's first possession resulted in a turnover as Virginia Tech intercepted Renfree on the fourth play of the game. The Hokies drove to the Blue Devil 15, but Daniels picked off Thomas' pass and returned it to midfield to end the threat.
However, the Blue Devils gave the ball back on a lost fumble at the Virginia Tech 25 and the Hokies proceeded to march 85 yards down the field for the first touchdown of the game. Thomas completed the two-yard pass to tight end Eric Martin to finish off the drive, which lasted nearly six minutes.
Aided by several costly Virginia Tech penalties, the Duke offense found its rhythm on its next possession, tying the game at 7-7 following an 11-play, 85-yard drive. Renfree connected with receiver Donovan Varner for a 15-yard gain on third-and-18, and a pass interference penalty against the Hokies on fourth down set Duke up at the Hokie 22. Renfree hit receiver Brandon Braxton for a 15-yard reception, and Scott finished off the scoring drive with a three-yard run for his second touchdown of the season.
Virginia Tech would reach the end zone on its following possession, needing eight plays to cover 90 yards for the score. Tech tailback Josh Oglesby rushed for 36 yards on the drive, including the one-yard touchdown run to put the Hokies up 14-7 with 10:20 remaining in the second quarter.
The Blue Devils' third turnover of the day, an interception by the Hokies' Cris Hill, placed Virginia Tech at the Duke 25 yard line, but again Daniels was there for the interception, picking off Thomas' pass to the back left corner of the end zone. With his second interception, Daniels became the first Blue Devil to intercept two passes in a game since Leon Wright accomplished the feat against Army on Sept. 12, 2009.
Virginia Tech began the second half with the ball, but Duke's defense forced a three-and-out and freshman Jamison Crowder returned the Hokie punt 26 yards to the Tech 29-yard line. At the Tech 10, quarterback Anthony Boone picked up a low snap and rushed for a key first down on fourth-and-one, but Duke was unable to find the end zone and settled for a 26-yard Will Snyderwine field goal.
Following a Virginia Tech punt at the start of the fourth quarter, Scott broke off a 47-yard run, his longest of the season, to the Hokie 18-yard line. Duke could not convert on the opportunity and again sent out the field goal unit, but the 29-yard attempt hit the right upright.
Trailing just 14-10 in the fourth quarter, Duke had its opportunities, forcing Virginia Tech to punt twice in the final 4:37. Duke took over at the Tech 34 with 6:58 to play, but the Blue Devils' offense stalled inside the red zone as Renfree's run to the outside on fourth-and-two came up short of the first down marker.
Duke regained possession with under two minutes to play, but Virginia Tech's third interception of the day sealed the victory for the Hokies.
Daniels and linebacker Kelby Brown, who also added 1.5 tackles for loss, tied for the team lead with 13 tackles as Duke shut out Virginia Tech in the second half, marking the second time this season the Blue Devils have not allowed a point in the second stanza (Boston College, Sept. 17, 2011).
Duke hits the road next weekend, traveling to Florida for the second time this season to take on Miami Saturday, Nov. 5 at 3 p.m.