Durham, NC (SportsNetwork.com) - Three Duke turnovers led to three Virginia Tech scores and the Hokies pulled off a 17-16 upset of the 19th-ranked Blue Devils on Saturday at Wallace Wade Stadium.
Michael Brewer threw a pair of touchdown passes, including a 15-yard strike to Bucky Hodges for the go-ahead score early in the fourth quarter, as the Hokies (5-5, 2-4 ACC) snapped a three-game losing streak.
Anthony Boone was intercepted twice and completed just 18-of-40 passes for 181 yards for Duke (8-2, 4-2), which had a four-game winning streak stopped and lost for the first time since a 22-10 setback at Miami-Florida in late September.
The Blue Devils had a pair of opportunities late in the fourth quarter. Ross Martin missed a 40-yard field goal attempt with 2:26 remaining and Duke got the ball back just 26 seconds later after a Virginia Tech punt. Boone moved the Blue Devils to the Virginia Tech 41, but he was called for intentional grounding on second down, then was sacked and threw incomplete on fourth down in the final minute.
"The things we pride ourselves in -- taking care of the ball, no loss yardage plays, no sacks didn't happen," said Duke coach David Cutcliffe. "We left some points out on the field. We had some people who had some opportunities there and we just didn't execute as well in the passing game. That's kind of been our m.o. If we hadn't played well offensively it's not necessarily not being able to run the ball it's suddenly not being able to execute in the passing game. It was a challenge and we didn't manage it -- a one-point loss."
Things started well for Duke, as Martin finished the first possession with a 36-yard field goal and Josh Snead scored on a 2-yard run to make it 10-0 just under seven minutes into the game.
The Blue Devils were driving toward another score, but Boone's pass from the Tech 27 was intercepted near the goal line on the first play of the second quarter.
Virginia Tech, outgained 176-40 in the first quarter, followed with a 98-yard drive for a touchdown. Brewer converted a 3rd-and-4 early in the series with a 14-yard pass to Joshua Stanford and finished the 12-play set with a 10-yard fade pattern to Isaiah Ford.
Martin missed a 51-yard field goal try late in the first half, but connected on kicks of 48 and 24 yards on Duke's first two possessions of the third quarter to make it 16-7.
Brewer was picked off three plays after Martin's second field goal, but Boone returned the favor just three plays later. Derek Di Nardo intercepted Boone's tipped pass and raced 51 yards to the Duke 9-yard line, setting up a Joey Slye 35-yard field goal to pull the Hokies within six on the final play of the third quarter.
Duke, which entered the game with just six turnovers all season, gave it away again on the ensuing kickoff when DeVon Edwards fumbled. The Hokies recovered at the Duke 31 and Brewer needed five plays to put the Hokies in the end zone.
Hodges made a nice grab on an underthrown pass for 26 yards on 3rd-and-8 to give Virginia Tech a first down at the Duke 3-yard line. Following a 2-yard loss and a holding penalty, Hodges caught the touchdown pass and the point after gave Virginia Tech the lead with 12:47 remaining.
"I told our team in our meeting that I don't care what the record says, I'm really proud of this football team," said Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer. "And I really meant it because they work hard. We try to get better, we play tough and we don't give up. Today kind of exemplified all of those things and I'm proud of them. We're not a great football team, but we're working hard to become a great football team."
Virginia Tech beat a ranked team on the road for the second time this season, previously surprising Ohio State in a 35-21 decision on Sept. 6 ... The Hokies haven't lost four in a row during a season since dropping their last five games in 1992 ... The Blue Devils had won eight straight home games ... Hodges caught six passes for 57 yards.