It’s a matchup of teams from the Coastal Division of the ACC down on Tobacco Road in week 5 college football action. The Virginia Tech Hokies look to rebound from a massive upset as they visit the #22 Duke Blue Devils Saturday afternoon. Virginia Tech came up on the wrong side of a 49-35 upset loss at Old Dominion last Saturday. Duke blew away North Carolina Central 55-13 at home in their most recent contest last Saturday. The Hokies lead the all-time series between the teams 16-9 and has won two straight matchups. That includes a 24-3 home win in the last meeting between the teams on October 28, 2017.
Virginia Tech Hokies Hope to Rebound After Shocking Loss
Virginia Tech took a major blow as they were knocked off on the road by an Old Dominion team that was coming off a loss to Charlotte the week before. The Hokies now have to regroup on the road against a Duke team that is unbeaten. Virginia Tech held a 28-21 lead after three quarters before getting outscored 28-7 in the fourth to take the loss. The Hokies were gashed defensively as they lost the total offense battle 632-600 and gave up 30 first downs to their 26. In addition, Virginia Tech committed the game’s only turnover but their inability to do anything defensively cost them. QB Josh Jackson broke his tibia in the fourth quarter of the game and is out indefinitely: surgery was scheduled for Tuesday.
The Hokies enter this contest 50th in the FBS in passing offense with 256.7 yards per game through the air and 21st in rushing offense with 245 yards per contest. Virginia Tech is 31st in scoring offense with 40.3 points per game and are tied for 54th in scoring defense as opposing teams average 23 points per contest. Josh Jackson has completed 36 of 58 passes for 575 yards with five touchdowns against one interception while adding 61 yards plus a score on the ground. Ryan Willis is 13 of 25 for 155 yards plus a score with 37 rushing yards and a score. Deshawn McClease (35 carries, 187 yards, TD), Steven Peoples (39 carries, team high 255 yards, four TD) and Jalen Holston (13 carries, 56 yards) have all had a chance to carry the rock early on. Hezekiah Grimsley is second on the team with 10 receptions for 127 yards. Damon Hazelton (team-high 11 catches, team-high 283 yards, three TD) and Eric Kumah (nine grabs, 144 yards, TD) are solid targets. Brian Johnson has hit all 14 extra points and all three field goal attempts with a long of 45. Jordan Stout has booted both extra points without attempting a field goal this season.
Duke Blue Devils Shoot to Remain Unbeaten
Duke managed to remain unbeaten as they took down North Carolina Central at home to close out their non-conference schedule. The Blue Devils led 20-0 less than nine minutes into the game and then scored the game’s final 35 points after the Eagles cut the deficit to 20-13 in the second quarter. Duke rolled up a commanding 628-187 advantage in total offense and had a massive 32-8 edge in first downs. The Blue Devils won the time of possession battle by a 32:11 to 27:49 margin in the contest and committed the game’s lone turnover. That Duke turnover, a fumble, was turned into a scoop six by North Carolina Central.
The Blue Devils are 88th in the FBS in passing offense with 207.8 yards per game through the air and 32nd in rushing as they put up 219.5 yards per contest. Duke stands 38th in the FBS in scoring offense with 37.5 points per game and is tied for 16th in scoring defense by allowing an average of 15.2 points per contest. Daniel Jones is 29 of 39 passing for 389 yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions while adding 40 yards plus a score on the ground. Quentin Harris (29 of 59, 388 yards, six TD, 141 rushing yards, TD) and Chris Katrenick (five of 12, 54 yards, TD) are next on the depth chart. Brittain Brown (50 carries, 282 yards, two TD) is sharing the load with Deon Jackson (44 carries, 223 yards, three TD) on the ground. T.J. Rahming (17 catches, 158 yards, three TD) is Duke’s leading receiver while Aaron Young (four catches, 114 yards, TD) and Johnathan Lloyd (13 catches, team-high 243 yards, three TD) are secondary targets. Collin Wareham has hit 18 of 20 extra point attempts and four of four field goal attempts with a long of 35 this season.
- Blue Devils are 1-4-1 ATS in their last 6 games following an ATS loss
- Hokies are 6-1 ATS in their last 7 games after allowing more than 40 points in their previous game
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
Virginia Tech isn’t likely to have another disappointing showing where they get torched defensively like they did by the Monarchs. Like Old Dominion, it’s a backup QB that is in action for Duke here but the fact remains that Harris has seen his accuracy issues continue. The Hokies are going to have to move the ball through the air against a Duke defense that has limited the opposition to a 50 percent completion rate so far this year. If they can do that, the run game should have some success. In the end, Justin Fuente will have his team ready to go and the Hokies bounce back. Take the points and the visitors here.
Prediction: Virginia Tech Hokies +5.5
Full-Game Total Pick
Virginia Tech has to show that they can bounce back from their disappointing showing last week against Old Dominion. The fact that the Hokies were gashed for 632 yards and 49 points by a subpar team like the Monarchs is concerning. The Hokies also have to make up for the dismissal of DE Trevon Hill, who had 11 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks on the season. Duke is getting by without Jones for the time being but can they hang in with Harris hitting less than 50 percent of his throws?
The under is 4-0 in the Hokies’ last 4 games after allowing more than 280 yards passing in their previous game, 7-1 in their last 8 vs. a team with a winning record and 5-1 in their last 6 games after accumulating more than 200 yards rushing in their previous game. Duke has seen the under 4-0 in their last 4 home games vs. a team with a winning road record, 7-1 in their last 8 conference games and 13-3 in their last 16 games after allowing less than 170 yards passing in their previous game. This one should stay under the total as it’s hard to envision Virginia Tech having a complete meltdown again.
Prediction: Under 50
Full-Game Prop Bet
Virginia Tech had 600 yards of offense last week and 35 points. While they still lost the game by two touchdowns, the fact remains that even after Jackson left with his injury, the Hokies were able to move the ball. Given the fact that Duke hasn’t really played an overly competent offense this season (Army, Northwestern, Baylor and North Carolina Central), this will be a test for the Blue Devils’ defense. Harris has to be able to avoid turnovers to keep from setting Virginia Tech up in plus territory. The Hokies still have enough weapons to put points on the board, even without Jackson. Look for them to go over the number here.
Prediction: Virginia Tech Hokies Over 22.5 -115
Half-Time Side Pick
The battle of the backup QBs is likely going to be a tight game. Virginia Tech’s defense has to be embarrassed after the way they were lit up last week by an Old Dominion team that was coming off a loss to Charlotte. The Hokies will seek to avenge that poor showing and that means delivering big hits and big plays that turn things in their favor. Duke has gone 4-0 even without Jones under center but Harris hasn’t faced a defense like the Hokies yet. Virginia Tech should battle and be close enough that the field goal line at least gives them a tie at the half. Take the points and the Hokies.
Prediction: Virginia Tech Hokies +3
Half-Time Total Bet
It’s unclear as to what we should expect offensively from these two teams here. Harris was inaccurate when he came to Duke and the past couple years have done little to make him a more accurate passer. He has six touchdown passes but is completing only 49.2 percent of his throws while averaging 6.6 yards per attempt. He’s also dealing with a leg injury, which could impede his scrambling ability. Virginia Tech has to rely on Willis, who has hit just 52 percent of his throws in limited action this season. This one might ride on the defenses, which helps keep this one under the number at the half.
Prediction: Under 24.5 -110