BLACKSBURG, Va. — The No. 14 Virginia Tech Hokies dished out plenty ofbruises while shutting out the Duke Blue Devils 36-0 in the ACC game atLane Stadium on Saturday.
The Hokies (3-0, 2-0) have outscored Duke 122-17, and shut them out thepast two seasons, in their three ACC meetings.
The Hokies beat down on the Devils by dominating the airspace aboveWorsham Field with 316 passing yards and pressuring Duke quarterbacksThaddeus Lewis and Marcus Jones to the tune of eight sacks.
The Hokies also sent Lewis, a true freshman making his secondcollegiate start, out of the game.
With 9:52 left in the second quarter, Virginia Tech safety Aaron Rousewrapped Lewis up with a late, helmet-to-helmet hit that caught Lewisunder the chin. Lewis suffered a concussion and did not return.
Duke (0-3, 0-2) again played solid run defense, holding Virginia Techto 102 rushing yards. Also cornerback John Talley hauled in his firstinterception of the year, preventing a touchdown on Virginia Tech’ssecond drive.
But Hokies quarterback Sean Glennon countered by throwing for 301 yardson 15-for-25 passing with two touchdowns and an interception.
Asked after the game what hurt most, Jones, Duke’s backup quarterback,said, “[Our] pride.”
Virginia Tech came out hard and physical and shook Lewis up on Duke’sfirst play from scrimmage. Trying to keep the ball on what looked likea botched handoff, Lewis was tackled by two Hokies and had his headtwisted around in the pileup.
Lewis left the field and Jones replaced him for two plays. Lewis cameback in but didn’t show the accuracy he had while throwing 305 yardsagainst Wake Forest last week.
The Hokies appeared to be subletting space in the Blue Devilsbackfield, chasing first Lewis, then Jones, at will. The Hokies alsogot into Lewis’ head early when they were twice called for roughingthe passer in the first quarter.
That was the backstory when, with 9:52 left in the half, Lewis steppedaway from some pressure, up into the pocket, and tossed a quick pass toDuke tight end Nick Stefanow.
Rouse was a couple of steps away when Lewis’ released the ball butdidn’t stop. He caught Lewis going full speed with a late,helmet-to-helmet hit. Rouse was called for his secondroughing-the-passer penalty of the game.
After several minutes lying on the field, Lewis left under his ownpower. He did not return to the game though he was on the Dukesideline, dressed in street clothes, after the game.
Rouse offered an apology to Lewis through Duke coach Ted Roofafterwards.
“When the game was over and I went over there to express my feelingsfor his player and let him know it wasn’t intentionally and I was justout there playing,” Rouse said. “And I spoke to Coach [Frank] Beamerafter the game and I said the same thing to him.”
Rouse also said he didn’t feel like he had done anything wrong. He saidhe felt he was called for the penalty because the hit was “soferocious.”
“You have to play within the rules of the game, but at the same timeyou can’t be confined by the rules,” Rouse said. “So with that beingsaid I really hope that player is OK. And fortunately the call didn’tgo my way.”
Asked if he would ask the ACC to review Rouse’s hit on Lewis, Roof saidno. That wasn’t the reason why Duke lost.
“I don’t want to go there,” the Duke coach said. “I just want to goback to work. We’ve got to find a way to protect [the quarterback]better.”
Did Jones think the Hokies were playing dirty?
“I wouldn’t say dirty, they were playing hard,” said Jones, who wasscheduled to take snaps at wide receiver before Lewis’ injury. “We haveto fight back.”
The Devils’ couldn’t move the ball while gaining just 139 total yardsbut the Duke defense had its own big problem in this one.Even when the Devils had the Hokies on the run, the Hokies made plays.That happened on Glennon’s 60-yard toss on the first play of the game.Duke defensive end Casey Camero chased Glennon one way, just missedhim, then chased him the other before Glennon got the pass off.
With 39 seconds left in the first quarter, Hokie punt returner EddieRoyal took a kick in the first quarter and saw that he was shut downgoing to the left side. Royal reversed field and beat the Duke coveragedown the right side for a 58-yard return touchdown.
“We were almost there and we’ve got them wrapped up and we’ve got themin our reach, and we don’t make the play,” Duke linebacker MichaelTauiliili said. “Those are the things that determine a game. Any timeyou have an opportunity, you’ve got to take it and seize the moment. Ifyou let opportunities like that slip, sooner or later it’s going topass you by.”
GOING DEEP WITH DUKE
The N&O is taking a different approach to covering Duke football in2006. Read weekly theme stories about a beleaguered program working toevolve and improve. Dip into ACC Now blog updates during the week andpre- and post-game analysis and stories on the weekend.
WEEK 3: Virginia Tech 36, Duke 0
Duke’s 36-0 loss to No. 14 Virginia Tech started badly when Hokiereceiver David Clowney hauled in a 60-yard reception on the first playof the ACC game at Lane Stadium. Then it got worse when Duke startingquarterback Thaddeus Lewis was forced out of the game with aconcussion.
Asked what hurt most after the Hokies sacked Lewis and replacementMarcus Jones eight times, Jones said, “Our pride.”
Hokie quarterback Sean Glennon was well on his way to ripping throughthe Duke secondary for 301 yards and two touchdowns when Virginia Tech(3-0, 2-0 ACC) led 13-0 in the first quarter.
With 9:52 left in the second quarter, Lewis threw a quick pass to tightend Nick Stefanow. Then Virginia Tech safety Aaron Rouse, who was twosteps away when Lewis released the ball, did not stop and laid down alate, helmet-to-helmet hit that caught Lewis under the chin.
It was Rouse’s second roughing the passer call in the game. Duke coachTed Roof said Rouse apologized after the game and that Lewis would befine.
Lewis was walking on the Duke sideline in street clothes at game’s end.Jones replaced Lewis but the Devils still couldn’t move the ball andgained just 139 yards total.
Duke (0-3, 0-2) has a bye on Sept. 23. The Devils host Virginia onSept. 30.
Eight punts, no blocks: The Hokies, who had blocked two punts in theirfirst two games, kept trying to score the big play. Duke punter AlexFeinberg held fast and got off all of his punts. Feinberg averaged 42.1yards per punt and put one down inside the Hokies’ 20.
Shutting down airspace: Duke corner John Talley intercepted a possibletouchdown in the second quarter but Duke’s secondary gave up 316 yardstotal. Clowney beat Deonto McCormick for 60 yards and Talley missed atackle that turned into a 41-yard gain for Eddie Royal. Both led totouchdowns. The Devils pressured Glennon often but Glennon hung in andhis receivers tacked on plenty of yardage after the catch.
Healthy quarterback: The Hokies weren’t playing patty-cake out there.Lewis was shaken up on the first play of the game and saw threeroughing the passer penalties called on the Hokies before he wasknocked out for good.
Duke coach Ted Roof on Rouse’s hit on Lewis — “ It’s an unfortunatepart of the game. It was a shame that he got knocked out, but sometimesthat happens in football. ... That’s not why we lost the footballgame.”
Roof on whether he would press the issue with the ACC — “I don’t wantto go there. I just want to go back to work. We’ve got to find a wayto protect him better.”
Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer on Rouse’s hit — “I hate that, youknow ... And Aaron, I don’t think he meant to do that. ... He’sapologetic. It’s one of those things, if you’re going to take twosteps, you’ve got to pull off. ... They’ve got a couple of athleticquarterbacks there [at Duke] and they’re doing the right things.”
BIRDS’ EYE VIEW
Virginia Tech safety Aaron Rouse on his hit on Lewis —“I felt like hewas going to run the ball. He started running toward me and I rantoward him and he just let it go. Once I was committed it was tough topull off.”
Duke quarterback Marcus Jones on how physical the game was — “They area fast team. I’m lucky to come out in one piece. ... The roughing ofthe passer, the late hits, they were coming for us. ... I knew theywould be coming for me too. So I was ready to go. ”
WEEK 3 GOAL IN REVIEW
The Devils held the Hokies to 102 yards rushing but failed to move theball themselves. The Hokies were the second team to shut out Duke thisseason. It’s the first time since 1990 Duke has been shut out twice ina season.
Progress? The backwards kind.