Duke-Virginia Tech: Blue Devils Offense Will Struggle Against Hokies

Mike KlineAnalyst IOctober 21, 2010

Virginia Tech quarterback Tyrod Taylor will look to play some simple pitch and catch against Duke on Saturday.
Virginia Tech quarterback Tyrod Taylor will look to play some simple pitch and catch against Duke on Saturday.Elsa/Getty Images

For a team on a five-game losing streak, a trip to Virginia Tech's Lane Stadium is not the cure for what ails you.

Despite a seemingly meteoric improvement in football, Duke's 2010 season has shown the growing pains of rebuilding a program from the ground up.

Faced with the likelihood of falling to 1-6 and 0-4 ACC, the Blue Devils have no choice but to grin and bare it and try to get better.

Knowing coach David Cutcliffe doesn't like moral victories, Duke is sure to play the Hokies hard but will it be enough to pull off the upset?

Not likely.

Bud Foster, the Hokies' vaunted defensive coordinator, has to be salivating after seeing the Blue Devils' seven-turnover performance last week against Miami. With a quarterback that clearly looks rattled, expect Frank Beamer to have Foster dial up the pressure on Duke quarterback Sean Renfree.

Renfree accounted for six of Duke's seven turnovers, throwing five interceptions and fumbling once. Miami essentially was able to win what may have been an otherwise close game thanks to those mistakes.

Virginia Tech won't be so kind as they have the offensive fire power and the defensive acumen to pound Duke into submission early.

There is no doubt the Blue Devils will put forth the effort, but seeing how they are struggling with youth and inexperienced a trip to Blacksburg isn't likely to improve the mood or the record for Duke.


Duke's Keys to the Game

Duke cannot turn the ball over. Even one turnover could seal the deal for the Hokies. Renfree has to summon up the player who was one of the most efficient passer in the nation during the first two weeks.

The Blue Devils have to find a way to score points. After averaging more than 40 points per game in the first two games, Duke hasn't scored more than 21 points in there last four.

The defense has been better but can they deal with a Hokies offense that seems to be hitting its stride of late?


Virginia Tech's Keys to the Game

Pressure Duke until they make a mistake and then take advantage is the name of the game for the Hokies.

There is talent on the Blue Devils, but they are no match for Virginia Tech right now. Unless Tyrod Taylor throws a few picks and Duke can find a way to bottle up the Hokies' running game, expect an easy day for Virginia Tech.


Prediction: Virginia Tech 42, Duke 12

Duke's defense is getting better, but the offense has hit a wall. The Blue Devils need to score points and they aren't likely to start doing so against a Bud Foster-coached defense with superior athletes.

A close game like the one played just a couple seasons ago in Lane Stadium isn't beyond the realm of possibility, but it isn't likely this season. Hokies win this one with ease.