Willis leads Virginia Tech to 31-14 upset of No. 22 Duke
Ryan Willis threw for 332 yards and a career-best three touchdowns in his first start at Virginia Tech, helping the Hokies upset No. 22 Duke 31-14 on Saturday night.
Willis, a transfer from Kansas taking over for injured starter Josh Jackson, was 17 of 27 with a 27-yard TD pass to Damon Hazelton, a 67-yard catch-and-run score to Dalton Keene and a game-sealing 10-yarder to Phil Patterson.
Humiliated in a 14-point loss at Old Dominion last week, the Hokies (2-2, 2-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) bounced back strong, leading virtually all night to earn another lopsided road victory against a ranked league opponent. They routed then-No. 19 Florida State 24-3 in the opener.
Daniel Jones - back in the starting lineup three weeks after breaking his collar bone - was 23 of 35 for 226 yards with a 23-yard touchdown pass to Noah Gray and an interception for the Blue Devils (4-1, 0-1), and Deon Jackson had a short touchdown run that cut the deficit to 24-14 early in the fourth quarter.
Ranked for the first time since 2015, they were denied their first 5-0 start since 1994 and instead saw the end of a seven-game winning streak that dated to last season.
Steven Peoples had a 6-yard touchdown run and Brian Johnson kicked a 28-yard field goal for the Hokies.
Virginia Tech: These Hokies looked nothing like the crew that gave up seven touchdowns and 631 total yards - the worst in a quarter-century with defensive coordinator Bud Foster - at Old Dominion. This time, they held Duke to almost half of that (327). When they had the ball, Willis didn't look much like a backup - instead teaming with his receivers to make Duke's young secondary look, well, young.
Duke: The Blue Devils won't like these parallels, easy as they are to draw. For the second straight year, a 4-0 start was wiped out by a no-show loss at home in the league opener against a high-profile Coastal Division opponent; Miami had that honor in 2017, routing Duke 31-6 a year to the day before this one. Now the challenge is to prevent a repeat of what followed that one: A six-game losing streak that put bowl eligibility in peril.
Virginia Tech: Plays host to No. 8 Notre Dame next Saturday.
Duke: Has next weekend off to regroup and prepare for Georgia Tech on Oct. 13.