Team Grades for Duke’s 45-43 Win Over Virginia Tech


What a crazy, mind-bending game. I definitely did not forsee a combined 88 points being scored in this game despite the 4 overtimes. For the first time all year the Duke defense was not all-world. In fact, they struggled with a Virginia Tech offense that has been underwhelming the entire year despite the return of QB Michael Brewer. Finally, it was QB Thomas Sirk and the offense that picked up the slack left from the defense. This win put Duke at 3-0 in the ACC and tied for first place in the Coastal division. Let’s give out some grades. 

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Offense – B+

While the offense receives an overall grade of a B+, Thomas Sirk deserves an A. He was the Duke offense as while he only completed 19 of his 39 passes for 270 yards, he threw 4, count em, 4 touchdowns with 0 interceptions. He also ran the ball 18 times for 109 yards. Sirk willed the team to victory in the overtime.

Shaun Wilson had a massive 58 yard TD run in the 3rd quarter that gave Duke a 21-10 lead. That was all the running game could muster aside from Sirk. Max McCaffrey, Anthony Nash and Erich Schneider, for a second straight game, all caught touchdown passes. Sirk usually spreads the ball around to everyone in the offense but only 5 players caught a pass this game.

Defense – D+

The first time really the entire year where the defense looked human. Not only did they look human but if Duke would have lost the game they would have taken the brunt of the blame. Virginia Tech racked up a whooping 452 total yards with 270 through the air and 182 on the ground. The run defense was better than the pass defense but the entire unit as a whole just could not get off the field as Virginia Tech had the ball 13 more minutes.

Michael Brewer aired it out all afternoon were he was largely unafraid of the vaunted Duke secondary. The biggest area of concern for the defense was that they could not hold an eleven point lead in the second half. Great defenses hold onto leads. It is only one game but maybe the Duke defense came in a little overrated. This was the first time all year where they faced off against a QB that has the potential to light up the scoreboard through the air. Something to watch for the next few weeks.

Special Teams – B

K Ross Martin was not his usual perfect self as he missed two field goals, one from 29 yards and one from 46 yards. But he made the kicks that really counted in the overtime and that cannot be ignored. Martin will not miss many kicks so hopefully he got his misses out-of-the-way in this game. Will Monday was solid once again.

One of these weeks the offense and the defense will both put together performances they are capable of against a quality opponent. It does not get any easier this week when Duke hosts the University of Miami this Saturday on Halloween. This will be Miami’s first game since firing head coach Al Golden. Keep it here for all your Duke news!