Hokies hold off Blue Devils|Lewis has solid day in loss for Duke

Published 9:24 pm Sunday, October 4, 2009

By By JOEDY McCREARY, AP Sports Writer
DURHAM — Tyrod Taylor threw two long touchdown passes and sixth-ranked Virginia Tech dodged a letdown and beat Duke 34-26 on Saturday.
Taylor was 17 of 22 for a career-high 327 yards with TD tosses of 36 yards to Danny Coale and 28 yards to Jarrett Boykin. Josh Oglesby had two late touchdown runs for Virginia Tech (4-1, 2-0 Atlantic Coast Conference).
Playing one week after dominating then-No. 9 Miami, the Hokies were nowhere near that sharp this time — but they were good enough to claim their ninth straight victory over the Blue Devils.
Thaddeus Lewis was 22 for 40 for 359 yards with two touchdown passes, including a 4-yarder to Austin Kelly with 25 seconds left.
Will Snyderline kicked four field goals for pesky Duke (2-3, 0-1), including a 43-yarder that pulled the Blue Devils to 27-19 with 7 minutes left.
The Blue Devils, 17-point underdogs, kept this one tight throughout but were denied their first win over a top-10 opponent in two decades.
Before last year’s 14-3 loss in Blacksburg, Duke hadn’t come within 24 points of the Hokies since they joined the ACC in 2004.
Tech spent much of this one looking ripe for an upset after routing the Hurricanes 31-7 last week to vault back into the top 10. One sign of the Hokies’ sloppiness: By halftime, they had matched their season highs with seven penalties for 55 yards, and finished with 12 flags for 105 yards.
Ryan Williams, the nation’s sixth-leading rusher, was held to 83 yards on the ground — 40 fewer than his average. But he had 41 yards and a pair of third-down conversions during the drive that ended when Oglesby’s 12-yard touchdown run made it 27-16 with 9 1/2 minutes remaining. Oglesby added a 19-yard score that made it 34-19 with 2 1/2 minutes left.
Meanwhile, a week after Taylor took care of the Hurricanes with his legs, he used his arm to beat the Blue Devils. He led the Hokies to 17 points in a 9-minute stretch of the first half and making just enough plays down the stretch to preserve their early lead.
He directed three straight scoring drives to help the Hokies rally from an early 7-0 deficit, countering Duke’s first touchdown pass with his touchdown to Coale. Then, one series after Matt Waldron’s 40-yard field goal put Tech ahead to stay, Taylor put the Hokies up 17-7 with his scoring pass to Boykin — who wrestled Duke’s Leon Wright for the ball and came down with it near the side of the end zone.
Later, Taylor connected with Boykin for 64 yards on third-and-34 to keep alive a drive that ended with a 33-yard field goal by Waldron that put Tech up 20-13, and surpassed his previous best of 287 yards set two years ago in his first college start against Ohio.
Duke’s only lead came late in the first quarter when Lewis faked a handoff and hit a wide-open King in stride down the left side for a 48-yard score. Snyderwine added field goals of 29, 25 and 47 yards for Duke.