BLACKSBURG – Virginia Tech tailbackTravon McMillian rushed for a career-high 142 yards, but it wasn’t enough as the Hokies came up on the losing end of a 45-43 four-overtime affair with the No. 23 Duke Blue Devils on Saturday afternoon at Lane Stadium.
Duke quarterback Thomas Sirk threw a 25-yard touchdown pass to Erich Schneider in the fourth overtime and then ran in the two-point conversion to give the wild win in the first four-overtime game in ACC history.
With the loss, Tech fell to 3-5 overall, 1-3 in the ACC. Duke moved to 6-1 overall, 3-0 in league play.
“It’s tough,” Tech quarterback Michael Brewer said. “I don’t know that I’ve been part of a more heartbreaking loss than this. Coming back from injury, just talking to the team all week, telling the offense how well we’re going to play, then to come out and play well on offense … and we played well on offense. We had 400-some yards against the No. 4 defense in the country. That’s something to take into next week.
“Then defensively, special teams, we’ve just got to find a way to rally. At this point, we’re playing for a bowl game. Obviously, we want to go to the best bowl game we can, but to do that, we’ve got to win.”
The Hokies had taken a 43-37 lead on a 1-yard touchdown run by McMillian to start the fourth overtime. Tech went for two points, as required by NCAA rules, but quarterback Michael Brewer’s pass attempt to Isaiah Ford was broken up by a Duke defender.
“I was trying to get a clean window to throw it,” Brewer said. “Rolling out, all the bodies were coming. I don’t know. I think the guy made a heckuva play knocking it away.”
Duke immediately went to work. On the Blue Devils’ first play, Sirk lofted a strike to Schneider, who scored, and then he ran in the two-point conversion for the win.
“Being young in the secondary … they did a nice job,” Tech coach Frank Beamer said. “They’ve got those good, tall receivers twisting there a little bit. They did a nice job. The kid [Thomas Sirk] threw the ball well, and the guy [Erich Schneider] had good height and caught it.”
Tech lost despite out-gaining Duke 452-449. Led by McMillian, the Hokies rushed for 182 yards. McMillian carried the ball a career-high 29 times and scored twice.
Tech trailed 24-16 after Duke’s Ross Martin hit a 41-yard field goal with 11:48 left in regulation. But the Hokies managed to tie the game by going 83 yards in 12 plays. The drive ended when Brewer threw a 23-yard touchdown pass to tight end Bucky Hodges with 2:07 remaining. McMillian’s run – after two Duke pass interference penalties – gave the Hokies the two points they needed to tie the game.
Brewer completed 24 of 45 for 270 yards, with three touchdowns. He threw touchdown passes of 16, 23 and 11 yards to Hodges, who finished with five catches for 101 yards. It marked the first 100-yard receiving game of Hodges’ career.
Sirk paced Duke’s attack, throwing for 270 yards and four touchdowns. He also rushed for 109 yards on 18 carries.
Tech continues ACC play next week when it travels to Boston College. Kickoff is slated for noon.
(Courtesy Virginia Tech Athletics)