DURHAM, N.C. (AP) – Adonis Alexander returned a blocked field goal 75 yards for a touchdown, and No. 23 Virginia Tech held on to beat Duke 24-21 on Saturday and remain in control of the ACC’s Coastal Division race.
Travon McMillian ran 14 yards for a TD and Jerod Evans passed for 192 yards and scored on a 7-yard run, carrying three Duke defenders along for the ride, for the Hokies (7-2, 5-1, No. 19 CFP).
Daniel Jones pulled Duke within three points with his second touchdown run of the game, a 2-yarder with 7:10 to play.
The Blue Devils got the ball back with 5:55 remaining after forcing a three-and-out, but that drive netted just 21 yards before they punted back to the Hokies. Virginia Tech then ran out the final 4:06, with Evans converting the game-sealing third-and-3 with less than 2 minutes to go.
Jones, who finished with 148 yards passing, also scored from 7 yards out late in the third quarter to make it 21-14, before Joey Slye extended the Hokies’ lead to 10 with a 27-yard field goal on the next possession.
Shaun Wilson had a short touchdown run for the Blue Devils (3-6, 0-5). They have lost three straight and are 1-4 since they upset Notre Dame.
Virginia Tech: The path to the Coastal Division title still runs through Blacksburg, thanks to that 34-3 win at North Carolina last month. Nothing came easy after they went up 21-7 in the second quarter, but at least the Hokies handled success better than last time and now they will wrap up their first ACC title game berth since 2011 with home wins against Georgia Tech next week and Virginia on Nov. 26.
Duke: The Blue Devils have to be in win-or-else mode the rest of the way if they want to extend their school-record postseason streak to five years. They could reach a bowl game with a 5-7 record because of their high APR scores – and if there’s a shortage of six-win teams – but at this point, there’s a serious question about whether Duke will make it to the five-win mark.
Virginia Tech: Faces Georgia Tech next Saturday before making a visit to Notre Dame.
Duke: Has a short week to prepare for its fiercest rival, No. 18 North Carolina, on Thursday night.