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Virginia Tech stays atop the ACC Coastal with 24-21 win over Duke

Jerod Evans powers through Duke defenders for a 7-yard touchdown. (Photo by Lance King/Getty Images)

Jerod Evans powers through Duke defenders for a 7-yard touchdown. (Photo by Lance King/Getty Images)

DURHAM, N.C. (Hokies Sports)- Virginia Tech quarterback Jerod Evans accounted for 275 yards, Tech’s defense got just enough stops, and the Hokies’ offense held the ball for the final 4:06 of the game in lifting the No. 23 Hokies to a hard-fought 24-21 victory over Duke at Wallace Wade Stadium on Saturday.

The win moved Tech to 7-2 overall, 5-1 in the ACC and kept the Hokies tied with North Carolina atop the Coastal Division. Tech holds the tiebreaker over the Tar Heels by virtue of its victory over North Carolina earlier this season.

The Hokies weren’t the offensive juggernaut that they were the past two games, finishing with 399 yards. Defensively, they allowed 227 yards rushing. But they cobbled enough plays together to hold off s stubborn Duke team.

“I think the elite teams and the good teams, where we want to be, those teams find a way to win, no matter when it’s ugly, or how ugly it looks,” Tech receiver Isaiah Ford said. “When adversity hits, they find a way to win, and that’s what we did tonight.”

The Hokies – who have won seven straight in Durham going back to 1982 – led 21-7 at halftime, thanks to touchdown runs by Evans and Travon McMillian and a blocked field goal returned for a touchdown by Adonis Alexander. But the Blue Devils cut the lead to 24-21 on a 2-yard touchdown run by quarterback Daniel Jones with 7:10 left.

Tech went three-and-out on the ensuing possession, but the Hokies’ defense forced a Duke punt, giving them the ball with 4:06 left. Tech never gave up the ball, converting twice on third down to drain the clock for the win.

“I’m proud of our kids and the way they finished the ball game,” Tech coach Justin Fuente said. “We knew it was going to be tough coming in here. Duke is much better than their record. They’re very well coached, and they play hard. I’m awfully happy to find a way to win the game. We knew it was going to be hard from the start. We faced some adversity and responded.”

Evans completed 15 of 27 for 192 yards and he also rushed for 83 yards and a touchdown. McMillian rushed for 72 yards, as Tech finished with 207 yards rushing.