Hokies bounce back, dominate unbeaten Duke 31-14

DURHAM, N.C. (HokieSports.com) –  Making his first start as a Hokie, quarterback Ryan Willis threw for 332 yards and three touchdowns to lead Virginia Tech to a 31-14 bounce-back victory over No. 22 Duke in an ACC game played Saturday night at Wallace Wade Stadium.

Ryan Willis. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

With the win, the Hokies moved to 3-1 on the season, 2-0 in ACC play, and snapped Duke’s seven-game winning streak. The Blue Devils fell to 4-1 overall, 0-1 in the ACC.

Playing in place of injured starter Josh Jackson, Willis looked like a veteran, throwing the ball accurately and making good decisions, as the Hokies rebounded from a loss to ODU last Saturday. He completed 17 of 27 in the game.

Willis, who transferred from Kansas in 2017, made a beautiful throw over Damon Hazleton’s outside shoulder for a 27-yard touchdown pass on the first play of the second quarter to give the Hokies a 10-7 lead, and Tech never trailed again. The Hokies padded their score on their next possession when tight end Dalton Keene hauled in a short pass from Willis and broke several tackles en route to a 67-yard touchdown. Those two scores in a three-minute span enabled the Hokies to take control of the game.

Duke cut the lead to 24-14 on a 1-yard run by Deon Jackson with 13:47 left in the game, but Willis and the Hokies answered. A 75-yard drive ended with a 10-yard touchdown pass from Willis to Phil Jackson.

Tech finished with 413 yards of offense. The Hokies’ defense held Duke to 327 yards and sacked Duke’s Daniel Jones three times.