I wish I could make fun of you, Virginia Tech. I really do. Becoming the first ranked team to lose to Duke in a home game since 1971 can’t be one of Blacksburg's proudest moments. Whenever you have to justify a loss with the words, “Hey, that was a really good Duke team,” you know you've done something horribly wrong.
Come on, you even allowed the Blue Devils to become bowl eligible. It’s only week 10. When every ACC team sits down and compiles its goals for the year, there should be a small spot saved for the end that says, “We promise to do everything in our power to prevent Duke football from achieving bowl eligibility.” Slackers.
But I can’t enjoy it too much, because Boston College has been there too. We can relate to any and all irrational Duke hatred. Poor Nate Freese, now a legitimate Lou Groza and Ray Guy award candidate, was lined up on the left hash for an easy 23-yard field goal against Duke with less than a minute left two years ago. The Eagles were trailing 20-19. Freese could’ve had an easy chip in from the middle of the field, but B.C. didn’t bother lining him up.
"He's got to make it -- middle, schmiddle," said then head coach Frank Spaziani.
But he didn’t, and B.C. lost to a much worse Duke team than the one that defeated the Hokies on Saturday. The team that beat B.C. only won two other games that season, and they were against Tulane and FIU. Spaziani was fired a year later.
That story has to cheer you up at least a little, right? Hokie fans can spend all week imagining how their team will come to Chestnut Hill this week and run train over the Eagles for four quarters. I'm not saying that can't happen. The spectrum of disappointment seen at Alumni Stadium the past few years knows little bound.
So see this an easy chance to regroup if you want, Virginia Tech, but I feel obligated to give fair warning that Andre Williams is coming for you. You didn’t see the look in his eyes after B.C.'s 34-10 loss to North Carolina last week. After fumbling his first snap, he let that frustration loose on the Tar Heels for a punishing 172 yards on 26 carries, passing the 1,000-yard mark for the season.
"It's the first time this happened since the season started," Williams said of the fumble. "A fumble on the exchange is not characteristic of me and that's probably the moment I’m going to remember most from the game."
The nation's fifth-best runner in terms of yards per game will come out on Saturday with unfinished business, still trying to make up for that dropped ball with bulldozing trucks and stiff arms. His offensive line can be just as nasty in the ground game, rejuvenated under new head coach Steve Addazio.
Yes, the Hokies have the country's fifth-best rush defense, and stacking the box has been a fairly effective way of keeping B.C. points off the board with the passing game in a state of flux. It's unlikely the Eagles will be able to power their way to victory through the running game alone. Depth on both sides of the ball, already slim heading into the season, is fading quickly. B.C. is going to need a little luck and some surprisingly good individual performances to pull off an upset.
No matter what happens, though, let’s agree on one thing, Virginia Tech. Even thought they just beat you, it’d still be much worse to be the Blue Devils, wouldn’t it?
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