Longtime ACC football fans cherish conference rivalry games like Miami vs. Florida State because they attract national attention for the entire week leading up to the kickoff, but those same individuals better not sleep on the Virginia Tech-Duke matchup. The last four games in the series have been decided by three points or less, with the road team winning each encounter.
“It’s going to be a tough, hard-fought football game and we’ll need to have a great week of practice to prepare,” Fuente said to Roanoke Times reporter Andy Bitter.
Fuente was on the brink of losing his first meeting against the Blue Devils as VT coach last season, but his special teams came through with a go-ahead 75-yard touchdown score after a blocked field goal attempt that gave the Hokies a tightly-contested 24-21 road win. More importantly, the victory gave Virginia Tech a firm hold of the ACC Coastal Division.
This year, Duke has been woefully inconsistent offensively, as the lack of a consistent passing game has largely contributed to the team’s current four game conference losing streak. The Blue Devils defense is an active unit that creates chaos in the opponent’s backfield. They’re fourth in the ACC (334.4 yards) in total yards given up by a defense, and lead the conference in tackles (66) for loss this season. Fuente understands the challenge ahead for his offense this weekend.
“They’ve continued to improve athletically through recruiting,” Fuente said of Duke’s defense, “They do some great things schematically. They’re able to play some man coverage and get down and play tight coverage and competitive coverage. I think they’ve gradually improved in terms of athleticism. I’m not exactly positive how they’ve evolved schematically, but they’re a fine unit.”
Duke (4-4, 1-4 in the ACC) travels to Virginia Tech (6-1, 2-1 in the ACC) on October 28, with kickoff scheduled for 7:20 p.m. ET.
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