That's a common thing on football fields across the country.
Already suffering through a month-long losing streak, Duke's woes sunk further on a cool Saturday night in a heavy rainstorm at Virginia Tech. The game officials saw it and called him for a personal foul. That play tied the game at 10, and if it weren't for three consecutive stops by the Blue Devils and a clutch pick-six by cornerback Bryon Fields in the second half, the sequence could have cost Duke the game.
What was looking so promising for Duke after a 4-0 start now has observers of the program questioning whether it is in danger of returning to the levels it was at before David Cutcliffe arrived 10 years ago.
The complexion of the game changed significantly in the closing stages of the second quarter, allowing Virginia Tech to take a 17-3 lead into intermission soon after it downed a punt at the Duke 2-yard line with 1:07 to play.
"They've all been a little bit different", Cutcliffe said. "We see it all the time, and we can't be that way". You can't be that way. But you can't afford to make those mistakes.
Freshman Marvin Bagley III added 16 points on 6 of 10 shooting and fellow college rookie Gary Trent Jr. bagged 15 points on 6 of 9 shooting for the Blue Devils, who shot 60.6 percent (40-66) from the field.
"I thought that was a big point in the game", Hokies Coach Justiin Fuente said. "When you have an offense putting you in that bad of field position or not staying on the field it's very hard to play that kind of defense".
The Hokies forced a pair of turnovers in limiting Duke (4-5, 1-5) to 183 total yards of offense, much of it coming in the fourth quarter with the outcome well in hand.
Opportunities were limited in the first half of play, but the Blue Devils had the few chances that opened up. The offensive production has fallen off a cliff minus a few flashes here and there, the defense is starting to look worn down after spending so much time on the field due to numerous three-and-outs by the offense and the special teams unit has been spectacularly unimpressive in almost all areas.
In another game, a 17-10 loss to Florida State on October 14, Duke scored one touchdown. "We had been playing good soccer up until this game".
"The biggest thing in general terms was we controlled the line of scrimmage", Hokies coach Justin Fuente said.
Blue Devils wide receiver T.J. Rahming had received the ball on a jet sweep, and as the junior tried to elude multiple defenders, Reynolds dove from behind for the tackle and jarred the ball loose.
That said, Jones spoke confidently about the team reaching an important goal of returning to a bowl game this season.
"We've got a history with Miami", defensive coordinator Bud Foster understated. "We were thinking we had to go and handle business today, and that's exactly what we did, but now on to Miami".
"It's just one game at a time", Latsko said. But this team is talented.
WHO WE LIKE: Duke.
Parker got the kick away under heavy pressure, but the Hokies took over at the Duke 42 with 30 seconds left that they wouldn't have had without Wilson's penalty. Gallo did a great job of handling snaps in the weather, and Josh did a great job taking care of the football, (as did) the guys running with it.
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