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NCAAF: Virginia Tech aims to get back on track vs. Duke

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Two teams that are beyond desperate for success meet when Duke visits Virginia Tech on Saturday in Blacksburg, Va.

A strong start to the season has been slipping away for Virginia Tech (4-5, 2-3 Atlantic Coast Conference).

Now coach Justin Fuente seems comfortable offering the Senior Day factor as a form of motivation.

“We’ve got a large group of really good kids that have been in this program — most of them have been in this program for a long time that deserve to get sent out the right way,” Fuente said.

Virginia Tech will play its home finale. The Hokies are 3-3 at Lane Stadium, with three straight losses on home turf.

Duke (3-6, 0-5) has lost five games in a row, and four of those haven’t been close. The Blue Devils went two consecutive games without scoring in the first half until last week’s 54-29 loss to visiting Pittsburgh.

“I know our spirit will remain good,” said Duke coach David Cutcliffe, whose team is the only ACC club without a league win. “We are going to continue to fight to try to find that consistency in those things that win football games in all three phases. I believe in my heart that we can do that.”

Virginia Tech is fresh off a 17-3 loss Friday night at Boston College, which had been winless in ACC play.

Both teams have health-related concerns at quarterback.

Virginia Tech’s Braxton Burmeister didn’t finish the Boston College game as he left with an injury. Knox Kadum filled in, completing just seven of 16 passes.

Duke has issues to sort out, especially after quarterback Gunnar Holmberg exited with an upper-body injury late in the first half against Pittsburgh. That moved Riley Leonard into the quarterback role.

“It was just a great experience for him,” Cutcliffe said of Leonard’s extended playing time.

Duke running back Mataeo Durant said, “For Riley, it’s just getting more and more experience every game and I feel like he has what it takes.”

Durant became the program’s first 1,000-yard rusher since Chris Douglas in 2003. Durant, who has 1,062 yards on the ground, is the fifth Blue Devil to post 1,000 rushing yards in a season.

This is Duke’s final road game of the season.

–Field Level Media

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