Lane Stadium shook as Enter Sandman had fans leaping from their seats in anticipation of their Hokies exploding out of the tunnel.
Then, it got quiet for the next four quarters as Duke reminded Virginia Tech that they are not quite yet ready for prime time.
Coach Justin Fuente echoed this reality during the postgame press conference by offering, “Obviously we are not ready, or we’re not at the point where we can complete and play and have a chance to win against that team we played tonight.”
Virginia Tech has a history of turning out for weeknight games, and the crowd drenched Lane Stadium in energy. Environments like this feel as though visitors would wither under the pressure. But, a crowd/team relationship must be synergistic to be effective – the team must feed the crowd with as much energy as they give the team. The Hokies need to figure some things out.
Virginia Tech owned a first quarter saturated in defense. The Blue Devils cracked that code the rest of the game and accumulated points at a frenetic pace. The dagger may have come in the second quarter when a double pass gadget play gave Duke a 21-3 advantage on their way to win 45-10.
The second half saw more Duke offense and a slow trickle of Hokie faithful drain out of Lane. The Blue Devil and Hokie Bird playfully interacted on the sideline, the core of cadets kept hollering for their team, the cheerleaders kept cheering, and the band kept playing. But, Enter Sandman morphed to Exit Sadly.
It turned out to be Virginia Tech’s worst home loss in 45 years, and what’s more surprising is that it came at the hands of a traditional basketball school. Duke coach, David Cutcliffe, waved to the congregation of blue in the stands as he exited the field. Perhaps we will find that this Blue Devil team will have more to cheer for than hoops come November.