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Duke Football Showed A Lot Of Heart At Virginia Tech

This team has developed real spine.

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Oct 24, 2015; Blacksburg, VA, USA; Duke Blue Devils linebacker Zavier Carmichael (24) and Blue Devils offensive tackle Christian Harris (70) celebrate while leaving the field after their game against the Virginia Tech Hokies at Lane Stadium.
Oct 24, 2015; Blacksburg, VA, USA; Duke Blue Devils linebacker Zavier Carmichael (24) and Blue Devils offensive tackle Christian Harris (70) celebrate while leaving the field after their game against the Virginia Tech Hokies at Lane Stadium.
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Over the first half of the 2015 Duke Football season I’ve contributed articles about the change in Duke Football under David Cutcliffe and company the last month plus, and what I am finding is that with each passing weekend, they’ve proven what I already thought about them … and then some.

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There are many aspects to this turn around that people just glaze over in the "Duke Football is competitive now" or "You guys have a great coach @ Duke now." statements I hear from general college Football fans I speak with – some of which could not have been more evident in Saturday’s thriller in Blacksburg.

Put aside we led the game from the first drive until 2 minutes left in the 4th quarter.

Put aside the offense came to life from the opening drive and won a game for us against a Power 5 opponent that the D seemed to have trouble finding their footing against.

Put aside that is 12 wins in our last 13 road games.

Put aside that is two straight wins in one of the toughest places to play in the ACC – both in very close contests.

What kind of blew me away, and it might sound "hokey" (nice use of words play there), was our teams utter and undying resilience. Think about what took place from when Virginia Tech scored that touchdown late in the 4th quarter until Thomas Sirk bulled into the end zone for the winning 2 point conversion. We gave up a lead late, to include a 2 point conversion to tie the score, on the road in a very hostile environment followed by our almost always reliable kicker missing a game winner with a minute left to play.

The definition of deflation as it relates to momentum in college football – on the road – if we were the equator mother momentum was sitting in Virginia Tech’s Antarctica and the temps were getting freezer kind of cold.

What did we see from Duke Football at that point in time? ABSOLUTE resolve.

OT #1: We got the ball first … scored a FG … anyone that knows anything about College Football knows that is not ideal in OT. All the pressure shifts to the D at that point to come up with the same outcome or better … again all momentum having shifted … and our D held them to a field goal.

ABSOLUTE resolve.

OOT #2: Virginia Tech gets the ball and puts one in the end zone … anyone that knows anything about college football knows that is not ideal in OT. All the pressure immediately shifts to our offense at that point to come up with that same outcome (there really is no better outcome) … again all momentum still being on VT’s side in a hostile environment … and our O countered their right cross with a left upper cut.

ABSOLUTE resolve.

OT #3: Same song different dance. We throw up 3 on O and the D holds them to 3 again!

ABSOLUTE resolve.

OT #4: Then, when our team / fans / and the entirety of Duke nation is thinking a 4th OT in Lane Stadium with our team ranked 23 in the country!?! Are we really going to pull this out!? Our D yet again lets them into the end zone first. Momentum has not been with us since VT scored with 2 minutes left in the 4th but yet we find ourselves here.

What do we do in spite of all that? Our D stops VT on the 2 point conversion. A break, a crack, a window, or whatever term you prefer to use to describe what happened here but I personally sensed the entire Duke Football TEAM thought and felt right there at that moment … a TD and a 2 point conversion wins it.

Let’s go win it.

It CANNOT be understated here what Scottie Montgomery called and what his players executed … first down in OT #4 with the game on the line and we run a called fake WR screen double move to out tight end Eric Schneider who sets up like he is going to block the corner than races down the sideline wide open then catches a perfectly thrown ball by Thomas Sirk for the tying TD! You simply can’t be more aggressive.

ABSOLUTE resolve.

Then, when all in the land thought can Duke really pull this one off? Is Duke Football about to convert a 2 pointer in the 4th OT at Lane Stadium to beat Frank Beamer and VT (a scenario a few years back that NO ONE WOULD HAVE BELIEVED even could have existed if you proclaimed it would happen)? At that point an unheralded 6’4 220 pound athletic QB that no one else really recruited at the position, but who had shined most of the game like he should have been recruited by every major program out there, tucks the ball and buries his shoulder into oncoming VT defenders for arguably the most thrilling victory for Duke Football in decades if not ever.

And there stands today’s Duke Football – looking you and the entire nation right in the face … with ABSOLUTE resolve.