AP NEWS

No. 22 Duke looks to stay perfect with VTech visiting

September 27, 2018

Virginia Tech (2-1, 1-0) at No. 22 Duke (4-0, 0-0), 7 p.m. ET (ESPN2)

Line: Duke by 5.

Series record: Virginia Tech leads 16-9.

WHAT’S AT STAKE?

The surging Blue Devils are looking to preserve their first national ranking since 2015 and prove they’re serious contenders in the ACC’s Coastal Division race. The Hokies, embarrassed by last week’s 14-point loss at previously winless Old Dominion, want nothing more than to bounce back by picking up another league victory.

KEY MATCHUP

Virginia Tech’s defense vs. Duke’s offense. The Blue Devils have yet to throw an interception in 110 passes through four games, despite losing starting QB Daniel Jones with a broken clavicle, and have lost just two fumbles — tied with the Hokies for the fewest giveaways in the league. Virginia Tech thrives on forcing turnovers, leading the league with a turnover margin of plus-1.67, and figures to play with even more of an edge in the wake of that loss to ODU.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Virginia Tech: QB Ryan Willis makes his first start as the long-term replacement for Josh Jackson, who broke his left fibula against the Monarchs. Willis, who made 10 starts during two years at Kansas before transferring, threw for 131 yards and a touchdown in relief of Jackson last week.

Duke: WR-PR T.J. Rahming is five receptions shy of becoming just the fifth player in program history with 200. Arguably the team’s most versatile player, Rahming is the only Blue Devil with gains of at least 30 yards on a rush, a pass and a punt return.

FACTS & FIGURES

This game marks Duke’s first as a Top 25 team since the 2015 loss to Miami that ended on a controversial eight-lateral kickoff return. ... Until now, the Hokies had spent only one week outside the national rankings since November 2016. ... The Blue Devils are 4-0 for the second straight season. They hadn’t done that since 1952-53. ... The Hokies haven’t lost in Durham since 1981. Since then, Duke’s only wins in the series came in 2013 and in four overtimes in 2015.

___

More AP college football: http://apnews.com/tag/Collegefootball and http://www.twitter.com/AP_Top25/

AP RADIO
Update hourly