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Duke survives record marathon

BLACKSBURG, Va. — Thomas Sirk had an answer for anyone thinking No. 23 Duke's success was all about its highly rated defense.

Sirk threw four touchdowns, the last in the fourth overtime, then ran for the winning 2-point conversion Saturday night, giving the Blue Devils a 45-43 victory over Virginia Tech in the longest game in conference history.

Duke also won for the 12th time in 13 road games and for the second straight time at Lane Stadium.

After arriving in Virginia with the nation's No. 4 overall defense, Sirk showed the offense deserves credit, too.

"We had a great game plan coming in, trying to get their guys isolated and get the linebackers out of there," he said. "We had quarterback draws, quarterback powers. We did it all.

"Our offensive line did such a great job opening up holes vs. a very tough and physical D-line and linebacking corps. A lot of those lead draws were backs sticking in there against a linebacker, and that makes it all possible."

Sirk had tied the score at 43 by hitting Erich Schneider for 25 yards on the Blue Devils' first play of the last overtime.

On the conversion play, the Hokies were in the right defense, putting the onus on Sirk to make the play.

"Coach said if there's nothing there, don't force the throw. Tuck it and run," he said.

NO. 25 PITT 23, SYRACUSE 20: Pat Narduzzi passed the audition. So did his punter, and kicker.

The Panthers' coach displayed his disgust by walking down the sideline wondering why his team was unable to convert a third-down play with the score tied and time running down.

But visiting Pittsburgh never planned to punt. Instead, the first-year coach called for a fake punt, Ryan Winslow hit linebacker Matt Galambos for 12 yards and a first down and Chris Blewitt kicked a 25-yard field goal on the final play.

"I did a good job acting," said Narduzzi, who was on the Rhode Island staff with Syracuse coach Scott Shafer in the 1990s. "I know Scott was probably looking over, so I walked down the sideline — how come we couldn't get that first down? Didn't matter where on the field. I had a lot of confidence in that punt fake."

N.C. STATE 35, WAKE 17: Matt Dayes scored on two long runs to lead a dominating first quarter as the Wolfpack ended a six-game road skid in the series. Dayes ran for 205 yards for North Carolina State, which took a 28-0 lead before the offense sleepwalked through the rest of the day.

LOUISVILLE 17, BC 14: Lamar Jackson ran for a short touchdown and passed for 230 yards for the host Cardinals, and Louisville's defense made a big stand late. The Cardinals recorded a season-high eight sacks and held Boston College to minus-14 yards rushing and 79 yards overall.

UNC 26, UVA 13: Elijah Hood rushed for two touchdowns and the host Tar Heels forced five turnovers en route to their sixth straight victory.

Duke survives record marathon 10/24/15 [Last modified: Saturday, October 24, 2015 9:38pm]
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