BLACKSBURG, Va. — The numbers suggested it was the same old Duke: 0-for-11 on third-down conversions, a 387 to 198 deficit in total offense and a whopping 39:27 to 20:33 disadvantage in time of possession.
The difference was that these Blue Devils won, stunning No. 16 Virginia Tech 13-10 on Saturday and all but clinching what will be the first consecutive bowl appearances in program history.
"It is a historical victory and they should be proud of that," Duke coach David Cutcliffe, in his sixth season, said. "It is a distinct step in the right direction, and it is a big step."
That joy was not lost on his players, who rallied from 22-0 a week ago to beat Virginia 35-22 then ended a 12-game skid against the Hokies with their first win in the series since 1981.
"Being a part of a change in the program is the most amazing feeling you can have," linebacker David Helton said after contributing 19 tackles and a key pass deflection. "It feels out of this world."
Anthony Boone ran for a touchdown, Ross Martin kicked two long field goals and the Blue Devils overcame four turnovers to end a long history of futility against ranked teams.
"This is the reason each one of these players came to Duke," left guard David Harding said. "We came to Duke when it wasn't the cool thing to do. … There's no luck involved. Our playmakers made plays when they had to."
The Blue Devils beat a ranked team for the first time since they stopped No. 13 Virginia in 1994, and beat one on the road for the first time since Stanford in 1971.
"Two unreal field goals, our offense coming through at the end when we needed them," said linebacker Kelby Brown, whose interception with about 4½ minutes left, and Brandon Connette's 3-yard run on fourth and 1, allowed the Blue Devils to run out the clock. "We did everything we needed to do to win."
Virginia Tech had its six-game winning streak end as Logan Thomas threw four interceptions, the last on a deflection in the closing minutes.
"There's a fine line between winning and losing and we've been walking that line," Hokies offensive coordinator Scot Loeffler said. "Our kids learned how important the details are — lining up correctly, not jumping offsides, the four turnovers. All these things will come back to bite you."
NO. 9 CLEMSON 40, MARYLAND 27: The offense clicked on the ground and in the air, amassing 551 yards on 98 plays. The defense came up big during a pivotal stretch of the third quarter, and special teams contributed 16 points.
It was a relentless performance by the visiting Tigers, who returned to form in grand style.
Tajh Boyd threw for a touchdown and ran for a score, Sammy Watkins had a school-record 14 catches for 163 yards and Roderick McDowell rushed for 161 yards and two touchdowns to help Clemson rebound from last week's 51-14 loss to Florida State.
"It's good to get the win, get back on track," coach Dabo Sweeny said. "If there was a hangover, if we weren't focused, this team could have gone south in a hurry. But it didn't. It responded. That's what great teams do."
NAVY 24, PITT 21: Nick Sloan booted a 30-yard field-goal as time expired for the host Midshipmen, who snapped a two-game skid and need two wins to become eligible for a bowl game.
After Sloan missed the extra point against Toledo last week, the Rockets scored on their next possession to escape with a 45-44 victory. Sloan said he heard Panthers coaches make comments about that game when he was near their sideline. Nonetheless, he didn't feel any added pressure when he lined up for the winner.
"It's every kickers dream to be in this situation," Sloan said. "It's definitely what separates the good kickers from the bad kickers."
GA. TECH 35, UVA 25: Zach Laskey and David Sims ran for two touchdowns each, and the visiting Yellow Jackets overcame five turnovers. Robert Godhigh also ran for a touchdown for Georgia Tech, which never trailed and responded every time the Cavaliers made it close.
UNC 34, BC 10: Bryn Renner threw for two touchdowns and the host Tar Heels snapped a four-game skid. Renner finished 18-of-21 for 227 yards with a 13-yard touchdown to Ryan Switzer and a 10-yarder to Bug Howard.