No. 23 Duke wins 4OT thriller, 45-43, at Virginia Tech

DeVon Edwards, Chris Taylor, Phillip Carter
FILE - In this Sept. 3, 2015, file photo, Duke safety DeVon Edwards (27) celebrates with Chris Taylor (82) and Phillip Carter (37) after Edwards returned a kickoff 95 yards for a touchdown in the second half of an NCAA college football game against Tulane in New Orleans. For No. 23 Duke, the parallels to its record-setting 2013 season are starting to add up. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, File)

BLACKSBURG, Va. (AP) — Thomas Sirk threw four touchdown passes and ran for a 2-point conversion in the fourth overtime to lift No. 21 Duke to a 45-43 win over Virginia Tech on Saturday night.

Sirk hit Erich Schneider with a 25-yard TD pass on the first play of the fourth overtime, after the Hokies had scored and missed the mandatory 2-point attempt. Sirk then rolled right and cut upfield, giving the Blue Devils (6-1, 3-0) the victory in the longest game in Atlantic Coast Conference history.

Virginia Tech (3-5, 1-3) lost for the fourth time in five games, and for the third time this season at home. The Hokies, getting the ball first in the fourth extra period, seemed in good shape to either win or extend it, but after Travon McMillians’s 1-yard touchdown run, Michael Brewer’s 2-point conversion pass to Isaiah Ford was broken up by Deondre Singleton just inside the goal line.

The teams had traded field goals, then touchdowns, then field goals again through the first three overtimes.

The Hokies trailed almost all game, but two long second-half scoring drives drew them even.

The second covered 83 yards and tied the game with 2:07 to play. Brewer’s 23-yard touchdown pass to Bucky Hodges came on fourth-and-2. After the Blue Devils were twice called for pass interference on 2-point pass attempts, McMillian ran it in from inside the 1 to tie the game at 24-all.

Duke then drove to the Hokies’ 28, a quick march highlighted by Sirk’s 39-yard connection with Max McCaffrey, but when Virginia Tech forced a fourth-and-3, Ross Martin hit the right upright with a 46-yard field goal try.

Martin also missed a 29-yarder, but connected from 41 yards for a 24-16 Blue Devils lead.

Virginia Tech pulled within 21-16 with a 20-play, 95-yard drive that took 9:46, the longest drive in the 29-year history of Frank Beamer’s tenure as coach. Travon McMillian finished it, taking a direct snap and running it in from the 2. The Hokies tried a 2-point conversion to get within a field goal, and sent dual-threat quarterback Brenden Motley into the game to run the play, but his pass fluttered harmlessly to the ground, keeping it 21-16.

The game looked like it might be a barnburner early.

Duke drove 75 yards in 14 plays with the opening kickoff, converting on third-and-6, third-and-7, third-and-10 and third and goal, with Sirk hitting McCaffrey from a yard out for the touchdown.

The Hokies needed only six plays to counter. Brewer hit Bucky Hodges for 36 yards to the Blue Devils’ 22, and three plays later, hit Hodges again from 16 yards for the tying touchdown midway through the quarter.

Less than 3 minutes later, Duke went ahead on Sirk’s 16-yard pass to McCaffrey. It came two plays after Sirk and Anthony Nash hooked up for 45 yards on a pass that had been open twice before, but Sirk had overthrown.

Joey Slye’s 44-yard field goal pulled the Hokies within 14-10 early in the second quarter.

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