BLACKSBURG Va. -- Duke football took another major step Saturday.
The Blue Devils upset No. 16 Virginia Tech 13-10 at Lane Stadium for their first win over a ranked opponent since 1994 and their first road victory over a ranked team since 1971.
"Virginia Tech is probably the toughest road game we've ever been a part of because of this stadium and these people," said Blue Devils junior linebacker David Helton, who had a game-high 19 tackles. "It's absolutely incredible to be a part of a victory like this."
Duke, which has never played in bowls in consecutive seasons, became bowl eligible for the second straight year.
The Hokies are still in control of their Coastal Division destiny. If they win their remaining four games they will represent the division in the Dec. 7 ACC championship game.
"Really we have everything we want in front of us. We can still go to the ACC championship. We can still achieve those goals," Virginia Tech senior linebacker Jack Tyler said.
In a mistake-filled game, the Blue Devils (6-2, 2-2 ACC) overcame four interceptions by quarterback Anthony Boone. It helped that Duke's defense intercepted Hokies quarterback Logan Thomas a career-high four times.
"It was a little bit of everything and probably a couple of bad decisions," said Thomas, who passed for 214 yards and a touchdown.
Duke had dropped 12 straight games to Virginia Tech since its last win in 1981, and the Blue Devils had lost seven straight contests at Lane Stadium.
"It was unbelievable," Blue Devils freshman cornerback Bryon Fields said. "This is one of the best atmospheres in the league and in college football overall. To come in and silence that huge crowd like that and get this win with our small little Duke (fan) section on the side is a great feeling."
Virginia Tech (6-2, 3-1) out-gained Duke 387-198 and had an almost 20-minute advantage in time of possession, but its offense made mistake after mistake in another poor overall performance.
Hokies kicker Cody Journell missed two field goals -- one from 45 yards that clanged off the left upright and a 40-yarder that sailed wide left.
"I don't lose faith in him, and I don't expect the guys to lose faith in me after the turnovers I had tonight," Thomas said. "We're a close knit group and we've got each other's back."
Journell's second miss came on Virginia Tech's penultimate possession. The Hokies' final drive ended when Thomas' pass intended for Trey Edmunds was tipped in the air and intercepted by linebacker Kelby Brown.
The Hokies trailed 6-0 at the half but finally got on the scoreboard late in the third quarter, capping a 99-yard drive with a 5-yard Thomas rushing touchdown.
Virginia Tech was backed up at its own 1-yard line but Thomas zipped a 56-yard bomb down the left sideline to wide receiver Demitri Knowles. Knowles bobbled the pass before gaining control.
Thomas had a 17-yard run and then completed a 12-yard pass to D.J. Coles before breaking through with his touchdown run. It was his 24th career touchdown run to break the Hokies' record for career rushing touchdowns by a quarterback.
The Hokies then got to within 13-10 on Journell's 42-yard field goal with 9:23 left in the game.
Duke took a 13-0 lead with 6:14 remaining in the third quarter on a 9-yard touchdown run by quarterback Anthony Boone. Boone's score capped a six-play drive that covered 63 yards, 25 of which came on a pass interference penalty against Tyler and a holding flag against safety Kyshoen Jarrett.
Duke overcame three first-half interceptions and led 6-0 at the break. Sophomore kicker Ross Martin kicked field goals of 51 and 53 yards to provide the only offense for either team.
Virginia Tech couldn't get its offense untracked in the first half. Thomas threw two costly interceptions and Journell's 45-yard field goal attempt hit off the left upright with 42 seconds to go until halftime.
After Journell's field goal miss, Duke drove 37 yards in less than 40 seconds and extended its lead on Martin's career-long 53-yard kick right before halftime.
The Hokies' best possession -- a 16-play, 68-yard drive that ate up 8:27 in the second quarter -- ended with no points. A 2-yard touchdown pass from Thomas to Coles was nullified by an illegal motion penalty. On the next play, Thomas forced a pass into the end zone that was intercepted by Blue Devils senior cornerback Ross Cockrell.
It was one of five interceptions combined by the teams in an ugly first half. Virginia Tech freshman cornerback Kendall Fuller had two first-half interceptions, and a career-high three for the game, and Hokies defensive end Dadi Nicolas came down with his first career pick on a tipped pass in the second quarter.
Duke senior corner Garett Patterson recorded his first career interception in the first quarter. His pick ended a streak of 116 straight passes without an interception for Thomas.
NOTES: Virginia Tech defensive end J.R. Collins and reserve linebacker Deon Clarke were suspended for the game for a violation of team rules. ... Duke's Martin now has four field goals of 50 or more yards for his career. Sims Lenhardt holds the Blue Devils' record with six. ... Martin moved into 10th place on Duke's all-time scoring list with 156 points. ... Hokies freshman starting cornerback Brandon Facyson missed the game with a concussion. ... Tech senior cornerback Kyle Fuller (groin) saw his 34-game start streak come to an end. He only saw playing time on special teams against the Blue Devils. ... Duke's Cockrell broke the school's career record for pass breakups. He now has 34 for his career, moving him past John Talley, who had 33 from 2003-06. ... Defensive back Chuck Clark, defensive end Dadi Nicolas and tight end Darius Redman all made their first career starts for the Hokies.