BLACKSBURG, Va. —Two games into the season, and No. 13 Virginia Tech can already forget the national championship talk that prevailed throughout their preseason camp.
These Hokies can't even beat an FCS powerhouse, losing 21-16 to James Madison on Saturday. It was their second consecutive performance dominated not by a powerhouse offense, a stout defense or game-changing special teams, but by mistakes, missed tackles and disappointment.
"I don't know what's going on," tailback Ryan Williams said. "I really don't."
Drew Dudzik ran for two touchdowns and threw for another for the Dukes (2-0), a top team in the Football Championship Subdivision, but only the second from a lower tier to beat Virginia Tech. Richmond, also in the FCS, beat the Hokies 24-14 at Lane Stadium in 1985.
Virginia Tech is the second ranked team to lose to a lower division team. The first was No. 5 Michigan, which fell 34-32 to I-AA Appalachian State on Sept. 1, 2007.
Dudzik called it the biggest victory in school history, and coach Mickey Matthews agreed, a remarkable thought because Matthews led the Dukes to the 2004 FCS national championship.
"This is the biggest win of my professional career," he said.
And it happened with Tech looking too much like the mistake-prone team that lost just six days earlier 33-30, when No. 3 Boise State scored the go-ahead touchdown with 1:09 left.
The Dukes needed no such late-game heroics, hanging onto the ball for the last 5:23 to finish off the Hokies.
"It was like a dream come true when the clock hit zero," Jones said.
"It was like, 'Oh my God, we did it!"