Washington

Virginia Tech down 21 players, including top four corners, vs. Duke

Washington

Virginia Tech played without 21 players and two full-time coaches Saturday against Duke, the second-straight week that the Hokies were forced to take the field down a significant chunk of their roster.

The team has dealt with coronavirus-related issues for weeks but didn’t specify whether the inactive players were scratched due to COVID-19. In their season-opening win over NC State last week, the Hokies played without 23 of their players.

Though it had more players suited up Saturday, the losses Virginia Tech sustained — particularly in the secondary — were brutal: Each of their top four cornerbacks (Jermaine Waller, Armani Chatman, Brion Murray and Devin Taylor) as well as starting safety Divine Deablo didn’t play. Waller was out last week but the other four were new scratches.

Defensive coordinator Justin Hamilton, who works closely with the safeties, and cornerbacks coach Ryan Smith were out as well.

Fewer college football programs have dealt with more personnel losses than the Hokies so far this season. With the country’s longest active streak of 27 straight seasons with a bowl appearance on the line, Virginia Tech is stretched just about as thin as possible trying to keep that feat going for another year.