DURHAM, N.C. — Virginia Tech players know it’s a long walk to the sidelines to greet coach Justin Fuente after turning the ball over.
It’s an even longer walk when that turnover leads to points for the other team.
Duke jumped out to a 7-0 lead early in the first quarter on Saturday afternoon when Tech receiver Tayvion Robinson wasn’t able to field a punt. The ball went right through his hands as he was backpedaling inside the Hokies’ own 20-yard line.
The football was knocked backwards multiple times during a scramble to gain possession by players from both teams. Blue Devils safety Jaylen Stinson gained control of the ball right after it crossed the goal line.
Robinson trekked back to the sideline for a brief talk with Fuente having put his team in an early hole. It was the sophomore receiver’s second fumble in as many games.
“It’s definitely hard, making a mistake isn’t easy to deal with,” Robinson said. “My teammates rallied around me and told me it was just one play, we got a whole game to play. Coach Fu told me that you are defined by how you bounce back.”
Robinson did just that a couple minutes later.
He made a leaping grab along the sideline for a first down at Duke’s 12-yard line with 6-foot-3 safety J’Marick Woods in tight coverage. Braxton Burmeister threw a 12-yard touchdown to James Mitchell on the next play.