The Virginia Tech Hokies entered today’s ACC opener against Blacksburg needing to get a win on a wet, cold day against the Pittsburgh Panthers. The Hokies suffered a disappointing loss to East Carolina the previous week, and Hokie Nation was hopeful that the Hokies could bounce back and start off ACC play right.
Unfortunately, that was not the case.
The Hokies had an awful offensive day, but the Panthers let the Hokies stick around with fumbles. However, the Hokies’ offense had a terrible day with only 100 total yards as Virginia Tech suffered a very disappointing loss to Pittsburgh 17-13.
Virginia Tech’s 100 total yards of offense was the least since Frank Beamer’s first year as Virginia Tech’s head coach when the Hokies had 60 yards of offense against Clemson. The Hokies’ offensive line had a nightmare of a game and gave up seven sacks, leading to the Hokies only having an awful nine rushing yards.
Brenden Motley struggled in this game as he was 9-for-20 for 91 passing yards, 1 touchdown, and 3 interceptions. Motley missed some open receivers on some of his passes while not finding open receivers that could have made big plays on other plays.
This game was by far the worst for Motley since replacing Michael Brewer, and many Hokie fans are hoping that Brewer will be ready to go when N.C. State comes to Blacksburg on Friday.
The running game was non-existent as the jet sweep was overused and a major failure today with Travon McMillian. Scot Loeffler is going to have to re-evaluate his play calling after this nightmare of an offensive performance. Of course, his game plan may be a lot different anyway against N.C. State if Brewer is back for the Hokies.
On defense, the Hokies gave up some big runs to Pittsburgh’s Qadree Ollison due to some missed tackles, once again. Virginia Tech’s run defense was pretty solid outside of a few big runs, but you can’t afford to give up those big runs. However, the tackling was improved this week, but was once again not where it should be.
Brandon Facyson was fairly solid in pass coverage with most of Tyler Boyd’s five receptions not coming against the redshirt sophomore cornerback. Facyson is playing better every single week, and definitely can be the lockdown cornerback that the Hokies need with Kendall Fuller down for the rest of the season.
Virginia Tech did a great job of getting to the quarterback with four sacks today from Deon Clarke, Chuck Clark, Andrew Motuapuaka, and Luther Maddy. Maddy has continued to play well this season, and should likely be on one of the three All-ACC teams at the end of the season with a decent chance at being All-ACC First Team.
The Hokies also did some damage on special teams with a blocked field goal that kept the game close along with A.J. Hughes having a great game punting the ball and Joey Slye making both of his field goal kicks.
However, this game was not as close as the final score suggested, and fans are frustrated along with the coaches. Pittsburgh gained 176 more yards than Virginia Tech with penalties and fumbles helping the Hokies keep this game close.
After this loss today, it seems more and more likely that we are in the final season of the Frank Beamer era. Whit Babcock will not accept this program continuing in this direction, and it is unknown how things may begin to play out over the next few weeks.
The question is, can the Hokies respond on Friday and find a way to bounce back after two disappointing losses? Hopefully the answer to that question is yes, but we will have to wait and see.