Hokies Football: Three Takeaways From Virginia Tech’s 45-43 4OT Loss to #23 Duke

The Virginia Tech Hokies and #23 Duke Blue Devils made history on Saturday as the Hokies’ and Blue Devils’ showdown became the first ACC game to ever go to four overtimes. However, the game ended in heartbreak for the Hokies with Duke getting a quick touchdown on their first play in the fourth overtime before Thomas Sirk converted the 2-point conversion to win the game.

There have been some rough games that Hokie fans have gone through the last few seasons(blowout loss to Miami at home in 2014), but this may have been the toughest one after it seemed like the Hokies might just be able to pull off the comeback.

After the game, most Hokie fans seemed to be in agreement that this is going to be the end for Frank Beamer. However, we’ll get to more on the future of Beamer later, but let’s take a look at three of our takeaways from this game.

Travon McMillian Continues to Impress

Travon McMillian received too few carries in the first half against Duke, and he proved that even more by the time the game was all done with what was his most impressive game yet. Despite facing a tough Duke defense with the Hokies running the same few rushing plays a lot, McMillian still did tons of damage on the ground with 29 carries for 142 rushing yards and 2 rushing touchdowns.

McMillian has continued to gain more confidence with Hokie fans why he wasn’t the guy from the beginning of the season. McMillian knows what he is capable of, and runs accordingly whether the situation forces him to put his head and get whatever yards he can get, or whether McMillian can cut back across the field to turn a 2 or 3-yard loss into some sort of gain.

McMillian proved himself against the toughest defense that he has faced since becoming the starting running back(including N.C. State since he was the only RB to receive carries), and is playing like someone that should receive some sort of All-ACC recognition at the end of the season. McMillian is definitely the Hokies’ best running back since David Wilson.

Multiple Reasons For VT Issues With Mobile Duke QB

Now you can comment and tell me why you think this may be wrong, but here are a couple reasons from game observations on why the Hokies struggled to contain Thomas Sirk.

On many of Sirk’s runs, Duke had three receivers on the outside with four Virginia Tech defensive backs going to the outside and Adonis Alexander using being thrown into a single deep safety sort of role. This meant that the Hokies only had six in the box with the possibility of going against six blockers if the running back blocked.

Even when it was 5 blockers against six, this meant that the Hokies had to make sure that their one free player was in the right spot. Unfortunately, that one free guy usually was not in the area that Sirk ran the ball, and the mobile quarterback was able to get a lot of easy yardage.

Also, mike linebacker Andrew Motuapuaka was lined up right in front of the center on many plays while Deon Clarke was usually lined up right behind one of the defensive ends. This took out the Hokies’ second level and meant that all Sirk needed was a simple hole to get at least four to five yards easily.

Now when you have defensive tackles like Luther Maddy and Woody Baron, there is no reason for Motuapuaka or any mike linebacker to line up against the center. Baron and especially Maddy are players that could command the attention of two offensive linemen, which would open up room for Motuapuaka to get into the hole and stop Sirk.

I’m not sure if it was just poor thinking from Motuapuaka or poor coaching from Bud Foster, but that needs to change against mobile quarterbacks along with having seven instead of six in the box even with three wide receivers on the outside.

This will be it for Frank Beamer

No one wanted a season like this to be the end of Frank Beamer’s career at Virginia Tech, but now seems to be the time. Yesterday, Whit Babcock and the Virginia Tech athletic department made a no comment on Frank Beamer’s future.

Then, there is this picture from The Key Play’s Mark Umansky that is the most profound picture from Virginia Tech football this season. This picture says all you need to kno. Whit Babcock is going to have the most important offseason of his tenure in Blacksburg coming up after this season.

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