Hokie Fans, I have been in mourning the last couple of days. Please excuse the lateness of this article as honestly, it was extremely hard to accept what happened on Saturday. The Hokies had the rare opportunity to clinch a division title, with multiple games left to play.
However, the Yellow Jackets of Georgia Tech had other plans on Saturday. How nice would it have been for not only the players, but coaches and fans alike to have the knowledge the Hokies would be playing in Orlando. However, it was not to be as the Hokies dropped the home game 30-20.
Honestly, it was extremely hard to find any good about this game. The Hokies probably played their worst game they all season. That’s right, I believe it was worse than both of the previous losses with all to gain from a win, which was supposed to be a game easily won by Virginia Tech. It seemed all the dominos were falling for a Hokie return to the top ten. Teams ahead of them were dropping like flies and voters were starting to believe in the Hokies.
However, could this loss actually be a good thing for the Hokies? Stay with me here folks, the Hokies are actually going to benefit from this loss.
So what did I mean when I say this was actually a good loss? Well for starters; this loss puts a different amount of emphasis on the UVA game. Not only will the Hokies be trying to go 1-0 that week but they will be attempting to return to the ACC Championship, a goal that was out of reach for the past few years. The game will be more than a rivalry game which will make the team even more focused.
Also, the loss dropped the Hokies out of the rankings. A win this week against Notre Dame could vault the Hokies back into the good graces of the playoff committee. It is safe to say after the embarrassing loss at The hands of the Yellow Jackets, the Hokies are going to come back to football more determined to win, proving all who doubted the team wrong.
The only other good part would be Isaiah Ford becoming the leading pass catcher in Hokie history. This accomplishment came after Ford broke the record for receiving touchdowns the week before. It is safe to say the Hokies’ wide receiver is going to be remembered by fans for an extremely long time. However, more telling was the quote Ford had about trading his records for a win on Saturday. This gives fans of the Hokies hope Ford could return for his senior season to lead the Hokies to a playoff birth.
What can I say Hokie fans, there was a lot of bad and ugly this game. First there was the play of Jerod Evans. Now you may say Evans accounted for all three Hokie touchdowns, one through the air and two on the ground. He threw for over 300 yards and rushed for another 75. Yes, that was pretty good but it was the other things he did which colored the game.
Evans threw two interceptions that stalled promising drives. He once again was overthrowing receivers, one resulting in a turnover, but for the most part allowed drives to slow down or stall. Evans has been the heart and soul of the offense don’t get me wrong; however some of his decisions confuse me.
For instance, his unwillingness to take more shots down the field on earlier downs frustrates many fans. With all the weapons he has around him, why not use them. It could be the offensive staff is worried about his overthrowing problem, or it could be he is being overly cautious not wanting to make the big mistake.
The second bad part has to be the drops by many of the Hokie receivers. There were two big ones I can think of, however there were many during the game. The first was by Bucky Hodges on a deep route in the end zone. It would appear the ball would hit Hodges in the face mask. It was just another drop of what looked like and easily caught ball. Hodges has made some spectacular catches this season; however, it is the simple catches which seem to have deserted him.
Next, sure-handed Isaiah Ford dropped a fourth down attempt which would have been enough yardage to get the first down and keep an important drive alive. Ford just flat out dropped the ball, very uncharacteristic for him. These drops did not help the play of the offense or its leader Jerod Evans.
Honestly, aside from about 10 minutes this game was all ugly. The Hokies were never really in the game from the beginning. A turnover on the opening kickoff started the ugliness. Turnovers have been ugly in all three of the Hokies losses this year. Combined, they have had 11 giveaways in the three defeats.
Saturday was another example of how turnovers will doom a team. Virginia Tech turned the ball over on four separate occasions with two interceptions and two fumbles with three of those four possessions being turned into some form of Yellow Jacket points. I have said it all year long, you don’t win games when you lose the turnover battle.
Once again, big plays doomed the Hokies as well. I said in my review of the Georgia Tech offense that they could make you pay for being out of position. Twice, the Hokies were terribly out of position, and the Yellow Jackets scored on two long runs. Big plays have been the nemesis of the Hokies all season long. Not only have they made games closer than they should have been but in some cases, they have been a main cause of a loss.
This week represents another opportunity to go 1-0 as the Hokies travel to Notre Dame in a matchup I have been looking forward to only second to the Battle at Bristol. The Hokies will have to contain another running quarterback, something they have struggled with all season. The game also creates an opportunity to show the nation they are still the team capable of winning the ACC. I know I will be looking forward to Saturday as it hopefully will go better than the previous game. As always LET’S GO HOKIES!!!