The Virginia Tech Hokies picked up an impressive, comeback win at Notre Dame 34-31 after being down 17-0 only seconds into the second quarter. There were some very good performances, but two Hokies in particular stood out against the Fighting Irish to receive our Hokies of the Game honors this week.
Offensive Hokie of the Game: Jerod Evans
Jerod Evans didn’t get off to a great start, but once the junior quarterback got going, he showed why he is one of the ACC’s top quarterbacks with a strong, bounce-back performance a week after struggling against Georgia Tech with his first two-interception game of his collegiate career.
Evans was 22-of-29 for 267 passing yards, 2 touchdowns, and only 1 interception that came off of a dropped pass by Cam Phillips being deflected into the hands of a Notre Dame defensive back. Evans also was productive on the ground as he had 18 carries for 67 yards and a touchdown in this game. His 3 total touchdowns allowed him to break Virginia Tech’s single-season total touchdown record with his 31st of the season while Evans tied Tyrod Taylor for the VT single-season passing touchdown record at 24.
Evans made the plays that the Hokies needed and made some good throws all over the field whether it be on short passes, post-up routes for touchdowns near the end zone, or deep balls like the one thrown to Cam Phillips that should have been a touchdown. Evans still has room to grow, but the junior has definitely made some progress over the past week that can only be encouraging for VT fans.
Isaiah Ford continues to approach the Virginia Tech career receiving yards record with another strong game with 7 catches for 86 yards. Meanwhile, Cam Phillips had a couple of disappointing drops but also some great plays as well with 6 catches for 56 yards and a touchdown in what was a solid day for the junior receiver from Maryland despite having a couple of big drops.
Defensive Hokie of the Game: Ken Ekanem
Going into this game, it seemed that Ken Ekanem might just have a chip on his shoulder from all the way back in high school when Ekanem says Notre Dame rescinded his offer after getting injured his senior year, which Notre Dame denies saying it was because the spots in their class at DE filled up.
Whatever the case was, Ekanem came out with a chip on his shoulder and despite still being banged up, the senior defensive end stepped up and had his best game in weeks with 6 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, and 1 sack in what was a strong performance in which Ekanem seemed to play better and get more pressure as the game went along.
Ekanem’s performance against Notre Dame suggests that the Northern Virginia native is getting close to being 100% again and that could help the Hokies a lot if they can have Ekanem fully healthy in a couple weeks should they beat Virginia and play in the ACC Championship. Having Ekanem get healthy is a big boost for a defensive end group that is led by the senior and doesn’t have much proven depth beyond Ekanem, Vinny Mihota, and Trevon Hill.
Chuck Clark had 6 tackles in this game but made plays all over the field while also being reliable in coverage for the Hokies. Adonis Alexander also had a solid game in coverage while making a few plays with 9 tackles and 1 pass breakup in this game. Woody Baron may have only had 2 tackles, 1 tackle for loss, and 1 QB hurry, but Baron once again played well providing plenty of pressure as the game went along.
Congrats to Jerod Evans and Ken Ekanem on being our Hokies of the Game against Notre Dame.
Stay up with The Tech Lunch Pail via Facebook and Twitter plus subscribe to our email updates.