How much fun was last Saturday Hokie fans? First, the Hokies come into the game knowing they will be representing the Coastal division in Orlando, and then they dismantle in state rival UVA. I am not even really sure dismantle is the correct word. Not only did the Hokies dismantle, a struggling UVA team but the dominated in a fashion which could seriously affect the momentum of any team facing them in the near future. You heard me Clemson, could the fate of the Cavaliers be your fate on Saturday? I might be getting ahead of myself just a bit, however with how well the Hokies played on Saturday who wouldn’t be excited.
Honestly, where do I start? The offense all year long has been a definite improvement from the previous years. Not only is this offense improving every week, it seems after this previous game that it is clicking on all cylinders. The Hokie offense amassed a total of 579 yards for the game. The most impressive part about this total is how equal the rushing (289), and passing (290) yards were.
I have been a huge skeptic about the Hokie rushing attack outside of Jerod Evans all season long. This equality in rushing and passing was a welcome site to this Hokie fan’s eyes. The game was by far the best performance offensively of the year. Despite what the rest of the ACC thinks, Jerod Evans has a handle on this offense, and is one of the top quarterbacks in the conference, if not the nation. It is going to be important to keep this offensive consistency and momentum going ahead of Saturday’s ACC Championship.
Along with the stellar offensive team performance, one Hokie in particular starred in what was his last game in Lane Stadium. Sam Rogers has been mister everything for the Hokies this year. Not only has he been a solid option out of the backfield as a runner, but he catches passes, blocks well, and is a leader for this young Hokie team. All season long, Rogers has been the team first guy, and is quite possibly the most popular person on the team with fans.
On senior day Rogers was full of emotion, not only was it his last game in Lane, but he was wearing the iconic number 25. Did Rogers fold under the pressure and emotion? Of course he didn’t as Rogers amassed a season high 105 yards on the ground scoring twice, once on a 30-plus yard scamper ending with a dive into the pylon. Rogers also cemented his role as a dangerous pass catcher, snagging two passes for 29 yards.
I am not ashamed to say at 32 years of age, I shed a tear when Rogers scored his first touchdown. It is obvious to see Sam Rogers is a Hokie to his core, and I am hopeful that if my son wants to play football, he will play the game just like Sam does.
Now here comes the hard part of this article, finding a bad and ugly part. Honestly, I am sure Coach Fuente was able to find different things for the team to work on this week but honestly, I was having an extremely hard time finding anything negative. As always though, I find something even it seems to be very small.
The Hokies have a vaunted front 7, the All-ACC team shows that fact. However, a staple of this front 7 for many years has been the ability to not only get pressure on the quarterback, but to get home as well. Of course by get home, I mean getting sacks on the opposing quarterback. Lately, it seems like this pressure has been lacking that finishing element. This rivalry game was a perfect example of the lack of sacks as a team. The Hokies only managed one sack against an offensive line who has done nothing but struggle this year.
Seriously, only one sack the entire game, this is not going to fly against a better offense, such as Clemson. Getting to the quarterback is going to be paramount for the Hokies to disrupt the Tiger offense on Saturday. The defensive line needs to get a better push, which as a result could lead to the linebackers getting more sacks. However, with the Hokies’ struggles against running quarterbacks, I look for Bud Foster not to blitz as much in order to stay in better defensive position. Without the blitz, the front 4 push is going to have to get better in order to get some important sacks.
The ugly was an easier part to find. The Hokies have struggled with turnovers lately. This game was not much different, but the Hokies did win the turnover battle by one. The fumble monster once again decided to show himself during the Hokies possessions. The Hokies put the ball on the ground three times, losing two of them.
Travon McMillian once again fumbled, drawing the ire of Justin Fuente. McMillian is quickly playing himself down the depth chart by not valuing the football. The consistent fumbling is going to be a problem against a team like Clemson, or any other top tier team. The Hokie defense is not always going to be able to rise up and erase a mistake by the offense. Mark my words, turnovers are going to be an important part of the game on Saturday. The winner of the turnover battle is more than likely going to be hoisting the ACC Championship trophy.
It is safe to say the Hokies are at least a year ahead of schedule so by my estimations, the Hokies are playing with house money on Saturday. Why not take chances, and see if they could shock the world. I think the talent level is there to play with most any team in the country outside of Alabama (hate me all you want who can replace 5-star starters with 5-star backups).
This game represents another chance for the Hokies to get some much deserved respect from the college football world. It is evident from different polls, and post season awards, the Hokies are believed to be not as good as their record would show. One thing is for sure, there are some fans in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania who will be joining me in rooting for the Hokies on Saturday night. I hope the Hokies will cause the chaos many people want. As always fans LETS GO HOKIES!!!!!!
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