The Virginia Tech Hokies got a big win this past Saturday over the Virginia Cavaliers 52-10 in what was a strong statement on a weekend in which they also clinched the ACC Coastal. Here are three of our top takeaways from Virginia Tech’s 13th-straight Commonwealth Cup victory.
1. Travon McMillian is in the dog house.
Travon McMillian has had back-to-back weeks with fumbles and because of it, he found his way to Justin Fuente’s dog house with McMillian’s touches being limited after his fumble against Virginia to the third quarter with Brenden Motley at quarterback. McMillian has had a fumble issue over the past couple of weeks and its clear that Justin Fuente has gotten frustrated with McMillian’s poor ball security.
McMillian has not had the same confidence or comfort running the football as he had last year and while he may be the most talented running back on the team, his lack of confidence is preventing him from being the best back on the team, and has pushed the Hokies to use more Sam Rogers and Steven Peoples than McMillian.
Of course, the fact that McMillian played early against Virginia after getting in the dog house at Notre Dame is a sign that Fuente still has a fair amount of overall confidence in McMillian but if he has another early fumble against Clemson, expect McMillian to end up back in Fuente’s dog house once again.
2. Cam Phillips is having an under-the-radar breakout season.
While Isaiah Ford and Bucky Hodges have received most of the attention for the Hokies at wide receiver, Cam Phillips has been quietly having the best season of his collegiate career by far in what has been a big breakthrough type of season for the junior who has become significantly more effective in Justin Fuente’s offense.
So far, Phillips has career highs in all three major receiving categories with 58 catches for 776 receiving yards and 4 touchdowns while being the Hokies’ leading receiver on Saturday with 6 catches for 87 yards and a touchdown. Phillips has become quite effective working out of the slot while also showing some great agility and being able to find ways to make guys miss and get extra yards in difficult situations.
Phillips’s move to the slot with Hodges shifting to the outside has been a big benefit for the junior whose speed and great burst has been used quite effectively this season is multiple ways from quick passes to stretching the field over the middle and even getting the ball on jet sweeps. Phillips has improved a lot this season and has been had at least 6 receptions in five of the last six games as Phillips continues to improve out of the slot.
Cam Phillips has significantly improved this year and definitely could have earned some sort of All-ACC recognition as an honorable mention for his strong season.
3. Virginia Tech will be able to compete with Clemson.
While many do believe that the Hokies can test Clemson, this game showed that Virginia Tech is starting to play some of its best football again with its 52-10 blowout of Virginia after having some close calls with teams with losing records like Duke and Notre Dame along with being upset at home by Georgia Tech.
Virginia Tech’s defense was absolutely dominant with the starters not allowing a single touchdown along with forcing mistakes from Virginia’s multitude of quarterbacks that took the field in this game. Virginia Tech’s offense was able to have an explosive, balanced attack in this game also with Virginia Tech having over 280 yards of passing and rushing in this game with Sam Rogers running for over 100 yards and Jerod Evans throwing for over 250 yards.
The Hokies enter this game with Clemson with plenty of momentum though the Tigers also blew out their in-state rival South Carolina, but this game showed that the Hokies have the talent to make this game interesting with Clemson and potentially pull off the upset. The Hokies are a complete team from offense to defense to special teams and any team that is complete like Virginia Tech will be able to compete with an elite team like Clemson.
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