Virginia Tech provided the college football world with a thrilling, down-to-the-wire game last Sunday with a 31-24 win over West Virginia. The Hokies brought the Black Diamond trophy back to Blacksburg and walked away with many positive things, including the play of their new quarterback, Josh Jackson, who finished with over 300 yards of total offense.
Many people believed the defense would be what won the game for Virginia Tech but in the end, it was the offense who got the job done. Despite making some crucial plays down the stretch, the Lunch Pail defense allowed 592 yards of total offense to West Virginia.
They played nearly a perfect half, only allowing 7 points in the first half, and they were applying pressure on Will Grier. The second half, the Mountaineers began putting together long drives and used the middle of the field to pick apart the Tech defense, highlighted by the Gary Jennings 60-yard touchdown reception in the fourth quarter. Bud Foster realizes that the game has changed and that offenses play at a more up-tempo offense, especially in the Big 12 conferences.
“The offenses now a days, particularly when you’re playing good people, they’re going to have dynamic athletes at certain spots and they’re going to make some plays. You know hopefully the big thing we’ve got to do is keep them from being explosive plays, “said Foster at his weekly press conference on Tuesday.
Despite the yards given up, Bud Foster was still pleased with his defense in the win and loved the fight from the Lunch Pail Defense in a rivalry game with a loud stadium.
“Would we like to have a couple plays back? Sure, but I can’t fault our kid’s effort, they gave a winning effort for 60 minutes in all aspects. That’s what we’re looking for, we can iron out some things,” said Foster at his press conference on Tuesday.
A big highlight for the defense in the win over the Mountaineers was wide receiver turned defensive back, Divine Deablo, who played a key role in the secondary following Terrell Edmund’s injury. He finished the games with 6 total tackles and one crucial pass deflection.
“I’m really pleased that he’s with us (the defense) right now because his upside is tremendous. He’s got length, he’s got coverage ability, he’s got catch radius, hopefully he’ll be able to catch the ball. He’s got all of those things that you’re looking for, “added Foster.
Many Hokies fans have said they’re nervous about Tech’s defensive play from West Virginia. Here are my thoughts about the defense from the game and moving forward:
- West Virginia’s offense is REALLY good. The Hokies defense was phenomenal in the first half but I think part of the reason the team became winded was because of the offense. Virginia Tech scored its first touchdown of the game nearing halftime. The defense was on the field a good amount of the time as the offense was 0/7 to begin the game on 3rd down. You’re asking a lot to keep a team fresh with limited time on the sideline.
- Injuries played a role in the WVU game down the stretch. DT Tim Settle went down early and Terrell Edmunds followed in the second half. Those are two key contributors to the Lunch Pail defense and they’re tough to lose. Coach Fuente and Foster have admitted they are short of depth on the defensive side of the ball and it was difficult to have the two of them go down in the first game.
- Here’s my most important point I want to get across: The defense will be FINE. Despite the total yards they gave up, it certainly didn’t feel like it watching the game. There were plenty of big plays the defense came away with, like the interception by Trevon Hill as West Virginia was close to scoring or Andrew Motuapuaka recording 12 tackles and grabbing a huge sack on Grier in the 2nd They still have one of the best defenses in the country and have three weeks to tune things up before Clemson comes to town.
- Watch for underclassmen to get lots of playing time on defense this weekend vs Delaware. Expect to see a lot of Devon Hunter and Bryce Watts, two heavily recruited defensive backs, get plenty of action as well as Raymon Minor, a defensive end that Coach Foster praised on his appearance on Tech Talk Live last Monday.
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