Virginia Tech took care of business yesterday with a 27-0 shutout victory over Delaware. The Hokies slept-walk through most of the game with the defense playing much better in the second half. It wasn’t an inspiring effort for the Hokies, but this game did show that they have the talent to dominate a decent FCS team even when they don’t really show up.
When a team doesn’t show up, it’s hard to take much away from that game. However, there are some teams we learned about the Hokies yesterday.
1. Tremaine Edmunds is who we knew he was.
Tremaine Edmunds had a relatively quiet game against West Virginia with 7 tackles and though he had a quality game, it wasn’t the flashy performance that people hoped for that made many panic that Edmunds wasn’t the same player.
Yesterday likely quieted those ridiculous claims.
Edmunds played how you’d expect a Preseason All-ACC player would against a FCS opponent with 14 tackles, 4 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, 1 QB hurry, and 1 forced fumble. Edmunds was all over the field making plays off blitzes and being dominant as a run defender that gave Thomas Jefferson and Delaware’s tailbacks lots of problems.
Tremaine Edmunds is a special talent and it showed yesterday with as he made great decisions and used his athletic skills to make some impressive plays yesterday. This combination makes him almost impossible for opposing defensive coordinators to prepare and is a big reason why he could be an All-American this year.
Tremaine Edmunds played like the star he is yesterday in what was one of his most dominant games of his career.
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2. Jalen Holston’s role is certain to grow.
Jalen Holston made his full debut Saturday, receiving 8 carries in the fourth quarter with Josh Jackson still under center. In those eight carries, Holston played well with 32 yards on his first 8 carries, most of which were right up the middle.
While those numbers may not seem that impressive, those are very good numbers given how most of those carries were right up the middle at the end of the game when Delaware was expecting it. When Holston saw his hole, he pounced and ran with plenty of aggression and toughness that helped him average four yards per carry.
Holston wasn’t able to break a big run, but he also didn’t go down easily and was able to fight for some extra yards. Holston proved that he has the potential to be a lead back later on this season as he continues to grow and gain more experience.
Jalen Holston played well in what was his “true” debut being the Hokies’ best tailback, and should see more carries earlier in upcoming games.
3. Running Game Concerns Return
Outside of Jalen Holston’s solid fourth quarter possession, Virginia Tech’s running game was terrible with Deshawn McClease, Travon McMillian, and Steven Peoples combining for 28 rushing yards on 10 carries. That is extremely disappointing for three guys who all had at least 34 rushing yards last week against West Virginia.
Virginia Tech is going to need their running game to get back going like it did against West Virginia or teams are going to be able to sit in coverage more, making life more difficult for Josh Jackson. One thing that helped Jackson a lot against the Mountaineers was the fact that he had a reliable running game to force WVU to play the run.
Looking ahead to next week, East Carolina will likely play more of a pass defense early to see if the Hokies can establish their running game as they did against West Virginia. If they can, this offense ill be fine and Josh Jackson should have more space to push the ball down the field.
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Extra Point: What Happened Between the Third and Fourth Quarter
When it was announced that Virginia Tech would change their third to fourth quarter break tradition away from the Hokie Pokie, there was some disappointment but an overwhelming majority were excited to see what Virginia Tech would do.
After yesterday, many are wishing for the Hokie Pokie’s return.
I’m not sure what exactly that was yesterday and you can’t really blame Tim Sands for this one. Yes, he could have done a better job with the “Let’s Go Hokies!” chant, but the whole thing was weird. If anything, this was an uncomfortable, off-brand version of the Chicago Cubs’ 7th inning stretch where a celebrity Cubs fan usually comes to sing it.
That works in baseball. That doesn’t work in college football on its own.
Part of the issue wasn’t just the chant, but the lack of anything after it to engage fans going into the fourth quarter. It was an awkward chant that kind of just ended and went back into a normal TV timeout mode instead of trying to build some momentum.
Part of the failure may have been due to the environment so we’ll give them a partial pass in that regard. However, Virginia Tech has some work to do in the next couple of weeks to make sure this isn’t a complete bust in bigger games.