The formerly ranked #12 Virginia Tech Hokies lost 31-17 to the #2 Clemson Tigers, and dropped in the polls because of it.
The Hokies were outmatched against the Tigers, who have 5-star playmakers at almost every position, and it showed out on the field. Because of that loss, Virginia Tech is now ranked #19 in the Coaches Poll and #16 in the AP Poll, dropping four spots after their loss ahead of Saturday’s game at Boston College.
Josh Jackson was 29-44 for 251 yards, one touchdown, and two interceptions against the Tigers who have one of the best, if not the best, defensive lines in the country. Jackson was only sacked twice on Saturday, and he has been sacked once in each other game this season.
Cam Phillips led the Hokies with 74 receiving yards on 7 catches, although freshman wide receiver Sean Savoy had the only two touchdowns for the team on a jet sweep and a 30-yard pass from Jackson. The team started off slow early, allowing Clemson to score 10 points in the first quarter, but the game was still in reach. The Hokies were down 17-3 at half but hung around, and scored two touchdowns, although Jackson threw two interceptions, one of which was a pick-six, sealing the deal for the Tigers.
The drop to #16 from #12 is good for the Hokies, who are now the third-highest ranked ACC team in the AP Poll, with #2 Clemson and #13 Miami in front of them. Miami moved up one spot after defeating Duke 31-6 in Durham on Friday, and Clemson did not move after their win over the Hokies.
Louisville is the fourth-best ACC team in the AP Poll, behind the Hokies at #17. The Cardinals are 4-1 after defeating Murray State 55-10 this weekend. Lamar Jackson, Heisman Trophy winner from last season and Heisman contender this season, is 112-175 for 1636 yards and 13 touchdowns, along with 3 interceptions. Jackson has also rushed for 437 yards on 72 carries this season, and he has scored 5 touchdowns.
The only other team in the ACC that is ranked in the AP Poll is #24 North Carolina State, who entered the AP Poll for the first time this season at 4-1, coming off a 33-25 win over ACC opponent Syracuse. The Wolfpack and the Cardinals face off on Thursday night at 8 PM on ESPN. Florida State is 1-2 and received 15 votes, while Georgia Tech is 3-1 and received 10 votes.
In the Coaches Poll, Clemson remains at #2, with Miami moving up a spot to #12. Louisville jumped one spot to #17, and Virginia Tech dropped 7 all the way to #19. North Carolina State is still at #24. Florida State and Georgia Tech both received votes in the Coaches Poll, and they each face off against Miami, one week after another, with the Seminoles hosting the Hurricanes in Tallahassee and the Yellow Jackets traveling to Miami next week.
The Hokies sit at a solid position in both of the polls, where a win next week against Boston College and results from Louisville-North Carolina State and Miami-Florida State will shake up the ACC and the polls ahead of them. The Hokies have an open week after Boston College this weekend, and they host North Carolina on October 21, which is the homecoming game for the Hokies, as well as the orange effect game.
Then, the Hokies host Duke the following week, and go on a two-game road trip to Miami and Georgia Tech. After that, they will return home to face Pittsburgh, before driving up the road to keep the Commonwealth Cup against in-state rivals Virginia. Virginia Tech could definitely run this table and win every game until the end of the regular season. If they do that, they will be ranked fairly high when they would most likely face Clemson again in the ACC Championship game on December 2 in Charlotte.
The Hokies seemed to have played poorly against the Tigers this weekend, but as rankings show, the game was much closer than the score appeared to show. The Hokies had three turnovers while the Tigers had zero, which was the biggest difference and factor between the two teams. Virginia Tech’s defense gave up 24 points against the best team in the nation while the offense scored 17, with Jackson throwing a pick six which put Clemson up to 31.
Virginia Tech competed with Clemson, and kept the game fairly close after giving up early points, but the game just slipped out of the Hokies’ fingertips due to turnovers. If the Hokies can run the table, we will be seeing the Tigers in Charlotte in three months.