The Virginia Tech Hokies put up a valiant effort but came up just short with a 30-21 loss against Oklahoma State in the Camping World Bowl. However, the Hokies had plenty of quality performances from guys like Deshawn McClease, Steven Peoples, Andrew Motuapuaka, Tremaine Edmunds, Ricky Walker, and more but 2 VT players stood out above the rest.
Offensive Hokie of the Game: Deshawn McClease
Deshawn McClease had the best game any Virginia Tech RB has had this season as he ran for 124 yards on 18 carries. McClease’s 124 yards were the most for any Hokie in a single game this season with McClease finishing the season well with 265 yards over his final three games and a season high 6.9 yards per carry in this game.
McClease has given the Hokies a spark in the backfield in part because of his speed and burst that allows him to take advantage of the holes he finds better than any other VT tailback. McClease’s speed makes him the most dangerous Hokie running back in space while he has the footwork and agility to make guys miss. Beyond that, McClease has good patience and vision that helps him find the right hole and take advantage of it, or put his head down to just get whatever yards he can get.
McClease may not be a power runner, but he is a versatile guy with the toughness to run between the tackles, and the speed and agility to be a dynamic weapon for VT next season.
Steven Peoples had a strong game in his own right with 10 carries for 56 yards as a very good power compliment to the speedy McClease. Eric Kumah was the Hokies’ best receiver even with a drop on a tough catch as he had 5 catches for 72 yards and a TD including a couple highlight reel catches. Josh Jackson made some mistakes, but also made some big plays on his way to having 3 total touchdowns, 248 passing yards, and 50 rushing yards.
Defensive Hokie of the Game: Andrew Motuapuaka
There were a lot of guys who could have been chosen for this honor, but Andrew Motuapuaka edged it out over Tremaine Edmunds and Ricky Walker. The senior linebacker played well in his final game as a Hokie with 7 tackles, 1 tackle for loss, and a big pass breakup that forced Oklahoma State to kick a field goal early in the game.
Andrew Motuapuaka has received plenty of criticism during his VT career and while he wasn’t a perfect player, most of the criticism was usually off base. Motuapuaka may not have been the best mike linebacker to play for VT, but he was definitely one of the better ones who developed into a very good player in coverage and a quality run defender. Motuapuaka had some athletic limitations, but his work ethic and hustle made up for it as we saw on plays like his pass breakup or the big tackle for loss that made Oklahoma State’s field goal a little longer.
Tremaine Edmunds had 7 tackles and made multiple good open-field tackles and plays around the line of scrimmage. Edmunds had a strong game even if he didn’t have some of the flashier stats that stand out more. Ricky Walker was a force on the interior with 4 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, and 1 sack as Walker showed why he’s one of the most underrated defensive lineman in the country.
Congrats to Deshawn McClease and Andrew Motuapuaka on being our Hokies of the Game.