Last night, the Virginia Tech Hokies took the field for the first time since Frank Beamer announced his decision to retire at the end of the season. Many Hokie fans made the trip to Atlanta for the game with the hopes that Virginia Tech could get a much-needed win.
After a rough first quarter, Virginia Tech stepped up and got the job done in Frank Beamer’s final regular season appearance on Thursday Night.
After the Hokies went down 14-0 in the first quarter, Virginia Tech outscored Georgia Tech 23-9 in the final three quarters and went to 5-5 with a nail-biting 23-21 victory. Both teams had moments where it seemed like they were trying to find ways to lose, but the Hokies were the ones that were able to find a way to win.
Georgia Tech marched down the field on two of their first three possessions against a Virginia Tech defense that just didn’t really seem in the game. However, Bud Foster was able to get his defense going in dominant with the Hokies only allowing only 115 total yards in the final three quarters.
Andrew Motuapuaka made some mistakes early, but flipped the switch and got going before Georgia Tech got too big of a lead. Motuapuaka ended the game with a strong night of 12 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, and 0.5 sacks after a rough start in which he made some assignment mistakes.
Ken Ekanem didn’t have a great start to the season, but the junior defensive end is starting to look like the player that was nearly an All-ACC Preseason First Team player with 5 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, and 1 sack. Ekanem has been heating up all season, and is playing well at a good time with North Carolina’s impressive offense coming to Lane Stadium in eight days.
Offensively, Travon McMillian was once again a force with his best game of the season as he had 23 carries for 135 rushing yards, 2 rushing touchdowns, and an average of 5.6 yards per carry. Georgia Tech was able to slow down McMillian for about a couple plays early but once the redshirt freshman got going, there was no stopping him.
McMillian is clearly Virginia Tech’s best running back since David Wilson, and is showing the potential to continue on the legacy of great Virginia Tech running backs with another great performance.
Michael Brewer did not have his best night for the Hokies as he was 15-for-29 with 178 passing yards, 1 passing touchdown, and 1 interception. Brewer had a good first half, but had a lot of struggles in the second half including a pass thrown way behind Bucky Hodges that was intercepted and returned for a touchdown.
Cam Phillips lost a fumble on his first reception of the game, but came back with a chip on his shoulder after that play, and had arguably his best game of the season with 6 catches for 95 yards. Isaiah Ford was shut out in the second half, but made plenty of plays in the first half with 5 catches for 46 yards and his eighth receiving touchdown of the season, putting him one away from tying the single-season record.
Frank Beamer looked the healthiest he has all season on the sideline, and showed tons of energy throughout the game. Unfortunately, some of that was frustration in the tough first quarter, but the passion that Beamer has seemed to rub off a lot on the Hokies and helped them keep pushing.
The Hokies got a much-needed win, and have significantly improved their chances at sending out Frank Beamer with a 23rd-straight bowl game appearance.