The Commonwealth Cup is staying in Blacksburg for the 14th-straight as Virginia Tech took care of business with a 10-0 victory over Virginia led by a dominant defensive performance. This game included plenty of quality performances, but a pair of players stood out to be this week’s Hokies of the Game.
Offensive Hokie of the Game: Deshawn McClease
Deshawn McClease gave the Hokies a spark in the running game for the second-straight week and had another strong performance that earned him Hokie of the Game honors. McClease was quite productive with 71 rushing yards on 13 carries including a very good 5.5 yards per carry.
McClease has been able to find some consistency recently and has been Virginia Tech’s best running back this season averaging 4.5 yards per carry while providing some speed and toughness. On top of that, McClease has shown the vision that other VT backs have lacked and has combined that with the burst to take advantage of the holes he’s gotten.
Going forward, McClease should continue to get at least 13-15 carries per game if not more.
Steven Peoples was productive in his return for the Hokies with 22 carries for 71 rushing yards while consistently getting an extra yard or two with some tough running. Hezekiah Grimsley has a breakout game with 5 catches for 56 yards to lead VT in those stats while Cam Phillips had 46 yards on 3 catches and a 10-yard carry.
Defensive Hokie of the Game: Tremaine Edmunds
After being named a Butkus Award finalist this week, Tremaine Edmunds had a big game that helped his chances of becoming the first Hokie to win the Butkus Award. Edmunds was dominant leading the Hokies with 9 tackles, 3 tackles for loss, and 2 sacks in what was one of the best games of his career.
Edmunds was all over the field and made plenty of big plays defending the run and putting pressure on Kurt Benkert. Edmunds has continued to grow and develop into one of the best linebackers in Virginia Tech history. If this is Edmunds’s last season as a Hokie, he went out against UVA in an impressive way leading the charge on one of VT’s best defensive performances in years.
Houshun Gaines stepped up in Vinny Mihota’s place with 4 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, 1 sack, and 1 fumble recovery as he was all over the field and made Kurt Benkert uncomfortable throughout the night. The emergence of Gaines has been significant for the Hokies and is a big reason why many weren’t worried about what VT would do without Mihota starting, at least among the starting defensive line.
Ricky Walker had a very good game with 3 tackles, 1.5 tackles loss, and 1 sack while Tim Settle was also effective with 4 tackles and 0.5 tackles for loss. Khalil Ladler and Deon Newsome both stepped up in their first starts of the season with each player having 4 tackles.
Congrats to Deshawn McClease and Tremaine Edmunds on being our Hokies of the Game.