After extending their win streak over Virginia to 15 last week, Virginia Tech extended their bowl streak to 26 years with a resounding 41-20 win over Marshall to pick up that necessary sixth win for bowl eligibility. Virginia Tech had several good performances, but the Hokies’ quarterbacks of the offense and defense earned today’s Hokies of the Game honors.
Offensive Hokie of the Game: Ryan Willis
After plenty of struggles over the past few weeks, Ryan Willis had one of his best games as a Hokie and arguably his best half on his way to going 18-26 for 312 yards and 4 touchdowns. Willis was particularly good in the first half going 12-16 for 254 yards and 4 touchdowns with multiple impressive deep throws.
Willis may not have had the best second half, but he put on a show in the first half with plenty of accurate throws while he could have easily had a fifth touchdown if it wasn’t for a Hezekiah Grimsley drop where he admitted after that he was a little “too excited” when he saw how wide open he was. Overall, Willis was very good today and looked like the quarterback that impressed in his early starts against Duke and Notre Dame.
Going forward, this is the type of game that Willis can build off of as he prepares for his first bowl game and heads towards the offseason where a QB battle is very likely.
Tre Turner had another very good performance with 3 receptions for 99 yards and a touchdown along with 3 carries for 10 yards. Eric Kumah had 4 catches for 63 yards and a touchdown while Hezekiah Grimsley had 2 catches for 64 yards and a touchdown. Steven Peoples led the Hokies on the ground with 14 carries for 78 yards while also having a 7-yard touchdown reception.
Defensive Hokie of the Game: Rayshard Ashby
Rayshard Ashby has dealt with some injuries this season, but the sophomore linebacker from Richmond has kept fighting and had one of his best games today. Ashby had a career high 15 tackles including a tackle for loss while also having a pair of QB hurries for this game.
After the game, Bud Foster had plenty of praise for Ashby not only for his playmaking skills but even more for his leadership skills in the heart of the Hokies’ defense. Today, those playmaking and leadership skills showed as Ashby was all over the field making plays while his leadership has continued to be something coaches praise.
Ashby has fought through injuries on his way to having a productive debut season as a starter including one of his best performances today.
Bryce Watts had his first career interception along with a pass breakup and 2 tackles including 1 that kept Marshall from scoring a long touchdown run, though they scored three plays later. Ricky Walker had another very good performance with 6 tackles including a strip sack while Dax Hollifield was productive with 9 tackles.
Congrats to Ryan Willis and Rayshard Ashby on being the Hokies of the Game.