Despite the short week, the question going into Virginia Tech's game against William & Mary was more focused on whether VT would cover the massive spread rather than whether W&M could give the Hokies a possible scare.
#12 Virginia Tech beat William & Mary in a game where the Hokies' first offense and defense were absolutely dominant in their limited action. With the win, the Hokies improved to 2-0 on the season while the Tribe fell to 1-1.
The Hokies' offense was absolutely dominant no matter who was in with VT having 12 offensive possessions, scoring on 10 of them with 8 touchdowns and 2 field goals. Their 2 non-scoring possessions also didn't result in a punt with one possession ending in a fumble and the other running out the clock at the end of the game. Defensively, the Hokies were dominant with the first team defense holding William & Mary to only one touchdown on a 2-play, 75-yard drive where W&M had 75% of their first half yards.
The Hokies' offense may be the headlined coming out of this game and after getting the ball to start the game, they didn't take long to get going. After a Deshawn McClease fumble, Houshun Gaines got the ball back almost immediately for the Hokies with a forced fumble. From there, the Hokies dominated the first quarter starting with a six-yard Steven Peoples TD run followed by a Brian Johnson 31-yard field goal with a 39-yard touchdown pass from Josh Jackson to Damon Hazelton capping off the first quarter for a Hokies' offense that looked sloppy at times but prolific.
Meanwhile, the Hokies' defense came out firing with 6 tackles for loss in addition to Houshun Gaines forcing a fumble that was recovered by Jarrod Hewitt. In addition, the Hokies' defense held the Tribe to only 30 yards of offense, not as good as when they held FSU's offense to -7 yards in the third quarter, but still a strong defensive start.
The onslaught continued in the second quarter with the Hokies scoring three touchdowns on their three offensive possessions. The Hokies' scoring started with an eight-yard touchdown run that seemed like a minor gain for Josh Jackson before most of the offense pushed him into the endzone. William & Mary did respond after that with a 2-play drive that included a 71-yard gain followed by a four-yard TD run from Chris Evans.
However, the Hokies responded quickly with another long touchdown drive finished off by a four-yard touchdown run from Steven Peoples. After another defensive stop, the Hokies decided to take Jackson out to bring in Ryan Willis who led the Hokies down the field on another touchdown drive that was finished off by a one-yard touchdown run from Deshawn McClease.
Overall, the Hokies dominated the first half outgaining the Tribe 401-100 with 75 of the Tribe's 100 yards coming on one possession. In addition, the Hokies' defense had 7 tackles for loss and forced a turnover in the first half. Virginia Tech had a couple close calls on fumbles and did lose a McClease one early while Zachariah Hoyt had a couple of bad snaps. Outside of that, the Hokies' offense was absolutely dominant especially in the second quarter where VT's ball security and snapping issues early in the game went away.
After a dominant first half, the Hokies kept the heat on in the second half with VT bringing out their first team defense and offense for their respective units' opening possesions with Houshun Gaines forcing a fumble and Terius Wheatley scoring a 1-yard touchdown run, the first of his career, at the end of a 51-yard drive.
After that, the Hokies brought in the second team defense, but they struggled on their first possession giving up a long touchdown pass to DeVonte Dedmon after Dedmon made a couple guys miss and broke away. Virginia Tech's second team offense took over and responded with Brian Johnson making a career-long 45- yard field goal. On the next offensive possession, the Hokies took advantage of a short field from a high snap off of a punt with Ryan Willis being pushed into the endzone for a 7-yard touchdown run, his first career TD as a Hokie.
The competition may not have been the toughest, but Josh Jackson was impressive today going 12-for-16 for 217 yards and a passing touchdown while running for 21 yards and a touchdown on 3 carries. The redshirt sophomore was in total control of the Hokies' offense today and was able to build a lot of confidence and consistency with an offensive unit that was on fire today.
In the backfield, Steven Peoples had a huge game rushing for 55 yards and 2 touchdowns on 6 carries including his two longest career runs while also having 2 catches for 34 yards. Terius Wheatley was also impressive leading the Hokies with 58 yards on 7 carries including a 1-yard touchdown run. Deshawn McClease had a fumble early, but returned and had 35 yards and a touchdown on 10 carries.
The Virginia Tech wide receivers played well led by Damon Hazelton who had 4 catches for 107 yards and a touchdown, his second career 100-yard game and first in a VT uniform. Hezekiah Grimsley also was dangerous out of the slot with 3 catches for 68 yards and 3 carries for 18 yards. Wearing the #25 jersey, Eric Kumah had 2 catches for 23 yards on what was a quiet afternoon for the Hokies' third starting receiver.
Among the backup QBs, Ryan Willis went 4-for-7 for 64 yards while running for a 7-yard touchdown run. Hendon Hooker made his collegiate debut and had a 69-yard touchdown run on his first possession. Meanwhile, backup RB Jalen Holston finished the game with 10 carries for 47 yards.
Defensively, Houshun Gaines led the charge as the redshirt junior DE had 2 tackles, 2 forced fumbles, and 1 fumble recovery with his first fumble coming via a strip sack. Reggie Floyd also had a big game with 7 tackles including 2 for loss. Khalil Ladler had a solid game with 4 tackles including 1.5 for loss.
Dax Hollifield spent some time with the first and second defenses and played well with 5 tackles including 1.5 for loss while fellow true freshman and backup safety Chamarri Conner came in during the second half and had 5 tackles. Zion DeBose also had 5 tackles including 0.5 for loss.
While the Hokies were expected to dominate the Tribe, this game should be a great confidence booster for an offense that struggled to find consistency especially with the Hokies' first team scoring on all but one possession, which was due to a Deshawn McClease fumble.
Photo Credit: Harley Taylor
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