Photo Credit: ACC Media
Virginia Tech's rushing attack continues to be among the best in America and that showed tonight as the Hokies ran all over Boston College on their way to a comfortable victory.
#23 Virginia Tech beat Boston College 40-14 to improve to 3-1 (3-1 ACC) on the season with the Eagles falling to 3-2 (2-2 ACC).
Virginia Tech's rushing attack led the way tonight as the Hokies once again broke 300 rushing yards for the third time in four games this season. What makes it more impressive is that Tech had only broken 300 rushing yards twice against ACC opponents ever prior to this season.
As a whole, Tech's offense fired on all cylinders for the most part averaging an impressive 8.23 yards per play tonight which includes an average of 8.5 yards per carry. Tech finished the night with a total of 461 yards of offense, 350 of which came on the ground.
Hendon Hooker had a big game tonight as he ran for 164 yards and 3 touchdowns on 18 carries while also going 11-15 through the air for 111 yards and a touchdown. Tech's offense showed promise prior to Hooker's return but has come alive not only because of his production but also because of the vertical passing threat that he adds stretching defenses even further and allowing him and Khalil Herbert to take advantage.
Speaking of Herbert, the star transfer had another impressive game with 18 carries for 143 yards along with a 29-yard touchdown reception off of a screen play. Herbert became the first Hokie to run for 100+ rushing yards in at least four games in a single season since David Wilson in 2011. Herbert and Hooker also became the first Hokie duo to each run for more than 100 rushing yards since Darren Evans and Tyrod Taylor did so on October 2nd, 2010.
Raheem Blackshear had a solid night with 3 carries for 33 yards including a 28-yard touchdown run plus a 9-yard reception. Kaleb Smith led Tech in receptions with 3 for 16 yards while Tayvion Robinson had 2 catches for 29 yards plus a 12-yard run, and James Mitchell had 2 catches for 20 yards.
Defensively, Tech had their ups and downs but they benefitted early from a pair of first quarter that stopped strong BC drives. Tech eventually found their footing some in the second half and though they gave up 435 yards of offense, they did force 5 turnovers including 2 interceptions and a couple nice forced fumbles by veteran DBs Divine Deablo and Chamarri Conner. Holding BC to 5.72 yards per play is also solid though Tech will definitely look to improve that going forward.
Tech's rush defense also had a solid night as a whole after a slow start as they held BC to only 3.6 yards per carry. However, Phil Jurkovec did have a big game for BC as he went 28-51 for 345 yards, 2 TDs, and 2 INTs along with 13 rushing yards while Jaelen Gill was the surprise leading receiver with 6 catches for 104 yards and a touchdown.
Chamarri Conner was one of the biggest stars of this game leading the Hokies with 11 tackles including 0.5 for loss while also having a forced fumble and pass breakup. This was a major bounce back game after being ejected for targeting in last week's loss at North Carolina.
Amare Barno shined wearing #25 for the first time as he had 3 total tackles, all of which came for loss including 0.5 sacks (2.0 total TFLs in the state book). Devin Taylor received the start at free safety and shined as the Illinois State grad transfer had his first career Hokie interception plus a pair of tackles.
Divine Deablo returned and started for the Hokies, having a solid performance with a big forced fumble on BC's opening drive to go with 5 tackles including one for loss and a pass breakup. Brion Murray also returned after missing the past two games and had a solid performance with 4 tackles along with a fourth quarter interception to help blow the game even more wide open.
Virginia Tech had their ups and downs with some BC fumbles proving quite beneficial for the Hokies in the early goings. From there, Tech seized control with a dominant rushing performance and opportunistic defensive play that improved from the first to second half.