It was another frustrating day for Virginia Tech losing at Marshall 24-17 on their way to 1-3 for their worst start to a season since 1991. Despite the latest loss, there were some standouts for the Hokies worthy of today's Hokies of the Game honors.
Here's our choices of the top offensive and defensive Hokies in Huntington.
Offensive Hokie of the Game: Bhayshul Tuten
Bhayshul Tuten entered today's game with just over 100 rushing yards but leaves Huntington with nearly double that after finally getting some space to make big things happen and doing just that.
Tuten ran for 88 yards on 9 carries while also adding a team-high 5 catches for 45 yards. Tuten has shown that whenever he gets some space or has no more than a one-on-one matchup, he can not only make guys miss but create big plays. Tuten also proved critical down the stretch in the passing game which included a leaping fourth down reception early on Tech's final drive to get them rolling.
Overall, Tuten has shown that he is a big play threat whenever he doesn't have multiple guys already around him as soon as he gets the ball. If Tech can keep giving Tuten more holes in the running game and space overall in the offense, don't be surprised to see the NC A&T transfer continue to produce big plays.
Benji Gosnell had a strong performance especially in the passing game with 4 catches for a team-high 52 yards. Meanwhile, Kyron Drones had his ups and downs in this game finishing at 19-35 for 160 yards plus 102 rushing yards on 11 non-sack carries. While Drones was sacked four times in this game, it easily could have been more with Drones having fairly good pocket awareness plus good composure when scrambling today.
Defensive Hokie of the Game: Pheldarius Payne
There were a few strong performers on Virginia Tech's defense but none bigger than Pheldarius Payne.
During a season where Tech's interior defensive line hasn't had the best start, the former DE turned DT shined today constantly getting pressure on the backfield. In the end, Payne finished with 4 tackles including 2.0 for loss with 1.5 sacks plus a QB hurry.
Payne had this to say about why he was able to have the success he had today.
"I feel like it was the coaches, of course God, the players around me. I feel like it was the whole front 4 especially with those sacks. Like one person was in the way, he would cut back. I never had a clean rush to him," Payne said.
Payne's strength was in pass rush, but he held up fairly well defending the run and alleviated some of those concerns about what he brings to the table there.
Going forward, Payne has shown that he is worthy of having a significant, regular role in the defensive tackle rotation as someone who consistently got into the backfield in this game, the first time we've seen that from any VT DT this season.
Meanwhile, Keli Lawson had another strong performance with 12 tackles plus an interception while a healthy Keonta Jenkins shined with 5 tackles including 1 for loss plus an interception. Derrick Canteen added 7 tackles including 0.5 for loss while Caleb Woodson had 3 tackles including 1.5 for loss on a day where the STAR linebackers were some of VT's defensive standouts.