The Virginia Tech football team opened their season in a disappointing manner losing to Boston College 35-28 largely due to poor pass coverage, questionable playcalling, and five turnovers including 3 interceptions and a fumble from Ryan Willis.
Despite that, the Hokies did have some great performances with Virginia Tech's receiving corps and Rayshard Ashby standing out the most to earn our Hokies of the Game honors.
Offensive Hokies of the Game: VT Receivers
It would be wrong to single out one of the Virginia Tech receivers in what was a very impressive performance for the entire group even though they didn't have one of their top two targets, redshirt junior Damon Hazelton.
There's plenty of places to start but it's hard not to mention the debut of Tayvion Robinson. Robinson proved to be a reliable playmaker in the slot with a team-high 6 receptions for 72 yards and a touchdown where he showed great body control to keep his knee up along with a great diving effort. Robinson lived up to the hype and then some, giving the Hokies another playmaker in the slot in a receiving corps that is deeper than any Hokie fans have seen in a long time.
Hezekiah Grimsley didn't have a perfect day with a muffed punt but he was quite good in his primary role with 4 catches for 96 yards including a 55-yard touchdown that was a highlight reel play not only because of the well-thrown pass but also because of the well-run route. Tre Turner was a bell cow type receiver with 5 catches for 49 yards despite being the center of attention for the Boston College defense with Hazelton out.
In his first game for the Hokies, redshirt freshman Kaleb Smith was full of highlight reel plays on his way to having 4 catches for 62 yards and a touchdown, emerging as a major, positive surprise for the Hokies. Like Robinson and Smith, James Mitchell also had his first career reception and receiving touchdown with a pair of catches for 22 yards.
Overall, the biggest theme of this game was the fact that the Hokies have a deep receiving corps full of playmakers that also has the type of WR/TE depth that Virginia Tech hasn't had in a long time if ever. If the Hokies can eliminate some of the bad decision at QB and open up the offense to take advantage of the talent this unit offers, this passing attack has the potential to be one of the top 10 or so in the country and give teams lots of nightmares
Defensive Hokie of the Game: Rayshard Ashby
Virginia Tech's defense showed some signs of improvement even on a day where they gave up some big plays in the passing game. The Hokies' rush defense showed plenty of improvement and looked like a strength with Rayshard Ashby being a major reason putting together an impressive performance that showed how the junior linebacker has continued to improve.
Ashby was impressive with 13 tackles including 3.5 for loss, 1 sack; the only sack on the day for the Hokies, and 1 pass breakup. The former L.C. Bird star was all over the field making plays and was a difference maker on a defense that needs playmakers at linebackers with a defensive line that can clog up opposing blockers but has question marks about actual ability to make plays.
There's no doubt that Ashby is a playmaker at the mike linebacker spot and showed today why there's plenty of reason to believe that he could be an All-ACC player this season.
Divine Deablo fought through briefly being shaken up on one play to finish the game with 10 tackles including 0.5 tackles for loss showing his value to the Hokies at free safety. Reggie Floyd also had a solid game with 9 tackles while also making a great play in the first half to breakup a pass after some sort of miscommunication between Floyd and CB Caleb Farley.