Even in the disappointing 22-21 loss to #24 N.C. State, Virginia Tech had several players who put together strong showings with two standing out the most to earn this week's TLP Hokies of the Game honors.
Offensive Hokie of the Game: Kaleb Smith
This one is a pretty obvious choice as Kaleb Smith was once again phenomenal for the Hokies being the home run spark plug that changed the game and put Tech in a shockingly good position to win before blowing their 21-3 lead.
Smith had Tech's 2 largest pass plays of the season on his way to having 3 catches for 146 yards including an 85-yard touchdown where he beat his man over the top with Grant Wells throwing a perfect pass plus a tremendous 50-yard catch where he showed great body control to make the play.
Smith has taken major strides this season and developed into a dynamic playmaker for the Hokies and a true WR1.
Grant Wells got some fair criticism but he was far from being one of Tech's top issues and made some big plays to give the Hokies a great chance. He finished the night with a pair of rushing touchdowns while going 11-22 for 243 yards and a TD showing both his great potential due to his arm strength and solid mobility, but also room for growth with the lack of touch he has on his passes.
Dae'Quan Wright continues to look like Tech's second best pass game threat as he had 2 catches for 46 yards on Tech's first drive of the second half, just as many yards as Tech had in the whole first half. Malachi Thomas made his mark in the passing game with 2 catches for 34 yards while also having 21 yards on 9 carries on a night where he didn't have a much of a chance with the way VT's OL played.
Defensive Hokie of the Game: Alan Tisdale
There were a couple of possibilities here, but Alan Tisdale gets the edge after what was a very good performance from the veteran will linebacker who has steadied the ship at that position since he became eligible this season prior to the Miami game.
Tisdale led the Hokies with 11 tackles last night including a sack on a play where he completely overpowered the RB who tried but couldn't stop him from getting the sack. Tisdale has provided the type of consistency that was lacking at the will LB position which has helped Tech's defense and is part of why VT prevented any N.C. State runner from averaging 4+ yards per carry who ran the ball multiple times, a big part of why Tech's defense was dominant for the first 40 minutes.
There have been plenty of doubts about how valuable or replaceable Alan Tisdale was, but he's shown this year that he's an important piece for the Hokies both in his absence and now with his play.
Armani Chatman didn't put up a lot of numbers, but for a cornerback, that's a good thing as he was strong all night in coverage and also had 2 tackles plus a pass breakup on a near interception that was a great read by Chatman coming out of man over to create a double coverage situation on a down-field pass and break it up.
Dax Hollifield and Chamarri Conner each made some good plays as both had 7 tackles with Conner having a tackle for loss. Mansoor Delane had some issues down the stretch, but was pretty solid overall and played well for the first 40ish minutes finishing the night with 10 tackles, 2 pass breakups, and a forced fumble.