Khalil Herbert, Tyler Matheny are the Hokies of the Game Against Duke

By: Tim Thomas | @TimThomasTLP | Oct 04, 2020
Photo Credit: Nell Redmond-USA Today

Despite having a depleted defense, Virginia Tech relied on a strong defensive start and a great second half rushing attack led by Khalil Herbert to beat Duke 38-31. There were plenty of strong performances but two players stood out the most to be this week's Hokies of the Game and you likely won't be surprised by our picks.

Offensive Hokie of the Game: Khalil Herbert

Khalil Herbert easily takes the award this week after a dominant performance the likes of which we haven't seen from a Virginia Tech running back in at least a decade.

Herbert put on a show on offense and special teams as he had 20 carries for 208 yards and 2 touchdowns while also returning 3 kicks for 150 yards including an 83-yarder early in the third quarter that came right after Duke took the lead and was critical in swinging momentum. With those numbers, Herbert became the Hokies' first 200-yard rusher since Darren Evans in 2008 and set the school record for all-purpose yards according to numbers assembled by Andy Bitter of The Athletic.

Herbert not only was a dynamic playmaker who showed great patience and vision to find holes that didn't exist, but he also played with an edge that showed in multiple ways.

One way was how Herbert just was decisive and aggressive once he knew where he was going making cuts with ease and running through defenders to get extra yards. It also showed when Herbert was near the sidelines on multiple runs and cut back inside to try to gain more yards rather than bail out of bounds.

The Hokies have their best running back since David Wilson in Khalil Herbert who could be a big performance and win at UNC away from even entering the Heisman conversation.

Braxton Burmeister had an up and down day with a couple turnovers but also 3 touchdowns (2 rushing, 1 passing) and 217 total yards of offense (163 passing, 54 rushing). Tayvion Robinson had 2 catches for 85 yards and a 10-yard carry but also a muffed punt while Tre Turner had 3 catches for 47 yards and a 5-yard carry. James Mitchell scored for the second-straight week and finished with 3 catches for 23 yards while Raheem Blackshear ran for 47 yards on 13 carries.

Defensive Hokie of the Game: Tyler Matheny

Most Hokie fans likely have never heard of Tyler Matheny till today, but Matheny made sure that his name won't be forgotten in 2020.

With Divine Deablo out today, redshirt sophomore walk-on Tyler Matheny stepped in at free safety and stepped up with a big performances as he had 7 tackles including 2 for loss along with an interception.

Matheny looked more than comfortable in his first career collegiate start and seemed to make his presence known plenty especially in the first half. While he did have his moments, the fact that he was able to play so well stepping in for a player as valuable as Divine Deablo was impressive to say the least.

Matheny rose to the occasion with Deablo out and played a big part in helping the Hokies take down Duke.

This was much closer with a couple of other clear standout candidates as well. Rayshard Ashby was a warrior once again this week playing basically every snap and leading Tech with 10 tackles including 1.5 for loss, 1 of which being a sack. Emmanuel Belmar also had a big game topping Justus Reed's 2 sacks from last week by having 3 this week.

Amare Barno was impressive with 4 tackles including 2 sacks as he showed tons of promise at defensive end. Meanwhile, true freshman Dorian Strong had 5 tackles and a pass breakup in his first career start while Jarrod Hewitt had 5 tackles including 1.5 for loss and Norell Pollard had 4 tackles including 1.5 for loss with 1 being a sack.

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