Postgame Thoughts on Virginia Tech's 33-10 Loss to West Virginia

Postgame Thoughts on Virginia Tech's 33-10 Loss to West Virginia
Photo Credit: Harley Taylor
Tim Thomas

Tim Thomas | @TimThomasTLP

TLP: Editor
Sep 22, 2022

There was plenty of excitement for Virginia Tech fans heading into their Thursday night showdown with West Virginia. Tech got off to a strong start, but the game swung over the final 2 minutes of the first half and third quarter with West Virginia blowing it wide open on their way to a comfortable 33-10 victory over the Hokies.

Here are my initial three postgame thoughts on the Hokies' loss to WVU.

1. Penalties, Penalties, and More Penalties

Look, West Virginia was clearly the better team tonight and rightly won this game, but Virginia Tech also shot themselves in the foot in so many ways tonight with their numerous penalties.

In the end, Tech had 15 penalties for 132 yards. It's almost impossible to win a game with that many penalties unless you're Alabama who had 15 penalties in their win against Texas. But that also requires you to have the talent that Alabama has which is definitely not the case in Blacksburg.

There's plenty of issues that Brent Pry got handed upon his arrival but this was not one of them and after those issues seemed to get resolve, that proved to be not true tonight. That starts with Pry and the disciple within the culture he's trying to establish that clearly has a lot of work to do.

Part of what makes it worse is that some of these penalties were committed by captains from the Dax Hollifield iffy roughing the passer on a fourth down stop to a Norell Pollard hands to the face on a third down stop. Tech's offensive line had numerous little penalties that put the Hokies behind the down and stalled out drives while the worst moment may have been a delay of game after a false start.

Look, this next month isn't going to be pretty with lots of issues that may have 0 fixes this season, but the penalties are something that can be fixed and needs to be.

2. The Rushing Game Is a Mess

The rushing game is a disaster. There's no sugarcoating this. The blocking is bad. Tech has a solid running back in Keshawn King but no playmakers to spell him like West Virginia has with CJ Donaldson, Tony Mathis, and Justin Johnson Jr.

The return of King made you wonder if that would be the spark to ignite a struggling rushing game but instead, Tech dug themselves deeper into a hole. To Tyler Bowen's credit, he made some adjustments to basically create extended runs with dump-off passes that King and Chance Black both had some longer plays off of with it also giving them chances to have one-on-one matchups.

However, Tech has loads of issues starting with an offensive line that is simply bad at run blocking. I don't think anyone could have imagined that given the experience Tech returned at that unit but that unit clearly has not taken steps forward whether that's because of just being uncomfortable in a new scheme, being overrated talent wise, or likely both.

Tech also didn't rotate anyone else into the game in what seems like a sign that Tech doesn't have much confidence in the other options they have in the trenches.

Meanwhile, King and Holston combined for only 22 rushing yards on 10 carries with Tech's running backs having only one run that went for more than 2 yards. That's in addition to all the short yardage issues including the consecutive 3rd and 1, and 4th and 1 stops after a 4th and 1 stop against Wofford last week.

Those issues are borderline crimes against the game of football with a rushing attack that is a complete mess with issues in just about every facet from a bad offensive line to a rushing attack lacking firepower outside of Keshawn King and Malachi Thomas who probably isn't good enough to ignite this rushing game with the issues that they have.

3. Long Road Ahead In 2022

There's no doubt that Hokie fans have rightly tons of pride about Virginia Tech, but the next month and a half may be one of the worst in a long time for Tech football.

Losses against Old Dominion and West Virginia have exposed the depth of the hole on just about every front that Justin Fuente has left this program including talent while penalty issues have been a surprise given that was one of the few somewhat good things at the end of the Fuente era.

Let's be honest, this is one of the bottom 4 teams in the ACC this year and the schedule the next 4 games is brutal to say the least.

  • at North Carolina
  • at Pittsburgh
  • vs Miami
  • at N.C. State

Virginia Tech will mercifully get a reprieve at the beginning of November when Georgia Tech comes to Blacksburg but given what this team has currently, I would be surprised if they weren't 2-6 on a five-game losing streak needing to win four-straight games against Georgia Tech, Duke, Liberty, and Virginia to reach a bowl game.

Now is it possible that Tech could pull off a 6-6 season to get to a bowl game? Maybe but the odds of that seem very low.

Folks, this is going to be a tough, humbling rebuild at Virginia Tech with year 1 showing the depths of the work that Brent Pry has ahead of him.