There was plenty of head scratching in Blacksburg headlined by the odd decision to give Knox Kadum a few reps in a 7-0 game in the second quarter inside the 10-yard line. However, the Hokies used a solid defensive game, 2 good first offensive possessions of each half, and a punt return TD by Tayvion Robinson to avoid disaster.
Virginia Tech beat Richmond 21-10 to improve to 3-1 on the season while the Spiders fall to 2-2. Tech now heads into a bye as they'll look to hit the reset button after struggling the past two weeks before they take on Notre Dame.
Tech's defense reigned supreme in the first half as they held Richmond in check giving up only 101 yards while preventing the Spiders from converting a third down on 7 attempts. The Hokies' defense had some early struggles in the second half, but they didn't break only allowing a field goal while the Spiders' only touchdown came after an INT that set up the Spiders up in the red zone.
Overall, it was a solid performance for Tech's defense with a strong first half but room for improvement in what is Tech's clearly better unit.
Tech's offense was great on their first possessions of each halves, but were unable to put together sustained drives otherwise. Playcalling did seem better with the playbook opened up but Burmeister's limitations as a passer showed with some downfield inaccuracy. Tech's offensive line didn't have a great day as the Hokies averaged under 4 yards per carry which does include 2 sacks but would still likely be the case even without including those.
The Hokies averaged a meager 5.1 yards per play which was fortunately balanced out by Richmond only allowing 4 yards per play. Tech did kick it in gear some on third down in the second half after starting 1-6 on that down finishing the game 5-7.
Burmeister had an okay game overall going 17-27 for 212 yards and a touchdown plus 35 rushing yards as he had some great throws, but also some big misses on some easy ones while making his receivers work for a few.
Tre Turner was more than happy and hungry to do that work though as the veteran receiver was a star today with 6 catches for 102 yards and a touchdown that was a highlight reel toe tap after Burmeister missed a wide open Turner on the previous play.
Tayvion Robinson was also a star with his 60-yard punt return touchdown plus 6 catches for 76 yards as Tech's two star wide receivers were both playing at a very high level. Robinson has looked much more like he did in 2019 if not better on punt returns this season having another long one that was called back due to a hold.
Jalen Holston led Tech in rushing with 37 yards on 8 carries plus a one-yard reception while Raheem Blackshear had 7 carries for 28 yards and 2 catches for 20 yards, with Connor Blumrick having a rushing touchdown.
Dax Hollifield led Tech's defense as he had 8 tackles including a sack while Alan Tisdale was VT's leading tackler with 9 on the game as the linebacker play continues to be strong for the Hokies. Jermaine Waller was productive as though he didn't have his fourth interception in four games, he did have 6 tackles including 1 for loss with Tae Daley also having 6 tackles including 1 for loss.
Punter Peter Moore may have underthrown the fake punt pass attempt, but was great in his primary job with a 44.7 yards per punt average that doesn't tell the full story as 4 of his 6 punts were inside the 20 including 3 inside of the 10.
In a nutshell, this was an uninspiring, lackluster performance from the Hokies with the Hokies kind of playing on cruise control in some regards. Of course, Tech's defense did look solid as a whole while the wide receivers made some big plays headlined by Tre Turner, but there was plenty to be desired especially on a day where Pittsburgh absolute walloped a similarly FCS ranked New Hampshire team.
This was also a Richmond team that didn't really seem to be playing well either and yet the Hokies still couldn't shake them off without a lot of work.
Fuente deserves plenty of criticism for not only another disappointing performance against an FCS opponent, but also for his decision to bring in Knox Kadum in the second quarter down only 7 with Tech inside their red zone. Of course, that backfired worse than anyone could have imagined, but that decision still made no sense.
It might be a win, but Justin Fuente's hot seat only got a little hotter after a frustrating game that raises plenty of doubts of whether this offense can actually score enough points to still be a top contender in a fairly wide open ACC Coastal.
We will have more as this story develops.