The Virginia Tech Hokies lost. At Old Dominion. By two touchdowns. Yes, I'm being serious. And Old Dominion's quarterback threw for 495 yards, the most since 1993 when Maryland's quarterback threw for 498. 49-35, Virginia Tech falls in Norfolk.
Hokies defensive coordinator Bud Foster said postgame, "I was thoroughly embarrassed and disappointed in our play defensively and I take full responsibility for it."
His defense allowed 632 yards of total offense. Standing on the sidelines watching the game, Tech's secondary look like a disaster, while Tech couldn't get any penetration up front. Ricky Walker said that the Monarchs were "max protecting" after the second drive, meaning they had seven players acting as blockers for the quarterback on almost every play. Even still, Tech should have been able to overcome adversity and make adjustments.
Steven Peoples had 20 carries for 161 yards rushing and 2 touchdowns, the first time a running back has had 150-plus yards in a game for Tech since the 2013 Military Bowl when J.C. Coleman had 153. Josh Jackson left in the third quarter with an apparent ankle injury and was later in a boot and on crutches. Jackson completed 8 of 16 passes for 151 yards, two touchdowns, and an interception. Ryan Willis stepped in after Jackson left the game and completed 9 of 18 passes for 131 yards and a touchdown. Even still, the offense had a few chances they could not put away. Hazelton's drop on fourth and four with two and a half minutes to go sealed the game for the Monarchs.
It's hard to say what the biggest struggle was from this game. The entire defense looked shaky and it was very out of character. Bud Foster said postgame with Jon Laaser and Mike Burnop this was the worst the defense had ever played since he's been the defensive coordinator. Old Dominion played their backup quarterback after the first series and he threw for 495 yards. Brett Favre, Aaron Rodgers and Peyton Manning couldn't even do that against Foster's defense.
The Hokies have faced offensive line issues all season and those showed today. Tech needed to put more points on the board and finish their opportunities on offense. As for the defense... the line could not get any penetration. The entirety of the team missed tackles here and there, while the secondary was continuously beat by the Monarch offense all game.
It’s not like the Hokies didn’t try. It just looked like they didn’t know what they were doing. Some of the players looked clueless at times, and there were many times where Blake LaRussa found a wide open Monarch receiver. Tech couldn't dig its foot into the ground and get any momentum. After the second series, Old Dominion put LaRussa, their backup quarterback, in the game, and Bud Foster and his defense didn't seem to make any adjustments.
If there is anything positive to take away from the game at all, at least it was not an ACC game. It will be a very interesting upcoming weekend for the Hokies as Tech plays at 7 PM in Wallace Wade Stadium against Duke next Saturday. Responding to adversity is a necessity in college football and it's going to be one of the biggest gut checks the program has had in a long time, in my opinion.
Receiving four unsportsmanlike penalties did not help the game either. Fuente said, "What happened was we got in the middle of a real game. A real, competitive game. And things weren't going our way. And that's how we responded. And that's inexcusable."
There are not a ton of positives to take away from this game. The Hokies lose their most embarrassing game, in my opinion, in at least 19 years, since I've been alive. Losing to James Madison 21-16 in 2010 is a close second. Others are comparing this loss to the 1998 Temple loss where Tech was ranked 14th and fell four points short, 28-24. After losing to JMU, Tech was led by Tyrod Taylor to an ACC Championship. After Temple, Tech won 4 of the remaining 6 and beat Alabama in the Music City Bowl.
So what's next?
For now, the Hokies have to bounce back. Standing at 2-1 overall, 1-0 in the ACC, it's going to be critical that the team responds the right way next weekend. Tech is 16-9 all-time against Duke, 7-2 in Durham. The last time they lost in Durham was 1981 - the Hokies are 12-2 against Duke since joining the ACC in 2004. However, the Blue Devils are 4-0 and recorded solid wins against Baylor and Northwestern this season and are not to be overlooked.