#25 Virginia Tech Grinds Out Tough Win Over Virginia
Tonight’s matchup between Virginia and #25 Virginia Tech was, in a word, ugly.
Neither offense was anywhere to be found, and points were very hard to come by as Virginia Tech scraped through with a 10-0 victory on the road in Charlottesville to finish the regular season at 9-3 for the second straight year.
Nevertheless, tonight was an important victory for Virginia Tech as they extended their winning streak against the Cavaliers to 14 in a row and maintained possession of the Commonwealth Cup. Despite what the records look like going into the game, the Hokies and Hoos both take this game very seriously, but VT stepped up and got the job done again.
Neither offense showed any sign of promise in this game. Only one touchdown was scored the whole game, and there was a total of 14 punts.
For (probably) the first time in his career, VT head coach Justin Fuente relied too much on the run. The Hokies did manage to gain just over 200 yards on the ground, but it seemed as if there were times during the game where the Hokies could have used some passing plays to add variety to the offense and put more points on the board.
That being said, the return of running back Steven Peoples from injury was something that should bring a little excitement to Hokie fans. He had 22 carries for 71 yards, and while his average yards per rush number was not very high, his relentlessness and power with the football was something the Hokies had been missing the last few weeks.
In addition to Peoples, running back DeShawn McClease also had a good performance. He too had 71 yards, but on only 13 carries. The other two running backs in Virginia Tech’s lineup failed to have any kind of standout performance, as Travon McMillian and Jalen Holston combined for only 22 yards on 5 carries, while Coleman Fox did not see the field.
Quarterback Josh Jackson had a very quiet game, as coach Fuente did not call as many pass plays as normal. Jackson had only 21 attempts in which he completed 14 for 143 yards, 1 touchdown and 1 interception. The Hokies will need to reawaken the arm of their freshman QB if they are to have hopes of scoring a lot of points in their bowl game.
On the other hand, Virginia Tech’s defense had perhaps its best performance all season. They forced their third shutout this season, and held the Cavaliers to a measly 5 yards rushing. In addition, they held senior QB Kurt Benkert to only 186 yards and no touchdowns while only allowing him to complete 50% of his pass attempts. The Hokies were also able to sack Benkert 4 times.
Leading the charge defensively was junior linebacker and Butkus award finalist Tremaine Edmunds. Edmunds tallied up 9 tackles, which included 3 tackles for loss and 2 sacks. Edmunds is a physical freak with very high pro potential, and he showed that in this game. He seemed to be in the head of Benkert all night.
All in all there is a lot of good to find from this game as the Lunch Pail Defense looks like one of the best defensive coordinator Bud Foster has had in his 31 year tenure. There are still some question marks surrounding this offense, but hopes are high in Blacksburg for a favorable bowl matchup and a potential second 10-win season in a row.
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