CFN Take: Virginia Tech Gets By Virginia Late
Virginia Tech Hokies 2014 ...
Head Coach: Frank Beamer
2014 Virginia Tech
Nov. 28 at Virginia Tech 24, Virginia 20
2014 Schedule |
Aug. 30 William & Mary W 34-9
Sep. 6 at Ohio State W 35-21
Sep. 13 East Carolina L 28-21
Sep. 20 Georgia Tech L 27-24
Sep. 27 Western Mich W 35-17
Oct. 4 at North Carolina W 34-17
Oct. 11 OPEN DATE
Oct. 16 at PItt L 21-16
Oct. 23 Miami L 30-6
Nov. 1 Boston College L 33-31
Nov. 8 OPEN DATE
Nov. 15 at Duke W 17-16
Nov. 22 at Wake Forest L 6-3 2OT
Nov. 28 Virginia W 24-20
And You Care Because … It was a hard-hitting defensive slugfest with Virginia Tech getting a blocked punt in the second quarter and David Dean picking off a pass for a score for the Cavaliers. Things picked up in the final few minutes as Zachary Swanson came up with a 20-yard touchdown catch to give Virginia a 20-17 lead with just under three minutes to play, but Virginia Tech QB Michael Brewer answered with a three play drive in just over a minute, finishing up with a nine-yard scoring pass to Bucky Hodges for the game-winner. Virginia couldn’t answer on its final drive.
What Else? Virginia Tech RB J.C. Coleman ran 18 times for 118 yards
- Virginia QB Greyson Lambert completed 15-of-32 passes for 211 yards and a score with a pick
- Virginia Tech QB Michael Brewer completed 15-of-33 passes for 235 yards and two touchdowns with a pick and ran three times for 11 yards
- Total yards: Virginia 433 – Virginia 314
Game Rating: B
Nov. 22 at Wake Forest 6, Virginia Tech 3 2OT
And You Care Because … In a miserable offensive game, the two teams went into overtime in a scoreless tie helped by three missed field goals from Wake Forest’s Mike Weaver, but he made up for it with a 49-yarder in the first overtime and a 39-yarder in the second to come up with the win. Virginia Tech tied it in the first overtime on a 28-yard Joey Slye field goal, but following a sack, he missed in the second overtime.
What Else? Total yards: Virginia Tech 254 – Wake Forest 234
- Virginia Tech QB Michael Brewer completed 15-of-28 passes for 126 yards and a pick
- Wake Forest QB John Wolford completed 18-of-32 passes for 160 yards and an interception
- Time of possession: Wake Forest 33:34 – Virginia Tech 26:26
Game Rating: C+
Nov. 15 Virginia Tech 17, at Duke 16
And You Care Because … Three key Duke turnovers helped Virginia Tech pull off the tough win, getting a ten-yard Isaiah Ford touchdown catch in the second quarter off a 98-yard drive, and scoring ten unanswered points on a 35-yard Joey Slye field goal in the third and a 15-yard Bucky Hodges touchdown catch in the fourth. Duke had a 10-0 lead early, but settled for three Ross Martin field goals and only got into the end zone on a two-yard Josh Snead run. A failed fake punt allowed Duke to have a shot at a key late field goal, but Martin missed - the Blue Devils had their chances, but turnovers proved too costly.
What Else? Virginia Tech QB Michael Brewer completed 12-of-23 passes for 138 yards and two touchdowns with a pick
- Duke QB Anthony Boone completed 18-of-40 passes for 181 yards and two picks, and ran 14 times for 34 yards
- Turnovers: Duke 3 – Virginia Tech 1
- Total yards: Duke 326 – Virginia Tech 293
Game Rating: B-
Nov. 1 Boston College 33, at Virginia Tech 31
And You Care Because … Tyler Murphy threw two touchdown passes and ran for another, and Myles Willis tore off a 68-yard scoring run as Boston College held on for the win. Down 23-10 going into the fourth. Virginia Tech roared back and took the lead on a Michael Brewer one-yard run and a seven-yard pass to Bucky Hodges. But BC took control back with a 44-yard Alex Howell field goal and Murphy’s 57-yard scoring run. Brewer found Ryan Malleck for a five-yard touchdown pass with 28 seconds left to pull VT within two, but BC recovered the onside kick.
What Else? Rushing yards: Boston College 258 – Virginia Tech 69
- Boston College QB Tyler Murphy completed 8-of-15 passes for 110 yards and two scores, and ran 18 times for 122 yards and a touchdown
- Virginia Tech QB Michael Brewer completed 31-of-48 passes for 345 yards and two touchdowns, and ran for a score
- First downs: Virginia Tech 7-of-20 (1-of-3 on fourth downs) – Boston College 3-of-13 (4-of-5 on fourth downs)
Game Rating: B+
Oct. 23 Miami 30, at Virginia Tech 6
And You Care Because … Virginia Tech couldn’t stop screwing up, and it couldn’t stop Duke Johnson late in the first half as he ran for a 24-yard score and took a pass 22 yards for a touchdown as Miami cruised to an easy win. Gus Edwards added touchdowns from three and 38 yards away as the Hurricanes took a 30-0 lead before Virginia Tech came out hot in the second half, but fumbled away a great drive deep in Miami territory, and it never got its groove back. The Hokies finally got on the board with a 14-yard Isaiah Ford touchdown catch with just 90 seconds to play.
What Else? Turnovers: Virginia Tech 3 – Miami 0
- Miami RB Duke Johnson ran 29 times for 249 yards and a score, and Gus Edwards ran 20 times for 115 yards and two touchdowns
- Virginia Tech RB Marshawn Williams ran 21 times for 100 yards
- Time of possession: Miami 37:52 – Virginia Tech 22:08
Game Rating: D+
Oct. 16 at Pitt 21, Virginia Tech 16
And You Care Because … Tyler Boyd took a pass 53 yards for a score and James Conner ran for scores from 15 and 13 yards out as Pitt never trailed in a key win in the ACC Coastal race. The Panther defense stiffened time and again in the first three quarters only allowing three Joey Slye field goals from 42, 24 and 21 yards out. Connor’s second scoring run came early in the fourth for a 21-9 lead, but the Hokies fought back with a 14-yard Cam Phillips touchdown catch. They had one last shot, but the Pitt defense held.
What Else? Pitt QB Chad Voytik completed 10-of-17 passes for 92 yards and a score with a pick, and ran for a team-leading 118 yards on 19 carries. James Conner ran 16 times for 85 yards and a touchdown
- Virginia Tech QB Michael Brewer completed 26-of-45 passes for 265 yards and a score
- Third down conversions: Pitt 6-of-16 – Virginia Tech 2-of-14 (0-for-2 on fourth downs)
- Rushing yards: Pitt 210 – Virginia Tech 26
Game Rating: B
Oct. 4 Virginia Tech 34, at North Carolina 17
And You Care Because … Virginia Tech sputtered a little bit, but got up 24-3 in the first half helped by a 26-yard Bucky Hodges touchdown catch and an eight-yard Marshawn Williams scoring run, but the real fun came after a 27-yard Joey Slye field goal with Kendall Fuller taking an interception 47 yards for a touchdown just 43 seconds later to all but put the game away. UNC tried to fight back in the second half with a one-yard Elijah Hood touchdown run and a nine-yard Quinshad Davis catch, but the Hokies were never threatened, putting the game away on a one-yard J.C. Coleman run with 2:30 to play.
What Else? Time of possession: Virginia Tech 41:03 – North Carolina 18:57
- Penalties: North Carolina 10 for 62 yards – Virginia Tech 8 for 45 yards
- Virginia Tech QB Michael Brewer completed 18-of-27 passes for 186 yards and a score with an interception
- North Carolina QB Marquise Williams completed 17-of-33 passes for 187 yards and a touchdown, and led the team with 94 yards on 19 carries
Game Rating: C+
Sept. 27 at Virginia Tech 35, Western Michigan 17
And You Care Because … Virginia Tech got off to a perfect start, taking a fumbled opening kickoff for a score and getting a safety on the ensuing drive when the snap on a punt flew into the end zone. The Tech offense stumbled a bit, but Michael Brewer came up with two touchdown passes including a 29-yarder to Bucky Hodges, and Shai McKenzie put the game out of reach on a four-yard touchdown run. Jarvion Franklin ran for two one-yard scores for Western Michigan.
What Else? Rushing yards: Virginia Tech 308 – Western Michigan 19
- Virginia Tech QB Michael Brewer struggled completing 14-of-32 passes for 178 yards and two scores with two picks
- Western Michigan RB Jarvion Franklin ran 15 times for 76 yard and two scores
- Virginia Tech RB Marshawn Williams ran 14 times for 119 yards, and Shai McKinzie ran 18 times for 87 yards and a score
Game Rating: C-
Sept. 20 Georgia Tech 27, at Virginia Tech 24
And You Care Because … Georgia Tech rallied from a fourth-quarter deficit to defeat Virginia Tech in Blacksburg on a last-second Harrison Butker field goal. The Hokies went ahead with eight minutes left in the final quarter on a fluky Michael Brewer touchdown run, but the Yellow Jackets tied it on a Justin Thomas to DeAndre Smelter touchdown pass six minutes later. Butker’s game-winning kick was set up by the third of Brewer’s three interceptions on the day.
What Else? Brewer struggled for the second straight week, raising concerns about his ability to lead the Hokie offense. He was 28-of-39 for 297 yards, but had no touchdown passes to offset those three costly interceptions.
- Yellow Jacket QB Justin Thomas, on the other hand, continues to evolve as the leader of the offense in Atlanta. He not only rushed for 165 yards and a score, but also threw for 125 yards and the game-tying touchdowns to Smelter.
- LB Chase Williams was a monster on defense for the Hokies. He had a game-high 17 tackles, including 2.5 behind the line of scrimmage, and a couple of quarterback hurries.
- Rookie Virginia Tech WR Isaiah Ford was again one of the bright spots in a loss. In just his first year out of high school, he continued to school older defensive backs, catching eight passes for 114 yards.
Game Rating: A
Sept. 13 East Carolina 28, at Virginia Tech 21
And You Care Because … East Carolina got up to a 21-0 first quarter lead, but needed a one-yard Shane Carden run with 16 seconds to play to pull off the win. Carden threw three touchdown passes to three different receivers to cap off three long drives for the big lead, but Virginia Tech woke up and came back with 21 straight points on three Michael Brewer touchdown passes including two to Isaiah Ford from 21 and 15 yards out. ECU had one last drive, and Carden came through with two long pass plays to Cam Worthy, and helped by two penalties, to down to the one for his game-winning score.
What Else? Virginia Tech’s defense was ripped apart early, but it made the changes needed and allowed the offense to get back in the game. It wasn’t enough, but the Hokie offense ended up holding on to the ball for 36:40 with Michael Brewer throwing 56 times for 298 yards and three scores with two picks.
- East Carolina QB Shane Carden was magnificent early and late, completing 23-of-47 passes for 427 yards and three scores, and running for 13 yards and the game-winning touchdown.
- ECU star WR Justin Hardy caught four passes for 47 yards. Cam Worthy was the star, catching six passes for 224 yards including the two key plays on the game-winning drive.
- East Carolina stalled way too often because of penalties. The team committed 13 for 114 yards.
Game Rating: A-
Sept. 6 Virginia Tech 35, at Ohio State 21
And You Care Because … Virginia Tech came out with a suffocating defense and effective offense getting touchdown runs from two yards out by Michael Brewer and 14 yards away from Marshawn Williams in the first quarter, and a ten-yard Sam Rogers scoring grab in the second for a stunning 21-7 lead. Ohio State came back with Michael Thomas taking a J.T. Barrett pass 53 yards for a touchdown, and with a 15-yard Ezekiel Elliott scoring run to tie it up in the fourth. The Hokies answered. Bucky Hodges caught a ten-yard touchdown pass midway through the fourth, and then it was up to the defense, attacking Barrett and forcing a late interception to Donovan Riley, who put the game away with a pick six.
What Else? Virginia Tech came up with seven sacks with two from Dadi Nicholas and Derek Di Nardo. Kyoshen Jarrett came up with two picks along with four tackles, and Chuck Clark led all defenders with ten tackles and a tackle for loss.
- Ohio State QB J.T. Barrett completed just 9-of-23 passes for 219 yards and a score, but he threw three picks. He led the team with 70 yards and a score on 24 carries.
- The kicking game was a huge problem for the Buckeyes. Sean Nuernberger missed from 40 and 27 yards out.
- Each team turned it over three times. Virginia Tech was flagged ten times for 107 yards and Ohio State seven times for 62.
Game Rating: B
Aug. 30 at Virginia Tech 34, William & Mary 9
And You Care Because … Virginia Tech had no problems after about 20 minutes, pulling away from a 7-6 lead with 13 straight points to take control. Texas Tech transfer Michael Brewer threw two touchdown passes and Shai McKenzie ran for a 39-yard touchdown, while the defense allowed just three John Carpenter field goals.
What Else? The Virginia Tech defense was in midseason form. William & Mary couldn’t keep the chains moving and only ended up with 193 yards of total offense. Chase Williams had two of the team’s four sacks and two of the 6.5 tackles for loss.
- Michael Brewer wasn’t perfect, but he was good enough, completing 23-of-30 passes for 251 yards and two touchdowns with a pick, spreading the ball around well.
- Shai McKenzie took over the running game with 106 yards and a score on just nine carries, but for the most part, the Hokies were bottled up a bit too much.
- Third down conversions: Virginia Tech 8-of-15 – William & Mary 1-of-12
Game Rating: C+
Now that Frank Beamer has fallen, can the Hokies help him get back up?
The school that won at least ten games during an eight-year period from 2004-11 is 13-11 against FBS teams the last two seasons. Tech went 8-5 a year ago, looking in the second-half like a program whose best days just might be in the rear view mirror. Plus, the gap with Florida State and Clemson has widened dramatically, and most of the Coastal Division has caught up as well, creating justifiable uneasiness around Blacksburg.
The Hokies continue to endure a familiar and frustrating dichotomy—the defense is championship-caliber, yet the offense is painfully inept. Even with a senior, Logan Thomas, at the controls in 2013, Virginia Tech still scored less than 20 points in seven games. For starters, Tech can’t average 119 rushing yards a game, as it did a year ago. The production of Frank Beamer’s running game has slipped in each of the last four seasons, a trend that needs to be halted and reversed in 2014. And then there’s the quarterback quandary.
Yeah, Thomas was wildly inconsistent, but he had experience and the ability to bully opponents on the ground. No such player exists on the current roster. Senior Mark Leal is the veteran, but if he was an answer, the staff would have tried him during one of Thomas’ many erratic stretches. Sophomore Brenden Motley’s upside is tempered by his inexperience. Maybe Texas Tech transfer Michael Brewer can shake things up when he arrives in the summer.
Venerable defensive coordinator Bud Foster is facing a few more holes than usual, but he always finds a way to have his kids ready to go. While Blacksburg will be home to one of the country’s best defensive backfields, led by precocious corners Kendall Fuller and Brandon Facyson, the front seven is a work-in-progress. Three starting linemen and two starting linebackers have graduated, leaving DT Luther Maddy to serve as the foundation on which the rest of the front seven will be built. While Tech won’t be as stingy as it was in 2013, it’ll still house one of the best defenses in the ACC.
Virginia Tech is swimming in unfamiliar waters. Back-to-back disappointing seasons. A trophy case that’s beginning to collect a thin layer of dust. Beamer needs to deliver the kind of season that quiets the chatter that he’s lost the magic, because the Hokies are in danger of drifting deeper into the Coastal Division pack.
What to watch for on offense: Rookie Marshawn Williams. The true freshman from Hampton, Va. has further muddled an already congested backfield in Blacksburg. He participated in spring drills, and immediately impressed his new teammates with his toughness and power between the tackles. In all likelihood, Trey Edmunds starts and J.C. Coleman is first off the bench. But the points-deprived Hokies are putting out APBs for quality options out of the backfield. And if the 220-pound Williams continues to warrant touches, it’s going to be tough for the staff to keep him on the sideline.
What to watch for on defense: Nicked Vandyke. Junior ‘Whip’ Ronny Vandyke is still recovering from shoulder surgery related to a torn labrum that cost him all of 2013. The Hokies need him to finally become the breakout star that the team has been waiting for since he arrived. The linebacker corps was decimated by graduation, leaving first-time starter Chase Williams as the closest thing to a sure-thing in the middle. It’s why the staff is cautiously optimistic that Vandyke can remain healthy to advertise his explosiveness and ability to drop into coverage.
This team will be far better if … the ground game absorbs heat from the new quarterback. Virginia Tech is not designed to succeed in a year that it averages 119 yards rushing a game and 3.2 yards per carry. The offense just doesn’t get enough support from the quarterbacks to survive without a potent running game. When the Hokies were competing for ACC hardware, the backs set the tone for the entire offense. It’s absolutely no coincidence that Tech has struggled to pound the ball during these past two uncharacteristically difficult years for the entire program.
The Schedule: After starting out against William & Mary, it’s rough sledding for a while going to Ohio State, dealing with a strong East Carolina, and kicking off ACC play against Georgia Tech. Fortunately, four of the first five games are at home, but then come the nasty battles at North Carolina and Pitt to start out October. There’s a week off between the two games, and for good and bad, there are two straight Thursday night games facing the Panthers before hosting Miami. Back-to-back road games at Duke and Wake Forest might not be that awful, but there are only six days between the Demon Deacons and finishing up the regular season against Virginia.
Best Offensive Player: Sophomore RB Trey Edmunds. The Hokies desperately need to run the ball better this season. And Edmunds is being counted on to address some of that desperation in 2014. He has 1,000-yard potential at a school with no obvious playmakers on offense. Edmunds has the size of a feature back to go along with the quickness to ignite one of the ACC’s worst attacks. The sophomore missed the spring as he recovered from last November’s broken fibula, but he’ll be ready for contact in the summer.
Best Defensive Player: Senior DT Luther Maddy. The Hokies have lost a ton of D-line talent to graduations. Now more than ever, the defense will need Maddy to spearhead a unit needing to replace the production of tackle Derrick Hopkins and ends James Gayle and J.R. Collins. Maddy is an interior lineman, who plays with the speed and the mentality of an edge rusher. Big enough to stuff the run and quick enough to pressure the pocket, he’s set to receive the attention and the accolades that have largely eluded him the past two seasons.
Key players to a successful season: The offensive linemen. The Hokies lack scary offensive talent, especially behind center. And that won’t change between now and the opener. But everyone, from the new quarterback to a receiving corps with potential, will be more effective if the line plays up to its experience level this season. Tech struggled at the point of attack in 2013, yielding 33 sacks, which blocking for one of the ACC’s worst running games. However, with five seniors jockeying for jobs, there’s hope that this could be the Hokies’ most assertive and mistake-free line in years.
The season will be a success if ... the Hokies win the Coastal Division. This is still Virginia Tech, so why should the bar be set any lower? Even with the offensive struggles and the rebuilding that needs to be done on the front seven, the Hokies have as good a chance as anyone in the division to appear in the ACC title game. Miami still has a long way to go, and no disrespect to Duke, but the Blue Devils are the defending Coastal champ. In other words, it ain’t the Atlantic Division.
Key game: Oct. 23 vs. Miami. The Hokies will get two highly visible opportunities to make statements this season. The first, at Ohio State on Sept. 6, isn’t likely to end well. This visit from the Hurricanes, though, on a Thursday night could catapult Tech into November, when the tightly-packed Coastal Division will be sorted out. The Hokies are always tough at night at Lane Stadium, and by this point of the season they ought to have a better handle on who’s leading the offensive backfield.
2013 Fun Stats:
- Yards per rush: Virginia Tech 3.2 – Opponents 3.2
- Third Down Conversions: Virginia Tech 32% – Opponents 30%
- Sacks: Virginia Tech 39 - Opponents 33
2014 Virginia Tech Preview - What You Need To Know & Top Players