Three Cheers and Three Jeers For The Hokies Win Over Duke

By Justin Cates | October 03
Three Cheers and Three Jeers For The Hokies Win Over Duke
Courtesy: ABC News

This week we debut a new postgame feature where we highlight three positives and three negatives from the Hokies' performance. There are plenty of things to be happy about after a 38-31 road win, but that doesn't mean it was all smooth sailing.

Three Cheers

Khalil Herbert

The Hokies have a gamebreaking running back who doubles as a dangerous kickoff return man. The senior transfer from Kansas toted the rock 20 times for 208 yards and two scores against Duke while adding 150 yards on kickoff returns. That included an 83-yarder that was a toe out of bounds from being a touchdown.

Herbert set a school record for total yardage in a game that dates back to the Reagan administration and is now averaging 12 yards per carry through two games. He's given Tech a reliable lead running back for the first time since David Wilson and has flashed similar return skills to boot.

Duke Revenge

It wasn't overly pretty, but the Hokies avenged last year's lopsided loss in Blacksburg with a big road victory. While revenge is solid and a nice boost to the locker room, a conference road win is worth far more. The Hokies will almost assuredly be ranked next week when they travel back to North Carolina to take on a top-15 team in the hated Tar Heels.

Hokie Defense

Tyler Matheny stepped in and stepped up big time. The walk-on was forced into action after Tech’s secondary and defensive coaching staff was hit hard by Covid-19 related issues. He intercepted a pass and finished third on the team with seven tackles, including two for loss.

The Tech defensive line was also a huge factor once again, tallying seven sacks and causing Chase Brice fits for most of the game. The Hokies' are generating tons of pressure up front and are making the hiring of Daryl Tapp and Bill Teerlinck look like a master stroke through two games. Shout out to their collective energy and Tapp's coaching gloves.

Three Jeers

ACC Network

Everyone took note of the sloppy broadcast during the game and Twitter was abuzz with commentary on the matter for the second consecutive week. Bad camera work, audio mishaps, and consistent issues with displaying the correct down and distance plagued the broadcast. Similar issues abounded in Tech’s opener on the network and the in studio show wasn't much better. It’s fair to remember that broadcast crews are shorthanded right now — most camera operators are actually freelancers and are largely unemployed currently — and I would imagine they’re relying heavily on student help.

Still, even the announcers made numerous factual errors among them saying Daryl Tapp coaches linebackers and that the Hokies won the Belk Bowl last season. The ACC would do well to clean things up.

Throwing Into Coverage

Braxton Burmeister had an uneven outing to be sure, though he rallied in the second half and was instrumental on several scoring drives. One troubling issue in the first half was a preference for throwing into coverage. He tossed a number of passes into tight one-on-one coverage to the outside and got away with attempting to squeeze one into double coverage to James Mitchell near the goal line. That contributed to his 9-for-25 performance, though again he made some big plays to help secure the win.

Naysayers

We all know the prevailing narratives surrounding Tech's program over the last couple of seasons. That peaked after the Duke game in 2019 when many were left asking difficult questions. Just over a year later, the biggest questions surround the possibilities this team has when it finally gets healthy. The coaching staff and the players have demonstrated tremendous resiliency, this season in particular. Overcoming the massive personnel and coaching setbacks this season is nothing short of remarkable. Kudos to Justin Fuente and everyone in the program for ignoring the chatter and successfully pushing forward.

Justin Cates

Justin Cates

My Dad graduated from Tech in 1981 and I’ve been attending Virginia Tech sporting events since I first moved to Blacksburg in 1988. I myself graduated in 2008 with a Communication degree. During my time as a student I was the Sports Director for WUVT and helped establish and run Planet Blacksburg, an independent student-run news website. I’ve since written for numerous publications including SBNation, Inside The ACC, and Sports Illustrated's AllHokies. Currently, I host The Justin Cates Show in addition to other contributions here at Sons of Saturday and various other sites as the need arises. I now live in a fortified compound in upstate New York with my wife and numerous animals. The smell of popcorn makes me think of Cassell.

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