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Cheers and Jeers: Virginia Tech vs. Boston College

By Justin Cates | September 11
Cheers and Jeers: Virginia Tech vs. Boston College
Photo Credit: Virginia Tech Athletics

Cheers

Stifling Defense

There were plenty of literal fireworks in this night game, but the Tech defense didn't need them. They brought their own.

Armani Chatman got things started when he picked off Phil Jurkovec's first pass attempt on the first play from scrimmage to set the Tech offense up for an early score. It was the first sign that Brent Pry's defense was going to have a big night.

Phil Jurkovec was blasted all night long and became visibly frustrated in the fourth quarter. Tech racked up six sacks including two from defensive end TyJuan Garbutt who spent plenty of time in the Eagles' backfield.

BC failed to gain a first down until 4:08 remaining in the second quarter. The Hokie defense yielded just 155 total yards and an impressive four yards on the ground.

The pressure was plentiful and the tackling was crisp. The Tech defenders flew around to the ball like 11 Dax Hollifield's. It was a noticeable improvement from week one, which wasn't a bad effort either.

Clearly, the concerns Boston College had about its offensive line were more than justified. That's worth noting regarding the utter dominance on display here from the Hokies, but that doesn't explain away the entire performance. Overall it was an encouraging outing and something to build on.

Can We Fix It? Yes We Can!

The self-inflicted wounds from the Old Dominion game loomed over a long week of practice. The way Tech handled things there appears to have worked wonders. Virginia Tech didn't turn the ball over against Boston College and limited the penalties to just five whistles for 25 yards.

The correctable mistakes were cleaned up nicely and made a huge difference in a game that got interesting in the second half.

Improved Special Teams

Will Ross hit a nice 49-yard field goal in the first quarter. That came after a sack on the previous play increased the level of difficulty a fair bit. He added another solid 38-yarder in the final minutes to help seal the Hokie victory. Perhaps more importantly, there were no issues on the snaps or holds.

Peter Moore continued his great start to the season with a combination of booming punts and precise shots pinned deep in BC territory. He averaged 45.3 yards on seven punts and dropped three inside the opposing 20. He continues to be a massive weapon for an offense that's still finding itself.

On that note...

Jeers

Inconsistent Offense Continues

It was most certainly a grind on this side of the ball to say the least. Grant Wells cleaned up his turnovers and pitched a clean game. He completed 64 percent of his passes for 140 yards and a touchdown. The Hokies elected not to push the ball downfield very much, with the notable exception of a nice 43-yard toss down the sideline to Kaleb Smith.

Tech finished with an underwhelming 284 yards of total offense but they did put together some nice drives when needed in the second half. This is going to be a work in progress given a rookie coordinator in Tyler Bowen and a general lack of big playmakers.

One interesting development was the play of Connor Blumrick. Last seen running doomed fly routes in the waning moments of week one, Blumrick flashed the potential of his Swiss Army knife role. He caught five passes for 46 yards, ran twice without success, and looked to pass—but wisely held onto the ball—after a catch in the backfield on an oddly timed trick play late in the game.

There's some potential for a lot of fun to be had if he's used this way going forward.

Running Out of Running Backs

Keshawn King had the other play of the night for the offense with a blazing 65-yard touchdown run. He left the game shortly after that though with what the broadcast said was a hip issue. He did not return and in his absence the run game sputtered.

Jalen Holston slogged his way to 2.4 yards per touch on 20 carries. Chance Black shared carries and while there were a few good runs between the tandem, it's clear the Hokies need to get healthy here quick.

Tech remains without Malachi Thomas so adding King to the injured list would be a huge blow. The Wofford game appears well positioned to get the other young backs some experience and hopefully give the lead backs time to heal without a terribly taxing opponent. UPDATE: Here's an encouraging status from the King himself.

Final Thoughts

There's no such thing as a bad win. There just isn't. There are however big wins and memorable ones. This managed to be both not only for Brent Pry but for a host of thirsty players, coaches, and fans.

It's always nice to see the team back up a great night game atmosphere with a win. That's especially true when hosting lots of recruits like on Saturday. This one has the added bonus of being a conference W on top of that. There will be plenty more bumps in the road this season, but as this particular Saturday reminded us absolutely anything can happen in college football.

Coastal Chaos here we come.

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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