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Cheers and Jeers: Virginia Tech vs. Duke

By Justin Cates | November 12
Photo by Will Trent.
Screen Shot 2022 11 12 at 8 53 22 AM

The Hokies were up a touchdown just minutes into the game Saturday at Duke, and yet they were never really in this one. The Blue Devils reeled off 24 consecutive points and Tech fell to 2-9 on the season.


Opening Fireworks

The first drive featured big plays in the passing game. Da'Wain Lofton hauled in a nice touchdown from Grant Wells on a 53-yarder. Lofton made some other nifty plays on the day as well at a position where Tech badly needs production increases. Kaleb Smith flashed for a nice gainer over the middle early but he was shutout after that.

Youth Movement

It has been encouraging to see young players like Tucker Holloway, Mansoor Delane, Keli Lawson, and Dae'Quan Wright getting plenty of chances on the field down the stretch. Choices will be made soon on the redshirt status of some, but it's a good sign to see so many of Tech's more effective players are underclassmen.

At this point, I'm generally in favor of red-shirting as many guys as you can. It doesn't make sense to waste a full year on a lost season if you can help it. That's all the more true with someone like Holloway who coach Pry calls a culture guy. You want them around as long as possible.

However it shakes out, there is some young talent on the roster and I say play anyone you can at this point. We need to cycle through everybody who's eligible and see where they are. Things can't exactly get worse from an execution standpoint can they?

No Penalties

Virginia Tech did not commit a single penalty in the football game.


Total Domination

Duke had the ball double time the Hokies did. That's 38:59 to 21:01. Tech's defense actually played okay and made some stops in the red zone that allowed the Hokies to hang around once again into the second half.

Despite that it never really felt like the Hokies had a shot as they failed to score in the final three quarters. Tech converted on just four of 12 third downs It was as bad an effort as they've had all season which is notable among some of the duds the offense has kicked out.

Feels Bad Man

At 2-8 and a pretty listless one at that, this has officially crossed over into the worst Tech team of my lifetime. It's a tough deal but for this to be the first time in my adult life that this program has completely bottomed out is pretty wild.

Still it's not fun. I get that. Though I would argue if you're still getting too worked up you probably shouldn't keep watching this year, but do your thing.

Final Thoughts

We're in full on evaluation mode here. The season is nearly finished and while there's some modicum of pride involved as well, mostly we're just playing out the string to see who still has a role next season.

The Hokies will be active in trying to attract new players in the offseason. It's the way of the world now for one thing, but it's also a critical part of infusing enough talent to help your vision come into focus.

We look forward now to an off-season with some questions not just about
those roster evaluations mentioned above, but how does Brent Pry view
himself and his staff after a season?

It's pretty clear Pry wasn't immediately ready to be a head coach. That's not shocking as he's never done it before and it's perfectly okay. Hopefully he learned some things and grew as the first campaign has gone on. We also know he had rookies at both coordinator spots. So how far along does Pry thing Chris
Marve is in his process to take over the defense? How can he possibly be okay with the work produced by Tyler Bowen on the other side? It doesn't seem like he is.

Furthermore on that, what can be done to improve there?

Plenty remains to be sorted out and we'll have a dark many winter months to reflect while we warm ourselves over the faint glow of the transfer portal. It won't be long now, the nightmare is almost over.

There's plenty to see the rest of the way if you care to look for it, but it's understandable if you'd rather close your eyes for a bit.


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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