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Cheers and Jeers: Virginia Tech vs. Pittsburgh

By Justin Cates | October 16
Sad O Line Zach Lantz
Photo Credit: Zach Lantz

This wasn't pretty. It was always an unfavorable match up for the Hokies but few predicted Tech to simply not show up. It was a brutal slog and a 28-7 loss that was easily the most forgettable homecoming in quite a while.


It's Almost Basketball Season

There were a handful of solid contributions but they were fleeting for the Hokies. Da'Wain Lofton made a nice 29-yard catch on one of the few chunk plays for Tech — though he later dropped a pass which was a common issue among the receivers. Nasir Peoples was easily the strongest tackler on the field which has come to be a common occurrence. Tayvion Robinson had a filthy touchdown catch to give Tech the tiniest bit of hope. The defense as a whole put up a solid effort despite the score, there was simply no offense to support the effort.

It's hard to believe that the premier programs on campus are soccer, wrestling, and basketball. These are programs on the rise with men's basketball poised for a potentially lofty preseason ranking and possibly a special season in just a few weeks. Meanwhile the football program has bottomed out with a progressively worsening situation over the last couple of seasons. It's a far cry from how things used to be for Tech football and it's difficult to find encouraging signs.

This was supposed to be the positive section of the column so just a reminder that men's soccer is ranked in the top five nationally and men's hoops begins Tuesday November 9th at home against Maine.


Bizarre Gameplan

A week removed from a shoulder injury that left him with numbness which slowly morphed into pain, Braxton Burmeister found himself slinging the ball all over the place against Pitt. It was a baffling choice given Burmeister's health but the 20 MPH winds made it even weirder. He finished the first half 7 of 20 for 67 yards and an interception. The Hokies were in a 21-0 hole at the break with just 74 total yards to their name. It was among the worst offensive efforts in modern Tech memory to be sure. Things didn't really improve with Burmeister completing just 4 of 10 passes in the second half. The Hokies converted on a dreadful 4 of 14 third downs and ran for just 90 yards on 28 attempts.

The offense has finally opened things up downfield, but the plan relied almost entirely on potential long balls. They only really connected on one to Tre Turner which not surprisingly came on Tech's only scoring drive of the day.

Hokies Dominated From Start to Finish

A handful of plays best summed up this game on a fundamental level. The Hokies attempted to convert on a 4th and 1 and found themselves fall short. It was the right call to go for it, but the offensive line couldn't create any forward movement and the QB sneak was stuffed. Pittsburgh attempted three similar 4th downs throughout the game and not only converted each but gained multiple yards on each similar sneak in the process. Whether in the trenches or through the air, the Panthers plastered Tech in front of a displeased Lane Stadium crowd.

This is the End, Beautiful Friend

Justin Fuente didn't take a wrecking ball to the house that Frank Beamer built, but he did start a fire in the living room. Thankfully, the foundation remains intact and most of the "bones" surrounding the blast site are still in good shape. Now someone else has to come in to renovate what's left.

Of Fuente's 29 losses in five and a half seasons in Blacksburg 13 of them have now been by at least 14 points. That's 13 times the Hokies weren't remotely prepared or found themselves completely over-matched. As one of my colleagues pointed out in a Sons of Saturday group chat earlier, enough people left the Pitt game early that he actually had cell service in the stadium.

That's where we sit currently. Whit Babcock has been beyond patient with the football situation for some time now. It's time for some action. Former players summed up how the entire fan base is feeling. Something's got to give.

There were many similar statements and plenty of even more critical stuff not quite fit to print from the fans. Needless to say, Fuente has lost both groups. The players are fighting but they can only do it so much. The frustration from the Tech faithful is understandable.

We'll leave you with this thought from national reporter Pete Thamel.


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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