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Cheers and Jeers: Virginia Tech vs. Richmond

By Justin Cates | September 26
Screen Shot 2021 09 22 at 1 53 02 PM
Photo by Zach Lantz.
My wife and I chose Saturday to go meet a friend's baby. It had gotten rescheduled a number of times and a game against an FCS opponent seemed like a fun time to avoid the Internet and watch the recording later. This has proven to be a wise decision.

In roughly 85 percent of college football games — I'm making the numbers up — something truly majestic or breathtakingly stupid happens, often on consecutive plays. The remaining games just kind of exist in a Hellish vacuum where nothing much happens.

Even fast-forwarding through commercials didn't make this game watchable, but there were some exciting notable of both varieties. Let's relive this mess together shall we?


Big Play Tré Turner (and Touchdown Tayvion!)

These two guys have become the only reason to watch when the Hokies have the ball. The passing game will be covered in another section — HINT: not the cheers — but these two dynamic athletes are doing all they can. Robinson tallied the first punt return touchdown for Tech since 2017 and nearly had another, but the last man to beat tracked him down and the play was whistled back anyway. He has been making difficult catches all season too and Tré has joined the party.

Turner went over 100 yards yesterday on six receptions and had one of the prettiest toe taps in the back of the end zone you'll see on his touchdown catch. I will give the coaching staff some credit here. Turner appeared to line
up in the slot more than previous games which led to some favorable coverage match ups. That's a nice change and something to keep an eye on.

Plus you have to love a guy sporting Sons of Saturday gear postgame.

Justin Hamilton Continues to Shine

The defense still has some issues to be ironed out but Justin Hamilton has quickly become the King of halftime adjustments. Teams have gotten to Tech early at times, but not after the break. The Hokies have allowed just 16 points in the second half this season, three field goals and a garbage time touchdown against MTSU.

Those critical adjustments are something Bud Foster thrived on during his outstanding career. It's great to see Hamilton following in his mentor's footsteps in that regard while putting his own stamp on things in year two.

Eh, It's a Win

This is the lowest possible bar for a successful football game and the Hokies cleared it with maximum effort. Richmond lost its starting quarterback early and essentially stopped throwing the ball. Still, it took a strong defensive outing and just enough offense including starters on the field at the end of the game to solidify the win. On a day where six top 25 teams lost including two top 10 programs, it's difficult to complain too much about a win...but it's not impossible.


Virginia Tech's Wheel of Quarterbacks

It's no secret that Virginia Tech needs more out of the quarterback position. Braxton Burmeister has played fine to this point. His feet keep plays alive and can lead to excitement but his radar has suddenly gone awry on his passes. Burmeister has missed several wide open receivers over the last two games, taking at least one touchdown off the board.

So maybe inserting Knox Kadum who apparently practiced well was meant as motivation. Choosing to put him in when Tech was backed up to its own 6-yard line is truly baffling. You've got to wait until the next drive on that one. Connor Blumrick got in late to pound the ball at the goal line which is quickly becoming obvious.

Burmeister has done what the Tech coaches love and mostly avoided mistakes. He's completed 60 percent of his throws, but needs to get much better there. From a production standpoint, this was actually one of his better outings of the year to this point. Not ideal.

Time Managment

We all struggle in this department, but most of us don't have a clock constantly looming over our shoulders. I won't even get into the haphazard use of timeouts and general execution at the end of the first half. This is an old complaint and I'm bored of it. The good news is the end of the game gave us a new wrinkle in time. With the Hokies in full protect mode up 11 with around five minutes remaining, I noticed Tech was snapping the ball with 10-12 seconds still left on the clock every play. They finally got things cleaned up on the final drive but needed a 10-yard completion to Kaleb Smith on third and long to seal the deal. The game should have been over before that with better clock use.

The State of Things

In many ways Tech is where most expected at this point in the season. I predicted a 3-1 start, though like many folks I had the Carolina and West Virginia results flipped. Things could certainly be worse, but it's difficult to be fired up about too much with this football team right now.

With a promising defense and a schedule strength that shifts with the wind from tough to manageable every few days, there should be plenty to be excited about.

There's a ton to play for with the ACC actively imploding around the Hokies. The bye week comes at an excellent time for a team struggling to execute all over the field with a chance to refocus ahead of another huge national stage. Notre Dame appears to have finally figured things out which is tough timing, but that's a non-conference game again this year.

The possibilities for a conference or at least a division title but the mood is a dour one in Hokie Nation and a down week will likely do little to change that vibe.

It's a good time for an off week for everyone. Go apple picking next weekend or jump in the river, perhaps meet a baby. Rest up and regroup for what's shaping up to be a crazy stretch run to the season.


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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