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Cheers and Jeers: Virginia Tech vs. Wofford

By Justin Cates | September 17
Cheers and Jeers: Virginia Tech vs. Wofford
Photo Credit: Will Trent, Sons of Saturday

Certain corners of the Internet failed to handle things terribly well early on—as well as in the middle and towards the end. It was as if they've missed the last 20 years or so of forgotten midday Virginia Tech games
against Furman, Richmond, The Citadel, and so many others.

The Hokies almost always start out slow against these types of teams. It's just the way it is. I don't make the rules.

It was a standard Tech performance in this kind of sleepy early game where the first-team defense dominated, the offense rolled up yards and scored just enough to win comfortably.


Jeers

Some Hesitancy Downfield

This is a bit nitpicky but most complaints are on a day where you win by three touchdowns. It did however seem that Tech left some yards on the field. Grant Wells had a perfectly good day where he once again avoided critical turnovers. He finished with 314 yards and two touchdowns.

Where he seemed to struggle early on was missing open receivers downfield at the second level. Wells chose to play things safe and hit his check downs on at least a couple of plays with other very open options. It wasn't an issue in this game but against more evenly matched opponents it could prove to be a problem if Wells continues to leave potential big plays on the table. It continues to be a growing process for Wells as he attempts to balance the extremes of being a gunslinger versus gun-shy. The good news is that he'll see all this in film study and work to fix it.

It's worth noting that the offense also looked quite solid at times, particularly just before halftime.

Wells led an impressive drive in just under three minutes that went 10 plays for 64 yards. Tech had three timeouts to work with too. The excellent clock management shows a big improvement from the opener when the Hokies had some end of game issues. It's another example of improving correctable mistakes, something Brent Pry has stressed repeatedly.

Kaleb Smith Banged Up Again

Probably the biggest thing you hope to avoid in a mismatch like this one is the injury bug. The Hokies got bit in the first half after Kaleb Smith went down hard on a long pass attempt from Grant Wells. Smith who has already been dinged up a bit this season has just never had good luck with his health during his time at Tech. He continues to be a productive player when he's on the field with two catches for 36 yards before his exit Saturday. Hopefully, keeping him out against Wofford was just precautionary with West Virginia coming to town on Thursday.

Cheers

Other Receivers Step Up

The Hokies have been looking for receivers to make plays all season. On this day Wells spread the ball around and the pass-catchers responded.

Nick Gallo continued to be reliable with five catches for 52 yards. There were plenty of new faces in on the act too.

Christian Moss showed some positive signs with five catches for 50 yards. Temple transfer Jaden Blue finally appears healthy and made his impact felt as well with four catches for a team-high 61 yards and a touchdown. He made a couple of acrobatic plays and looks the part of a big-play threat down the field. Reserve running back Bryce Duke also flashed his speed on a pretty wheel route that resulted in a 27-yard score.

There are plenty of opportunities for guys to break out in this department. We'll see how everyone's role continues to evolve.

Special Specialists

This is shaping up to be one of the better groups of kickers in Blacksburg in quite some time. William Ross was impressive again with field goals right down the middle from 41 and 46 yards respectively.

Kyle Lowe was great on kickoffs with six touchbacks on six kicks. You can't beat that.

Meanwhile, Peter Moore continued his quest for the Ray Guy award. Moore blasted three kicks for an average of 47.7 yards with all three pinning Wofford back inside their own 20.

There's still some room for improvement with the snaps on field goals, but Moore has shined there as the holder. He's just a steady presence across the board. It's no surprise he was named a team captain this season.

Great Crowd For Brunch

The fans showed out in the rainy opener against Boston College. They managed another strong outing despite an 11 AM start against a far more compelling basketball match up.

It's clear that the fan base continues to be re-energized by the coaching change and is excited to be back in Lane Stadium once again, regardless of the opponent or conditions. That's an encouraging sign especially when coupled with the news of numerous sellouts for later in the season.

Final Thoughts

Again, this felt like a standard Hokie game against this level of opponent. There's nothing to be too upset about and not a ton to blow out of proportion in the positive direction either.

Tech got out of it fairly healthy and with a comfortable win. It's about all you can ask for ahead of a short week that features the biggest game of the year to this point.

Enjoy the win and get ready to go again. Game week has already started.
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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