Rothe from the Top Rope: Miami - Hokies Didn't Quit
Hokies didn't give up
There was no Rothe from the Top Rope last week because well, there was nothing to say... just another poor performance in Acrisure Stadium (will always be Heinz Field to me).
Let's talk about this Miami game.
Hokie lose and drop to 2-5, which is the worst record for a Virginia Tech team through seven games in decades. Now we all knew this was going to be a tough rebuild after the previous staff torched the program to the ground and left Brent Pry and company with a high school JV roster.
That being said... there were signs of improvement in the Miami game. As I've said before, this is how you can judge a rebuild. You have to see signs of improvement in order to feel comfortable that the coaching staff is at least trying to make strides to get better.
We saw said strides in this game.
The first step in a rebuild is usually a culture change and Pry is currently in the throws of trying to instill a winning culture to a group of players who have mainly lost the past few years. This is no easy task, but what you want to see is the team not give up (a la their putrid quitting performance at Boston College in 2021), once they are hit with adversity.
There's no better adversity than being shut out in the first half at home in Lane Stadium. Hokie Twitter was already proclaiming that this game could be the one that ends the scoring streak which sits at 345+ games.
Miami QB Tyler Van Dyke put up numbers that are more like him after previous struggles this year, with 351 yards and 2 TDs, but despite a big passing day from TVD the Hokies defense still held Miami to just 20 total points (17 coming in the first half).
The stifling defense gave the Hokies offense a chance to get themselves back in the game, which they did. It just took too long.
Virginia Tech didn't score until 12:10 left in the fourth quarter with a 14-yard pass from Grant Wells to Malachi Thomas. Then the defense stopped Miami yet again giving the Hokies a chance to cut it to one score late in the 4th quarter, which they indeed did. Wells ran for a TD with 3:20 left in the game.
After that the Hokies never got the ball back as the Miami offense was able to convert to keep the clock ticking away.
There are hundreds of issues that stem from a game like this, but I'm impressed by the way the team didn't roll over and let Miami blow them away. This is the kind of game that under Justin Fuente would have usually become out of hand in the 2nd half with the Hokies quitting and letting the opposing team have their way (Duke 2019 comes to mind).
Obviously, when judging a coaching staff the only thing that matters in the end is wins and losses, but for now we should expect more losses than wins, but if Pry and co. are able to bring in talent, develop that talent, and instill a winning culture within the program then more wins will come in the years down the road.