Story of the Statlines: Problems in Piscataway
There is not that much to be told about Virginia Tech's 35-16 loss against Rutgers this past Saturday. The Hokies seem to have this running theme of having slower starts to their games than they usually should. Once the team figures it out on the offensive side of the ball, the defense then starts to struggle, and by then the ball game is already out of reach. This exact scenario played out in Piscataway, NJ, as the Hokies trailed early (21-3), turning the ball over twice and missing a field goal early. Virginia Tech came out of the half on a little heater, bringing the game back within five on talented play from Kyron Drones and Da'Quan Felton. Rutgers would ultimately run away with this game behind leading rusher Kyle Monangai and push the Hokies to 1-2.
Kyron Drones totals 264 total yards
Although it was a shaky start for Drones as his second play of the game was a botched handoff resulting in a fumble, the transfer from Baylor gave Virginia Tech a great shot to win this game. He looked poised and comfortable in the pocket and led his team with 22 carries for 74 yards. With the Hokies down their top two receivers, Ali Jennings and Jaylin Lane, Drones was primarily the whole offense. With Grant Wells still dealing with an ankle injury, it seems as if Drones will be starting against Marshall next week, to the delight of some fans and the dismay of others. But let's not get into that right now.
Hokies run defense allows 256 rushing yards
Once again, the same themes keep appearing for this Virginia Tech team. Although they have struggled in the run game all year, other teams seem to have no problem running against this Hokies interior. This week was the most glaring the problem has been, as 256 yards were allowed on the ground by Tech. The Hokies had no answers to Kyle Monangai, who had 143 yards and three touchdowns on only 16 carries. It wasn't until the very end of the game that Monangai really took off, but the final two Rutgers scoring drives were basically off the back of him. The Hokies have been able to hold opposing quarterbacks to lower passing numbers in their first three games, but they need to figure out how to stop the run before it breaks their season apart.
Da'Quan Felton hauls in six receptions for 84 yards and a touchdown
Felton was a huge bright spot for the Hokies this past Saturday with some huge catches, including his 39-yard touchdown reception near the middle of the third quarter. He stepped up big with some injuries to this receiving core and showed that he can continue to be a huge down-field presence for the remainder of the season. He did take a shot on the Hokies second-to-last drive, getting hit seemingly out of bounds after he couldn't corral the ball from Drones. He was a little shaken up but got up and back over to the sidelines with the help of the training staff.