Story of the Statlines: Revenge against the Monarchs
The season debut for Virginia Tech kicked off with a matchup against Old Dominion. Their prior matchup to begin their 2022 campaign ended in an upset as they fell to the Monarchs 20-17 in Brent Pry’s first game as the head coach. Fast forward a year, and the start of the 2023 season saw this same matchup, but this time in an opposite fashion. The Hokies' new revamped offense combined with the speed and power of the defense proved to be effective in their 36-17 victory over the Monarchs Saturday night.
The Hokies new offensive transfers produced 245 total yards and three touchdowns.
New faces Ali Jennings, Jaylin Lane, Bhayshul Tuten, Da'Quan Felton, and Kyron Drones all made their offensive debuts for the Hokies in Saturday night's matchup vs. the Monarchs. The transfers displayed to the team and Hokie Nation what they could bring to the table for the 2023 season. Jennings, the transfer from ODU, led the Hokies in every receiving category and made an immediate impact for the Hokies in his first game in the ACC, totaling five receptions, 72 yards, and two touchdowns. Lane followed suit and was not far behind with four receptions, 69 yards, and a touchdown. Tuten led the Hokies in the rushing game with 19 carries and 55 yards gained on the ground. Felton and Drones, while used less in the offense, showed glimpses of what they can bring later in the season. The revamped offense for Virginia Tech seems to be paying off early.
Virginia Tech wins the turnover battle with a margin of +3
Something that this Tech team has been trying to return to is the Beamer Ball playstyle in Blacksburg, and tonight showed that it could possibly be back. Although it's the first game and an early sample against a non-power-five opponent, winning the turnover battle is good no matter who you are playing. In the Hokies' loss against ODU last year, they had a turnover ratio of -3, in which they committed five total turnovers, including four interceptions from Grant Wells and a fumble. On Saturday, the Hokies committed zero turnovers and forced two fumbles, one recovered by Nasir Peoples and the other by Josh Fuga, as well as an interception from Dorian Strong. A great display on the defensive side of the ball for the Hokies provided a strong start to the season.
The Hokies defense totaled five sacks against the Monarchs
Speaking of Beamer Ball, another term that Tech fans will recognize is Sacksburg, a play on words to describe football sacks and Blacksburg. Five sacks were provided by the defense, which proved to make the ODU passing game lifeless for the entirety of the game as Grant Wilson, the Monarch quarterback, totaled only 94 yards passing. Antwaun Powell-Ryland, the transfer DL from Florida, led the charge for the Hokies with two sacks, followed by Keyshawn Burgos, Wilfried Pene, and C.J. McCray, all with one. The excessive pass rush, while effective, allowed the Monarchs to have big gains on the ground, in which they totaled 201 rushing yards, a very high number of yards that the Hokies didn’t want to see against them. Look for Pry to keep the pass rush up all year but find ways to stop the run game of opponents as the season progresses.