Three Cheers and Three Jeers for Virginia Tech vs. Boston College
Hooker and Herbert
It's not Blacksburg's newest law firm, just the duo leading Tech's potent ground game. Hooker exploded against Boston College for a career-high 164 yards rushing and three touchdowns to drive the offense all night. Herbert continued his low-key Heisman campaign with 143 yards and a 29-yard touchdown reception. He currently ranks second in the nation in rushing yards (592) and leads in all-purpose yards with 294 per game. Both talents impressed with their vision and ability to make defenders miss in traffic.
Not to be lost in the dominance of Tech's starters, Raheem Blackshear flashed the playmaking ability everyone talks about on a nifty 28-yard touchdown run.
The Hokies racked up 350 yards on the ground, good for 8.5 yards per carry. This is quickly becoming Virginia Tech's best rushing attack ever which comes as a pleasant surprise.
The Justin Fuente Offense
Coach Fuente was hired to bring a modern offense to Virginia Tech and in year five the numbers are really adding up. Through four games the Hokies are averaging 42.7 points (No. 5 nationally) and 492.3 yards per contest. That's good for over seven yards per play. The Hokies rank third in rushing behind only option oriented service academies Army and Air Force. The passing game has been somewhat muted but effective, particularly with Hendon Hooker back at the helm. It all starts up front with dominant offensive line play. Major credit goes to Vance Vice and the job he's done to build a powerful foundation for this offense.
Going back to the end of last season, the #Hokies have now scored 30+ points in six straight games. They have not done that since the first six games of 2003.— Andy Bitter (@AndyBitterVT) October 18, 2020
The transfer stepped up to fill the void with Jermaine Waller unavailable. He helped force a fumble early, intercepted a pass, and was effective in coverage at multiple positions throughout the night. The Tech secondary got most of its starters back and made some big plays. Shout out to Dorian Strong who made some nice ones including a beautiful breakup on a long pass near the goal line. Boston College had loads of success through the air though and that will have to get cleaned up. Taylor getting more comfortable in the defensive scheme will help immensely.
Continuing the trend of Tech DBs forced into action early and quickly growing under the lights. https://t.co/68qLhbRwCZ— Justin Cates (@BestCates) October 18, 2020
End of First Half Clock Management
For the second week in a row the Hokies got caught in between running out the clock to end the half and trying to create a scoring opportunity. A combination of curious play-calling and poor execution ended with Tech giving the ball back to BC without having much to show for it. Unlike the Tar Heels the week previous, the Eagles failed to capitalize but Justin Fuente was visibly upset over the awkward attempt at a drive.
Capitalizing On Turnovers
Despite recovering two fumbles in the first quarter the Hokies put up just three points. Overall the defense had a hand in five turnovers and the offense was better able to make hay from it later in the game. Still, the situation could have been well in hand from the start instead of Tech falling behind early if things had gone a bit smoother following changes in possession.
For whatever reason the Hokies continue to struggle to find their footing on defense. Tech ranks 69th in total defense out of the 76 teams that have played so far. They're surrendering nearly as many yards (486.7) as the prolific offense is picking up and the scoring defense isn't much better (37 ppg). Getting players like Divine Deablo back should certainly help, but there are bigger issues that need to be addressed if Tech expects to challenge for the second-place slot in the conference championship game in a wide open ACC. There were lots of receivers running free in the secondary against BC, though the Hokies tightened up in the second half and began getting better pressure on the quarterback.