Virginia Tech moved to 3-1 on the season Saturday with a 37-0 victory over visiting Bowling Green. Tech stayed composed despite a slow start and rolled to the victory from the second quarter on. The Hokies got key performances from a number of key players, most notably the running backs.
Tyler led the team in stops for the third time in four games, registering seven on Saturday to bring his season total to 42. He was tied for 10th in the country in tackles entering the game.
Tyler doesn't do anything spectacular or out of the ordinary, but he fills gaps and secures tackles better than anyone else on the roster right now. He did get beat once or twice in coverage, but overall it was another solid performance from the former walk-on.
The sophomore made another big impact on special teams, taking a punt return back 25 yards to the 45 yard-line. It was another impressive return for a guy who has clearly proven to be the best return man the Hokies have.
He got a lot of help on the return from Tony Gregory and Martin Scales, who tag-teamed a Bowling Green coverage man to spring Jarrett loose.
Jarrett was also a factor on defense, recording six tackles - good for second on the team Saturday. Once again, Jarrett displayed his prowess as an open field tackler on a number of occasions and diagnosed a play quickly and perfectly as he exploded through the line of scrimmage to make the stop for minimal gain.
It wasn't a dominant performance from Thomas, but two touchdown passes through the air, one on the ground, and 209 yards of offense by himself should be considered a pretty good day. People still want more from him, myself included, but Thomas did exactly what he needed to do to get this one out of reach and into blowout territory.
He threw a beautiful deep ball to Dyrell Roberts for 42-yards and one of his touchdown passes and then sprinkled in numerous quality runs as well. Teams are still keying on him running in the redzone, but in between the 20s he has plenty of open space.
Thomas finished 11 of 26 through the air, but a few of the incompletions should be credited to Marcus Davis, who dropped a couple more of the quick screen passes on the perimeter. Is he clicking like he was last year? No. Is he still capable of exploding at any point? Yes.
In my opinion, two running backs really broke out this game. One of them was the freshman, Coleman. He finished with just four carries for 45 yards, but he also added one 10-yard reception for a touchdown. However, he showed plenty of big play ability when he did get the ball.
Coleman's got tremendous burst and is really beginning to feel comfortable at the college level. On his 17-yard run in the fourth quarter, he gave a subtle stutter step right at the linebacker level that froze the defense and allowed him to explode past them for the big yardage.
After seeing that play, it's clear that he's not thinking too much out there, he's just playing and letting his natural instincts take over. For the Hokies, that is a very good sign.
The spark Virginia Tech needed this week didn't come from Jarrett, it came from Gregory. After spending basically four years fighting to prove himself in the program, Gregory finally broke out Saturday afternoon. He finished the day with a team-high 68 yards on 11 carries, although he didn't get in the end zone.
Gregory also contributed the key block on Jarrett's punt return, showing that he is really becoming a key part of this entire team. Two weeks ago he blocked a punt at Austin Peay, this week he led the team in rushing and threw a key block on a punt return.
Gregory was particularly effective on the sweeps to the outside where he could use his speed to get to the edge and then make one cut and head up field. Credit also needs to be given to Tech's receivers for making those plays so successful on the day.
On one play in the first half Gregory started out heading towards the Bowling Green sideline, cut it up field, and Corey Fuller was completely locked onto his defender making sure Gregory had a hole to run through. With the Hokies looking at a four tailback system here in 2012, it may not be Gregory's week every week, but there's no doubt anymore that he can be a factor for the Hokies this season.