The road woes have come to an end. Well, sort of. Virginia Tech escaped Boston College with a 30-23 win yesterday, but it came against a 2-9 team that probably shouldn't have come that close. Having seen replays and thought it over, here's publisher Jason Stamm's exam of the Hokies' win:
QUARTERBACKS Junior Logan Thomas wasn't spectacular, but efficient. He did fumble, but recovered it and threw no interceptions. He missed some targets as he has all season, but made some clutch throws, including a well-placed ball on the winning touchdown to Randall Dunn. Thomas threw for 247 yards, but wasn't able to do uch on the ground outside of a rushing touchdown. Still, he did enough to keep the Hokies in the game and made good decisions in overtime.
RUNNING BACKS Again, the carries were split, between freshman J.C. Coleman and junior Tony Gregory. Gregory made a little more happen, with 69 yards on 14 carries, but per the usual, neither separated themselves. The good thing was neither made big mistakes and kept the defense honest enough to allow Thomas to have some success through the air. Combined with senior Martin Scales' efforts, the Hokies rushed for 154 yards, so a good overall effort. But still ho-hum that no back was able to have a superb individual day.
RECEIVERS Again, not a spectacular day overall at this position as well, but more big plays were made in the clutch. Maybe fueled from not getting the start for the first time all season, senior Marcus Davis bounced back strong. Davis had five catches for 104 yards and a touchdown, all in the second half. His touchdown catch was a great adjustment on an under-thrown ball in which Davis wrestled the ball away from a defender. Dunn also had just one catch, but one of the biggest of the season, the game-winner in overtime. Don't forget senior Corey Fuller, who had just two catches, but one for 69 yards in the first quarter in which he showed unbelievable concentration, catching the ball off a defender's helmet.
OFFENSIVE LINE For the first time all season, Thomas was not sacked, which was a plus. The Boston College defense isn't a great one, but Thomas was given time to throw. He was rushed a bit on his fumble, but recovered. It would have been nice to see the line giving the running backs more holes to run through, but the line took a few steps forward overall. Caleb Farris looks to be better at center, which is a boost overall for the line.
DEFENSIVE LINE The heat was on Eagles senior quarterback Chase Rettig all day and did a great job allowing only 129 yards passing. Derrick Hopkins was a monster inside, with 1.5 tackles for loss and a split sack with sophomore Corey Marshall. Tyrel Wilson and J.R. Collins both also picked up sacks for a group that constantly harassed Rettig. The downside was allowing junior running back Rolandan Finch to rush for 138 yards as he got numerous holes to run through.
LINEBACKERS What a great day for the trio of junior Jack Tyler, senior Bruce Taylor and Alonzo Tweedy. Tyler continued his tackling prowess with 10, while Taylor was in on seemingly every play. Taylor finished with nine tackles, three for a loss and a pair of sacks. A week after getting a surprised start at WHIP against Florida State, Tweedy made good on another start. He had seven tackles, two for loss, a pair of sacks and fittingly, made the final tackle, stopping Boston College on fourth down in overtime to seal the game.
DEFENSIVE BACKS The overall play was better, with six tackles from sophomore rover Kyshoen Jarrett and the coverage was better. But there were still a few mistakes, like a pass interference call on sophomore safety Detrick Bonner. The Eagles did the Hokies a few favors by missing on multiple deep throws down field and Finch did rumble for a 38-yard run, but the secondary didn't allow any game-changing big plays like they've done multiple times this season.
SPECIAL TEAMS Junior kicker Cody Journell was more consistent than any other time this season. He connected on three field goals, including a career-long of 42 yards and the game-tying field goal from 41 yards with 1:05 to play. Freshman punter A.J. Hughes saw his average drop to 39.6 yards over seven punts, but he also had a couple of well-placed punts into Boston College territory. The highlight though was a big kickoff return by redshirt freshman Demitri Knowles of 75 yards to open up the second half that ended in a Thomas touchdown.
COACHES The Hokies' coaches still couldn't get a ton going on offense, but had some better calls in the red zone, which has been an achilles heel this season. Nothing spectacular, but nothing that really kept Virginia Tech out of the game. Defensive coordinator Bud Foster has to be happier with his defense, which again was against short fields, but did well against the pass and really gave up just a couple of big plays, like Finch's run.
CROWD On the Eagle's senior day, it wasn't a loud crowd, but a better turnout than many expected. The official attendance was 34,266, which might have helped both teams, who we feared might be playing in front of an empty stadium.