A sleepy start nearly derailed all hopes Virginia Tech had of playing in December, but the Hokies rallied late and defeated Boston College in overtime Saturday, 30-23. The Hokies' defense was a big reason they hung in it while the offense tried to play catch up. Senior writer Doug Bowman goes over some big performers from the game.
Thomas struggled for the majority of the game, but he made a few key plays that were instrumental in the victory. Thomas finished with 247 yards and two touchdowns on 16 of 33 passing. It was the first game in which he didn't throw an interception since the Austin Peay game in week two.
Thomas' quarterback sneak on the first possession of the second half pulled the Hokies within three and his touchdown pass to Marcus Davis later in the third quarter gave Tech the lead. When Tech desperately needed points on their final possession of regulation, Thomas completed two huge passes to move into field goal and give junior kicker Cody Journell a chance to tie. While he certainly was lucky to have not been intercepted multiple times in this game, Thomas made enough plays to earn a spot on this list.
Knowles only had two catches for six yards on offense, but it was his 75-yard kick return to open the second half that put the Hokies in the game.
If Virginia Tech hadn't set up shop to start that first drive on the Boston College 20, who knows how the second half would have gone. However, Knowles scampered his way deep into enemy territory and gave Tech a short field to get back in the game.
Whenever Tweedy has played significant snaps defensively in his career, he has played very well. That was the case last year during the final few games and it has been the case during the past two weeks as well.
Tweedy finished with seven tackles and two sacks on the day and has really provided Bud Foster with another pass rushing threat from the second level.
Davis didn't play in the first half for whatever reason - coach Frank Beamer said after the game that the situations just broke that way - but once he did get in he made a huge difference. He had a reception on the opening drive of the second half that took the ball down to the goal line and set up Thomas for an easy quarterback sneak and later made a tremendous play on a 37-yard touchdown reception.
Maybe he doesn't play effectively on each and every play, but Davis brings value to this offense as a dynamic deep threat down field. There are only a handful of defensive backs in the ACC that can handle his size and leaping ability down field and he has proven that time and time again this year.
Throughout the game, but especially in the first half, Taylor was by far the most engaged player for the Hokies. While the rest of the team was seemingly sleeping during the first half, Taylor was the one player showing emotion and desire while trying to wake up his teammates.
Taylor finished with nine tackles, three of which were for loss, and two sacks as he harassed the Eagles all day. With Tweedy's emergence at WHIP, Foster finally has multiple blitzing options from his second level.
Prior to Tweedy's insertion in the lineup, most of Foster's blitzes consisted of just Taylor or Taylor and Tyler going up the middle at the quarterback. Now, he is able to bring Taylor off the edge if he wants and that has been a big reason why the Hokies have leaped from tied for 58th in the country in sacks before the Florida State came to tied for 19th now with one game to play.