Tuesday, October 11, 2011
Midseason report: Virginia Tech
By ESPN.com staff
Record: 5-1, 1-1 ACC
The Hokies started the season exactly like they were expected to -- with a 4-0 record against unheralded nonconference opponents.
It was hardly a breeze, though.
A closer look beyond the scores would show hints of offensive struggles leading up to the ACC opener against Clemson. Quarterback Logan Thomas conceded even he was surprised he only threw for 91 yards against the East Carolina defense. With 12 penalties and two turnovers, the Hokies were fortunate to escape ECU with a 17-10 road win in what would be their toughest nonconference game of the season.
That schedule did nothing, though, to prepare the Hokies for what they would face against a ranked, undefeated Clemson team in their first ACC game of the season.
For the first time since 1995, Virginia Tech was held without a touchdown in Lane Stadium. The Hokies were just 4-of-16 on third-down conversions, and Thomas completed just 15 of 27 passes for 125 yards and an interception.
Virginia Tech, though, is one team you don’t count out after only one loss. With a reputation for making comebacks, the Hokies did just that the following week in a thrilling win over Miami. Thomas had more touchdowns (3) than he did incomplete passes (2) and was flat-out spectacular. His 19-yard touchdown run on fourth-and-one turned out to be the game winner and kept the defending ACC champs in the Coastal Division race.
Defensively, the Hokies have made measurable improvement from a year ago, ranking No. 13 in the country in rushing defense, No. 13 in total defense, and No. 14 in scoring defense. Injuries, though, have left the defense thin and a major concern for coach Frank Beamer moving forward. Miami didn't win the game, but it's offensive line won the battle up front. The Hokies allowed 519 yards of total offense and 236 on the ground. In order to stay in the ACC race, Virginia Tech will eventually need to put together a complete game, but it has to get healthy to do that.
Virginia Tech is playing catch-up now in the ACC standings, but this team knows how to make a comeback. They’ll just need a little bit of help from Georgia Tech.
Offensive MVP: RB David Wilson: He’s second in the ACC in rushing with 128 yards per game, and has five rushing touchdowns. He has a league-high 768 yards on 131 carries. He’s second in the ACC in all-purpose yards with 182.
Defensive MVP: CB Jayron Hosley: He’s fourth in the ACC in passes defended with eight, and he has three interceptions. He is also third in the ACC in punt return average with 11.1 yards per return.