Frank Beamer's seat was on fire at Virginia Tech entering Friday, but it wasn't the Lane Stadium downpour that extinguished the 29th-year coach's chair. It was the play of his Hokies with their backs against the wall.
Virginia Tech was 2-3 and coming off back-to-back embarrassing losses, but the Hokies responded at home Friday for a 28-13 win over North Carolina State. They had lost eight of their last 10 against FBS foes at home.
As for the Wolfpack, they showed they're not ready for the spotlight.
What the win means for Virginia Tech: It won't permanently silence critics who believe the game has passed the 68-year-old Beamer, but it'll be a quieter week in Blacksburg, Virginia. The Hokies registered 100 total yards last week, but the offense played well after a slow first quarter. Brendan Motley had the best game of his career at quarterback and showed he has the toughness and moxie that a team can rally behind. It might be too late to earn the starting job once Michael Brewer returns, but at the least he gave Virginia Tech a needed ACC win. Coastal hopes are still alive for them, too.
What the loss means for NC State: It's time to put the preseason NC State hype to bed. After a solid end to 2014, there was thought the Wolfpack could compete in the ACC with Clemson and Florida State retooling. NC State, which was 4-0 thanks to a cupcake nonconference schedule, has been exposed the last two weeks in conference play. There is individual talent on both sides of the ball, but NC State makes too many mistakes to be considered a contender. The passing game is a mess, too. There aren't any guaranteed wins left on the Wolfpack's schedule.
Player of the game: Motley, no doubt about it. The numbers are a little deceiving as he completed only 14 of 28 passes for 158 yards. However, he threw three second-quarter touchdowns and didn't turn the ball over. Two of the touchdowns came on impressive throws, too. The first came on a deep ball after identifying a corner blitz. The third was a tight fit between two defenders. The most impressive part of Motley's game is that NC State couldn't knock him out. He was bludgeoned a second straight week, but Motley missed just one play.
Stat of the game: Jacoby Brissett finished with a yards per attempt of 4.5, and Virginia Tech was without elite cornerback Kendall Fuller. Brissett threw for 113 yards, a touchdown and an interception on 12-of-25 passing. The passing game is completely out of sync. Receivers aren't getting open, and Brissett is holding onto the ball too long. When he does throw downfield, receivers are unable to win individual battles.