Virginia Tech trailed 7-0 after Arkansas State’s first drive, but ran off 26 consecutive points to down the Red Wolves 26-7 in Blacksburg on Saturday afternoon. The Hokies moved to 3-0 on the season with the win, while Arkansas State dropped to 1-2.
The Red Wolves crowded the box with their safeties and limited David Wilson to 88 yards and touchdown on 21 carries. As a team, Tech ran for 135 yards and averaged just 3.5 yards per carry.
The passing lanes were open for Logan Thomas, and he took advantage, particularly in the first half. Thomoas finished 21-of-33 for 292 yards, with two touchdowns and and two interceptions. He threw two first quarter touchdowns to D.J. Coles and Danny Coale. However, two second half interceptions hurt his overall numbers.
The interceptions by Thomas were not bad reads on his part. However, they weren’t good throws. This first was a deep post to Marcus Davis, and Thomas threw too far behind him. The second was against man coverage to Danny Coale on a deep route down the sideline, and Thomas put the ball too far to the inside. Overall though, Thomas improved from week two to week three.
Coale had a huge game, with seven catches for 128 yards and a touchdown. That includes a big 44 yard gain down the right sideline where Coale beat the Arkansas State cornerback in the air for the football on a good throw by Logan Thomas.
Coale also played a key role in his blocking on the perimeter. D.J. Coles scored a touchdown on a 49 yard wide receiver screen, and it was Danny Coale who took out two defenders on a key block to spring the play.
However, the Tech offense still left points on the field. Cody Journell bounced a 41 yard field goal off the right upright, and the offense was stopped on downs at the Arkansas State one yard line on their first drive. Both Logan Thomas interceptions also came inside the Arkansas State 10, and Thomas was sacked on fourth down at the Red Wolves’ 27 on Virginia Tech’s final drive of the game. The Hokies had 427 yards of total offense for the game, but not a lot of points to show for it.
The Tech defense played well, limiting Arkansas State to just 269 yards of total offense. 51 yards of that came on the first play from scrimmage, when Kyle Fuller bit on a pump fake against an out-and-up route by Taylor Stockemer. 51 yards later, Arkansas State was threatening, and they eventually took it in for the score on a read option by quarterback Ryan Aplin.
However, that was the only time the Red Wolves scored. Aplin entered the game holding many Arkansas State passing records, and was completing more than 73% of his passes this season. Against the Hokies, he was just 16-of-36 for 205 yards, with two interceptions.
Jayron Hosley intercepted Aplin twice. The matchup of the day was Hosley against former 5-star wide receiver and Oklahoma Sooner Josh Jarboe. Jarboe had four catches for 38 yards, and it was a very entertaining matchup overall.
Tariq Edwards had another outstanding game for the Hokies, finishing with 10 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss and half-a-sack. As a team, the Hokies record three sacks. Kyle Fuller had 1.5, and J.R. Collins had one.
The big downer for the Hokies was the injury to Dyrell Roberts on the opening kickoff. Roberts broke his arm on the play, and though his status has yet to be determined, Frank Beamer expects him to miss the remainder of the season. Fortunately, because he has played in just three games this year, Roberts will likely get a medical hardship and be a fifth year senior in 2012.
The Hokies return to action next Saturday at 3:30pm, when they travel to Marshall. The game will be televised by CBS Sports Network.