Hokies Come Up Short in the Redzone and on Special Teams in Loss to Miami

Chris Coleman, TechSideline.com, on November 2, 2012
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The Hokies shot themselves in the foot with poor special teams play and turnovers in the redzone, and lost to Miami 30-12 on Thursday night.  The loss drops Tech to 4-5 overall and 2-3 in the ACC.  The Canes improved to 5-4 overall and 4-2 in ACC play with the win.

Virginia Tech outgained Miami 421-347, had 24 first downs to Miami’s 15, and the Canes did not convert a single third down until the fourth quarter.  However, the Hokies had two redzone turnovers (an interception with the ball at the Miami 20 on first down, and a fumbled snap at the Miami 1 on third down), a badly overthrown pass on a critical fourth down, a blocked punt that set up a short touchdown, a missed extra point, a missed field goal, they dropped a touchdown pass, and they allowed a long kickoff return that set up a touchdown.

Logan Thomas ran for 124 yards, including a long 73 yard touchdown right up the middle, but he also tossed two interceptions and had two critical redzone turnovers.  Tony Gregoy had 50 yards rushing on 12 carries, and the Tech running game totaled 222 yards and averaged 4.9 yards per carry.  However, thanks to redzone mistakes and turnovers, as well as other little things, they couldn’t score a single point in the second half.

The defense wasn’t perfect, allowing several big plays, including a 65 yard run by Duke Johnson.  However, they gave the Tech offense a chance to get back in the game by not allowing a single Miami first down in the third quarter.  Miami quarterback Stephen Morris was just 13-of-28 for 170 yards, but he did connect on two 16 yard touchdown passes following the blocked punt and the long kickoff return.

Here’s a quick synopsis of Virginia Tech’s offensive drives in this game…

Drive 1: 8 plays, 59 yards, interception in the redzone
Drive 2: 4 plays, 12 yards, blocked punt that resulted in a short touchdown for Miami
Drive 3: Demitri Knowles returns the kickoff to the Miami 49.  12 plays, 44 yards, Dyrell Roberts drops a touchdown pass, Cody Journell kicks a 22 yard field goal
Drive 4: 4 plays, 24 yards, punt
Drive 5: 93 yard TD drive, with a 77 yard TD run by Logan Thomas
Drive 6: 5 plays, 20 yards, punt
Drive 7: 10 plays, 57 yards, 20 yard field goal to end the first half
Drive 8: 6 plays, 12 yards, punt
Drive 9: Kyshoen Jarrett returns a punt 29 yards to the Miami 48.  10 plays, 45 yards, fumbled snap at the Miami 1, the Canes recover
Drive 10: 5 plays, 32 yards, missed 47 yard field goal
Drive 11: 7 plays, 35 yards, Thomas overthrows a wide open Joey Phillips on 4th and 1 on a play that would have resulted in a huge gain
Drive 12: 3 plays, -2 yards, punt
Drive 13: 3 plays, -4 yards, punt
Drive 14: 2 plays, 24 yards, Thomas throws an interception

In the third quarter, while Miami was busy racking up a whopping 3 yards of total offense, the Virginia Tech offense fumbled at the Miami 1, missed a field goal, and punted.  Tech also started a drive that began in the third quarter and ended in the fourth quarter which resulted in the Logan Thomas overthrown 4th down pass to Joey Phillips.

Miami tried to lose this football game by converting just one third down (1-of-12 for the game, an amazing job by the Tech defense), committing eight penalties for 55 yards, and allowing a 73 yard touchdown run by a 260-lb quarterback right up the middle.  However, the Hokies handed it right back to them with turnovers in the redzone and too many bad plays on special teams.  At the end of the game, when Miami knew the Hokies were going to throw the ball, Tech had two drives in which they lost yardage, and their final drive ended with an interception.

A bright spot for the Hokies was tight end Ryan Malleck, who caught four passes for 58 yards, and he also appeared to block fairly well in the running game (I say that without having gone back and looked at the film yet).  Jack Tyler had eight tackles and two tackles for loss in a solid defensive effort.

Virginia Tech’s hopes of a Coastal Division Championship have ended.  To make a bowl game, they must now win two of their last three games.  They host Florida State next Thursday night at 7:30pm in Lane Stadium.

Box Score

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