Virginia Tech Falls Flat at Home to Georgia Tech, Fails to Clinch ACC Coastal Division

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Justin Fuente Virginia Tech
Virginia Tech missed a golden opportunity on Saturday in a deflating loss to Georgia Tech.

vt-gt-2016-scoring-summary

Virginia Tech had a chance to clinch the ACC Coastal Division on Saturday vs. Georgia Tech. Instead, the Hokies turned the ball over four times and lost to Georgia Tech 30-20 in a game that wasn’t as close as the score indicates.

“You think back on the game, we turned the ball over obviously, right from the start,” Fuente said. “Really never got anything going. I thought our kids played admirably.”

The mistakes for Virginia Tech started on the opening kickoff. Der’Woun Greene, who returned kicks in place of the injured Greg Stroman, fumbled on the return and it led to a Georgia Tech field goal. Wright Bynum later couldn’t handle a snap on a 38-yard field goal attempt and it was blocked. Jerod Evans threw two interceptions and a Bucky Hodges fumble in the fourth quarter killed any chance the Hokies had at tying the game.

“I mean all coaches say these things, but they’re true. The single, biggest determining factor in winning or losing ballgames is turnover margin,” Fuente said. “There’s no other statistic other than the score that predicts the outcome of a game.”

Georgia Tech’s Matthew Jordan started at quarterback for the injured Justin Thomas and ran all over the Hokies. Jordan finished with 121 rushing yards and two touchdowns. As a team, the Yellow Jackets ran for 309 yards on 58 attempts. Georgia Tech held the ball for 35 minutes and 55 seconds and controlled the flow of the entire game.

“Paul Johnson did a great job tonight,” said Defensive Coordinator Bud Foster. “He was kind of a step ahead of me on a couple things. We were always trying to get our front moving. He did a nice job countering that.”

Georgia Tech owned the first half. Harrison Butker kicked two field goals in the first quarter as the Yellow Jackets churned the game clock. Georgia Tech continued to pound away on the ground and broke through in the second quarter on a 53-yard touchdown run by Jordan to extend the lead to 13-0 with roughly eight minutes left in the half.

Virginia Tech’s next two drives went nowhere and right before the half, Georgia Tech capitalized on good field position to add to the lead. Jordan’s second rushing touchdown of the day gave the Yellow Jackets a 20-0 lead heading into halftime. It was the worst first half deficit for the Hokies since their 2014 loss to Miami at home.

The Hokies had just 121 total yards in the first half and were just 2-6 on third down.

“It wasn’t what we’d like it to be, that’s for sure,” Fuente said. “It’s always easy for a coach to say, ‘We weren’t, we never got in a flow or a rhythm,’ and all that kind of stuff, which is true, but there were reasons for that. Our execution level just hasn’t been, or certainly wasn’t today, what it needed to be. When we did get things going, we either turned the ball over or couldn’t convert on a third down to keep the drive going, which is disappointing.”

Virginia Tech seemed to come out of the half with some fire. They took advantage of a bad snap by Georgia Tech and immediate clicked on offense. Evans threw a 5-yard touchdown pass to Isaiah Ford to cut Georgia Tech’s lead to 20-7 with 12:40 left in the third quarter.

The touchdown was Ford’s 185th career reception, breaking the school record previously held by Jarrett Boykin. Ford finished with eight catches for 85 yards and the touchdown.

Woody Baron Virginia Tech
Georgia Tech ran for 309 yards vs. Virginia Tech. 121 of those yards came from Georgia Tech’s backup quarterback Matthew Jordan.

Unfortunately for Virginia Tech, that would be the last time the offense moved the ball before the game was out of reach. Evans’ second interception came on the next drive, and the Hokies lost all momentum. Georgia Tech added another field goal with 11:01 left to play and capped it all off with a 56-yard touchdown run by Marcus Marshall to go up 30-7 with 9:16 left in the game.

“We needed to not allow the big plays. We gave up two big plays and that cost us the football game when it’s all said and done,” Foster said.

With the loss, Virginia Tech drops to 7-3 on the season. Saturday was the second game this season that Virginia Tech came out flat vs. an out-matched ACC team. The Hokies also made plenty of mistakes in their 31-17 loss to Syracuse in October, and both that loss and the Georgia Tech loss have made the Coastal Division closer than it should be.

Despite the poor start and stagnant offense, Evans didn’t think the team’s energy was a problem.

“The focus was there completely,” Evans said. “The guys knew what was at stake. The leadership, the seniors knew what was at stake. The young guys knew what was at stake. I just think we emphasized the point too much that it became overwhelming. I feel like we over emphasized on offense that we were going to get few possessions that it became overwhelming, so therefore when we didn’t execute on third down, we would press a little bit more than we normally would.”

“I thought we were ready to play,” Fuente said. “The guys had a good week of practice, at times we looked good out there, but we just… I don’t sense anything but professionalism and hunger from these guys to do the right thing.”

It’s also the second straight game the Virginia Tech offense seemed to sputter. The Hokies’ offense was responsible for just 17 points vs. Duke and scored just seven points before garbage time vs. Georgia Tech.

Evans said that spreading the football around more should help the offense get things going.

“I say get everybody more involved,” Evans said. “Not just a couple people. I think once that happens, you’ll see more execution.”

Virginia Tech will have to play Notre Dame in a non-conference game next weekend, but can clinch the Coastal Division the following week vs. Virginia. The team’s win over North Carolina gives Tech an important tiebreaker over the Tar Heels, who also have two ACC losses.

“That’s part of what I told the kids after the game,” Fuente said. “First of all, we didn’t deserve to win the ballgame today. Georgia Tech did. They deserve a tremendous amount of credit. We didn’t deserve to win our division today, but because of the way they have played and the way they have conducted themselves, and the games that they’ve won, the way they’ve played on the road, that dream’s not dead.”

hokiesports.com box score

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31 Responses You are logged in as Test

  1. Let’s stop putting down our fellow Hokies. There are multiple NFL players on this squad. Certainly a lot more talent than SU and GT put on the field and enough to get it done when we play like we’re capable. It just comes down to game plan and execution. Sometimes the coaches let us down and sometimes it’s the players, they’re human. The turnovers and defensive penalties killed us in this one. Now that we have given the Wahoos something to play for, let’s encourage our team to get better, give them the support and respect they deserve as they fight to finish the first Fu season strong against ND and UVA.

  2. This is how I know I am invested again. For the last 3 years, as the loses piled up I wasn’t really mad. I was just “Oh well. Another loss.” This season, I have been disgusted after each loss. This team is young and in an entirely new system. Yes, Coach Foster is still the DC, but the change at the top still is a change that affects all. In the long run we are going to be fine. This one hurts, but the goals set at the beginning of the season are still in front of us. So I’m looking forward to the next one.

    LET’S GO!!!

  3. You know if I told you we would be 7-3 right now, with one win needed to go to ACCCG, you would have called ma liar!. I was at the game, yes it sucked, but hey we have had a great season. CJF is doing a good job, this coming from a die hard Beamer man, who thought he was pushed out. I think we win out, this loss will put the fire back in the guys! GO HOKIES! beat ND

  4. we left our lot 40 minutes before kickoff and did not get into the stadium in time
    I felt like the first half was one long TV timeout, no chance for fan momentum

  5. While the D didn’t play up to their usual standards of stopping the Ga Tech offense , they probably still did enough to give us a chance to win had the offense played even average. This was the same problem that occurred in the Syracuse game. The D actually played pretty well overall in that game too..they gave up a couple big plays but the offense just didn’t provide any consistent help in that game either. They’ve done it in some games (Pitt, Miami, ECU) but looked lost in others. Lately, the offense seems stagnant and unable to get into a rhythm. Not sure if this is because there is more film on what we are doing but it is a bit troubling. I still think once Fuente gets more of his type of players (quick guys who can make plays in space) this offense will take off. Also, we really don’t have any home run threat at running back and I’m not sure any of them have great vision either to find holes. Rarely are they able to make guys miss either. O-line isn’t playing that well either, though I would expect the left side of our line to at least be average.

  6. Every season you have the “Upset Saturday” and this weekend was it with 5 teams in Top ten taking the L! Throw in ranked VT & UNC also joining that L club as well! I have to give GT lots of credit as they came out fired up with 2nd string QB and took it to us and essentially never looked back! While we got schooled in all 3 phases (D, O, ST), I thought our ongoing Achilles Heel O-line was especially glaring. Not only do they continue to be turrible, just turrible, absolutely turrible in run blocking, the pass protection was also turrible, just turrible, absolutely turrible! Never thought Evans would be sacked 5 times by one of worst ranked ACC defenses! Understand coaches post game comments are typically boiler plate & predictable…”thought our guys played hard and don’t think it was focus issues etc”….But the muffed snap on blocked FG, and bad snap that resulted in 20 yard loss and nearly cost us a turnover TD, and whiffs on long GT 2TD runs really seemed to me like lack of focus playing big part!
    The real head scratcher this season is we pick 2 weak ACC teams to go lay an egg on the 50 yard line in both games and walk out with loss on games where we were clear favorite! Hopefully we regroup and go get a big W in South Bend next Saturday and close out Coastal with W vs. UVA.
    Good news is we can still stay in driver seat for Coastal with a win vs. UVA! I still think CJF is very good coach and in 2 weeks will have this team headed to play in ACCCG! Never any fun to sit through a game like yesterday, but as we saw with top 10 results, anything can happen on College Football Saturday! Let’s go Hokies!

  7. Ricky, sorry you had to write about that turd. That probably took several drinks. Hopefully your Sunday is better.

  8. The story of this year is no running game (except QB- again) which makes this offense to predictable. What’s happened to the OL considering how they were jelling at the end of last year?

    1. Agree totally and other teams get how many rushing yards? Sorry but not buying upset week as an answer.

      1. Bingo and Bingo. I sat through all of it, every minute. Our offense is predictable and not good. [much better than last year, but not good]. O is not predictable due to play calling, it is predictable because we don’t have any real playmakers on O and We cannot run consistently and the receivers do not get much separation with little or no threat of a deep ball or a RB breaking off a long run.

        I hope we beat pUVA, but I won’t be surprised if we don’t.

  9. 4 turnovers will kill any team. Need to remember this is essentially the same players from last year. Fuente has us performing way above actual talent level. I get it, it’s way disappointing but I believe our future is bright and Fuente has already laid the foundation to be a true powerhouse soon.

  10. .
    Defensive genius Bud Foster needs to
    1. Figure out how to stop the run so they will have to pass to our interference generating d-backs.
    2. Figure out how to stop running QBs so we can stop the run so they will have to throw to our defensive backs who Bud has figured out how to stop from generating interference calls.
    3. Fooeyente [they didn’t play admirably] needs to figure out how to be Fuente.
    4. I need to figure out how to stop being critical of a team that really earned criticism yesterday.
    5. Go Hokies. Beat UVA. Win the division crown. Beat Climpson. Win Bowl Game. Recruit well.

  11. What I observed was a team loss. Everyone was responsible for today’s loss. Defense played well in spots. Special teams disappointed me. That bad snap before halftime was a killer. Our running game isn’t there mainly because of our OL. The offense shot itself in the foot a few times too many with costly turnovers and dropped passes. Just not a good game. Hopefully this loss motivates the team to win 3 straight like the other 2 loses did. If so, we are ACC champions. 😉

  12. So many comments so little effort on the comments. Guys were tight and made mistakes. Let’s move on and go 1 and 0

  13. People spend a lot of money and time to see a crappy product, if Whit and company want to stick it to us relative to $$$,there’s a deal on their side, show up, act like you care, and don’t leave the fans standing in line for 30 minutes to get in the gate.

    1. It’s not a crappy product. It was a bad game. On the other hand I certainly understand your frustration about waiting to get in.

    2. Crappy product? Ridiculous! It’s college football, where every week half the teams lose. This week it was our turn. GT played a heck of a game, substitute QB and all. My hat is off to them.

  14. No, it’s more than just one game. We didn’t really have an offense at Duke.
    Today was a total melt down by the entire VT FB Team.
    Bud has a very difficult time defending a mobile QB.
    Our middle linebacker has limited skills. Our running backs don’t hit the hole (when there is one) quickly. We have NO running game with our running backs because we have average running backs and below average offensive line.
    Evans can’t do everything. Defenses have figured out what our offense is.
    I hope we get things adjusted quickly.

  15. Same ole story – no damn offense……………when is this going to ever change at Tech? Where was the defense today? Never showed up and allowed the big plays. Defense is very disappointing.

      1. Sorry, the D was not OK. We cannot stop the run or the big plays! They have been disappointing all season – not just yesterday!!!!!

      2. Not to mention the incredibly bad snap at the end of the first half that wasn’t a turnover (technically) but had almost the same effect, since the punt that followed gave GT the ball, great field position, and sufficient time to tack on another 7 points going in to halftime – 7 points without which the game might have been closer to being within reach later on. Can’t give the defense too much of a pass, either, though, with the number of times it seemed to be such a surprise that the (backup) quarterback might end up keeping the ball. You’d think they might start to catch on to these running quarterbacks with all the practice they’ve had chasing behind them down the field – not just this season, but seems like it was an issue last season as well…

        1. G83Hokie……you misspelled “forever”.

          Our trouble with QB’s running (as opposed to “running QB’s”, who you’d expect to be able to run) goes back a LONG way. I think it’s the scheme we’ve run forever. It is, and always has been, an Achilles heel. If I am scheming against a VT defense, I run my QB ALL DAY LONG

          At this point, I’d settle for somewhat limiting the damage they do…..

          1. You’re right – I hardly got any of the letters right, did I? :-). Sometimes it hurts to keep remembering too far back.

          2. No, we have stopped Woody Danzler, Marcus Haggins, Reggie Ball, and a ton of other running QB’s in the past. We even stopped McNabb though he beat us on a throw back at the last second. When we had good LB’s , we stopped most of the running QB’s.

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