The stats at this point look good, but it was a slow start for the Hokies, especially offensively. VT’s first six carries only netted 17 yards, and that was the entire first quarter, and all of them were runs by Trey Edmunds.
Logan Thomas only hit two of his first five passes, and he also threw an interception on a deep ball that (1) was thrown into tight coverage; and (2) was poorly played by Demitri Knowles, who let the defender front him and catch the football.
The second quarter went much better for the Hokies offensively, with two methodical drives for touchdown and a hurry-up drive later in the quarter that showed some rhythm before ending in an end zone interception. (Again, Knowles got outworked on the play, but Logan also shares some responsibility for not putting some air under the ball and giving Knowles a better shot at it.)
In the two TD drives, Logan Thomas was 8-of-11, and he completed the first three passes of VT’s last possession as well (11-of-14) before throwing two incompletions and his second interception. For the half, LT was 13-of-22 for 153 yards and a TD, but he also threw two interceptions.
Trey Edmunds ran it 9 times for 26 yards, and J.C. Coleman, who played for a couple series in the second quarter, had some nice running room and had 7 carries for 38 yards.
For the half, VT had 38 plays for 217 yards. Not a dominating performance by any stretch of the imagination, but what’s notable is that WCU didn’t have a single TFL.
Also notable: true freshman tight end Kalvin Cline doesn’t look like a true freshman at all, with 2 catches for 21 yards, and they targeted him a third time with a pass that was knocked down. VT brought Cline in early and went right at him. There’s no question that the tight end is a focus of this offense.
Defensively, the Hokies were solid, giving up 108 yards on 30 plays. WCU had 87 yards on 19 carries (4.4 ypc), but their passing game was a disaster. QB Eddie Sullivan was 2-of-11, with three interceptions, including one for a TD by Detrick Bonner (37 yards). VT has 3 TFLs at the half. It hasn’t been a dominating performance at all by the VT defense, which doesn’t appear to be as fired up as they were against Alabama.
Overall, by my vantage point, not as dominating as I had hoped, especially the running game, where VT has been outrushed 87 yards to 64, and 4.4 ypc to 4.0. The Hokies have run the ball 16 times and thrown it 22.
Virginia Tech Halftime Notes, courtesy Virginia Tech Athletics Communications
• Tech’s permanent captains for the year are Jack Tyler, Kyle Fuller, Andrew Miller and Logan Thomas.
• Tech is wearing maroon helmets, maroon jerseys and white pants today. The Hokies are 102-31 all-time under head coach Frank Beamer in this combo.
• Seventy-nine players are dressed for today’s game and 40 of them had never played in Lane Stadium before today.
• True freshman fullback Sam Rogers made his first career start.
• With Kalvin Cline playing in the first half, 10 true freshmen have now played for Tech this year, the most under head coach Frank Beamer at Virginia Tech. Those 10 are: Woody Baron, Chuck Clark, Kalvin Cline, Brandon Facyson, Kendall Fuller, Mitchell Ludwig, Jonathan McLaughlin, Carlis Parker, Sam Rogers and Jerome Wright. The previous high was nine last year and in 2002. Two other times eight true freshmen played (2012, 2004).
• Mark Speir is the 122nd different head coach that Frank Beamer has faced since coming to Virginia Tech in 1987.
• Western Carolina is the seventh different school from the state of North Carolina to play in Lane Stadium.
• Detrick Bonner recorded his third career interception, returning it 37 yards for a touchdown, in the first quarter. It was the 132nd non-offensive touchdown under Beamer, the 83rd by the defense and the 55th via interception. It marked the first defensive touchdown scored by the Hokies since the 2010 ACC Championship Game when Jeron Gouveia-Winslow returned an interception 24 yards for a score. Bonner later intercepted his second pass of the game, becoming the first Hokie to have to picks in a game since Jayron Hosley did it in 2011 against Arkansas. State.
• The last time Tech picked off three passes in a game was in 2011 against Duke. The Hokies had three in the first half today.
• Willie Byrn entered today’s game with one career catch (Virginia, 2011), but had three catches in the first half alone.
• On his first play of the game, D.J. Coles hauled in a 19-yard reception for a touchdown. It was his fourth career touchdown and the first since catching one against Clemson in the 2011 ACC Championship Game.
• Tech’s leading receivers in the first half – Stanford (4 rec.), Byrn (3 rec.) and Cline (2 rec.) – had a combined one reception last week against Alabama.