No. 17 Virginia Tech Flops in the Carrier Dome, Falls to Syracuse 31-17

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Virginia Tech Syracuse Scoring Summary

Virginia Tech quarterback Jerod Evans wanted his Hokies to be in the conversation with the ACC’s elite schools after last Saturday’s win over North Carolina. But after an uninspiring, disappointing 31-17 defeat to Syracuse on Saturday, those conversations will cease for the time being.

Instead, Virginia Tech remains a puzzle that doesn’t make sense.

The Orange offense, who’s given just about everyone fits this season, converted 10 of their 21 attempts on third down and four of their five attempts on fourth down and gassed the Hokies defense into submission. Syracuse won the time of possession battle by almost seven minutes, 33:25 to 26:35.

Syracuse quarterback Eric Dungey picked apart the Virginia Tech defense, throwing for 311 yards and one touchdown, while also running for 106 yards and another touchdown. Evans put up respectable numbers, throwing for 307 yards and two touchdowns, but he was responsible for two turnovers.

Syracuse punched Virginia Tech in the mouth early and set the tone. Dungey led a six-play drive to start the game and capped it off with a 58-yard touchdown pass to Ervin Phillips to go up 7-0. The Orange started the second quarter with an 84-yard touchdown pass, this time to Brisly Estime, giving Syracuse a 14-3 lead. Syracuse’s Cole Muprhy padded the lead before the end of the first half with a 51-yard field goal, giving the Orange a 17-3 lead headed into the break.

Virginia Tech Syracuse Team StatsThe Virginia Tech offense stalled repeatedly in the first half. The running game struggled to pick up yards and the Hokies faced plenty of third and longs, making it difficult to sustain a drive. The Hokies failed on seven of their nine third down attempts in the first half.

The Hokies bounced back in the third quarter and started to gash Syracuse for chunks of yardage. Travon McMillian ran for 14 yards and 10 yards on separate plays and Evans found Cam Phillips for 21 yards down to the Syracuse 12-yard-line. Evans cashed in with a touchdown pass to Isaiah Ford, but Tech’s extra point was blocked, making it 17-9 with 11:19 left in the third quarter.

Needing a stop, Virginia Tech struggled to get off the field on Syracuse’s next possession. Syracuse drove all the way down to the Virginia Tech 29-yard-line, but Dungey’s biggest mistake of the day killed the drive. Dungey threw into triple coverage in the endzone and Terrell Edmunds came down with the interception, giving the Hokies momentum.

The Hokies took advantage of the turnover to drive down the field. Evans hit Phillips for a 52-yard reception over the middle and just a couple plays later, Virginia Tech faced a third and three from the 7-yard-line. Evans, who’s been very good at valuing the football all season, was intercepted at in the end zone, blowing a scoring chance.

The Tech defense, which had struggled early on, got a stop and on the Hokies next possession, Evans found a chance at redemption. Evans found Bucky Hodges for a 10-yard touchdown and after a two-point conversion, Virginia Tech was tied at 17 with 13:53 left in the fourth.

The momentum didn’t last long. The Orange marched down the field on a 17 play, 75 yard drive and Dungey ran for a touchdown to give Syracuse a 24-17 lead. On that drive, Syracuse converted three third down attempts and one fourth down attempt.

With the defense completely exhausted, the Virginia Tech offense needed to control possession and score. Instead, the Hokies went three and out and were forced to punt. Estime retuned the punt 20 yards and gave Syracuse good field position. Four plays later, Syracuse’s Dontae Strickland iced the game with a 16-yard touchdown run.

The loss puts Virginia Tech at 4-2 on the season and 2-1 in the ACC. Thanks to a win from North Carolina over No. 16 Miami, the Hokies still control their own destiny in the Coastal Division.

Virginia Tech’s schedule doesn’t get any easier after the loss. The Hokies will play Miami on Thursday night in Lane Stadium, only to then travel to Pittsburgh for another Thursday night game. Those two showdowns will certainly help decide the forever-muddled Coastal division.

— box score —

Virginia Tech Syracuse Player Stats

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44 Responses You are logged in as Test

  1. Did we have expectations that we do as well as we have thus far in Fuente’s first season? I didn’t–figured it would take a couple of years. After a couple of disappointing seasons we’re right back in the mix–Wow! This game, as bad as it was, will tell us a lot about our coaches and players in how they respond. Thursday night is the real test.

  2. What really counts now is that we beat Miami. The problem is that we only have 5 days to prepare. Who is the genius that made up this schedule? I hear it was Mark Richt as a condition to take the job at Miami!

  3. I thought I saw Jerod trying to shake out a right leg/ankle injury during part of the game. Did anyone else see that?

    That was a dioficult game to watch. Time to pactice what CJF preaches – don’t get too high and don’t get too low; do your job.

    Hoping Thursday night is better.

  4. Couple of things I did not get about that game. We have defended spread offenses before but certain quarter backs, it seems like, we are just not going to stop. Maryland a few years ago, could not stop that guy. Duke quarter back a few years ago, could not stop that guy, Boise State at FedX Statium, and so on. It just seems to me that we could figure that out. I don’t think the Quse are better than us but may they are. We are only going to see more spread offenses so we had better figure that one out.

    Also, we just got no breaks at all. At least twice Dungy threw the ball away, one clearly outside the box and once with no receiver in the vicinity and there were no grounding call. The one was so blatant, when he flipped the ball to one of his coaches just prior to going out of bounds, no receiver in the vicinity and in front of an official.

    1. If he’s outside the box, then he IS allowed to do that and take it as an incomplete pass instead of a sack or getting tackled.

  5. I will be glad when the VT administration lets go of Beamer and the previous staff. We have new football coaches and they will be successful in the future. The previous coaches recruiting over the last 4 years has helped to put us in a hole and that will take a while to correct.

  6. I don’t think we have gotten to the point that a trap game even exists. Every single game is a contest that we are just as likely to lose as to win. We don’t know what we have with this team. If all goes as planned in a few years we can talk trap games.

  7. OK, so now that we’ve stubbed or toe with this staff, can we dispense with the constant comparisons to Beamer and his staff? This stuff happens to everyone…..except maybe Saban’s teams.
    Classic trap game. It happens.

    1. It’s 1000 times easier not to stub your toe (per Saban comment) when 80% of your athletes are 4 and 5 star talent. As you’ve seen in the last few weeks, they can win games on O and D-lines ALONE!

      It’s like giving the same team in the NFL the 1st-4th round draft picks every year.

  8. Deep breath everyone. This program wasn’t going to shoot into the National Championship over night. Steel forges Steel. We are still a work in progress learning how to be that consistent resilient threat on the gridiron. Frankly, this was a display and exposure of every thing that is still week about Vtech: We still lack elite O-lineman, Dominant D-ends, agile linebackers, Shutdown down corners both sides like times past, perhaps 2nd level running game. That’s a lot of holes to hide.

    #2 When you play a mobile quarterback you must have effective D-ends or linebackers. Remember the days when Bud could release a linebacker or d-end for a kill shot on drop back or QB scrambles? Ben Taylor, Adibi, Cody Grimm, Chase Williams, Bruce Taylor, Darryl Tapp, Chris Ellis, Jason Worilds, Kam Chancellor, James Gayle. Thats alot of great names from 2000 to 2012. We have none of that right now.

    Lastly, If u watch the game tape over again, our front five could not block cuse’ four all game and gave little time for Evans to set his feet or find open receivers but unfortunately Jarod as much as I love him bears the biggest responsibility for this loss. You can not go on the road into a house of horrors no doubt, and commit two costly turnovers. Besides constantly throwing off your back foot most of the game, You threw across your body into the endzone at the 6min mark of the 3rd quarter when that wasn’t the player the play was called for leading to no points and you didn’t protect the ball in traffic in the final 6minutes of the 4th quarter when you needed to the most (no points).

    Sorry for the long rant…..couch therapy I suppose.

    1. Very accurate assessment. I hope we can now do away with the constant comparisons to “the old staff”.

    2. Follow your own advice and take a deep breath. Evans does not bear the biggest responsibility for the loss. Team game if you didn’t know it.

      1. vtatlantahokie got it correct. buds defense held up as long as they could. they got caught early in bad coverage for 1 TD and got beat on 1 razzle dazzle play for a TD in the first half and made adjustments and did not give up any more until late when they were sucking air. why were they wore out? because Evans had a bad game and the offense hung the Defense out to dry. Evans did not look like himself for most of the game. bottom line is if Evans executes (several times he bailed out of the pocket when he did not have to) we win despite 31 points allowed. i have no doubt that he will be a better QB after this game. he will learn from it and continue to grow. once he gets his timing down on the deep ball to Ford its game on. .

        1. Again, it’s a team game. “bears the biggest responsibility for this loss” – hardly. Plenty of responsibility to spread around the team pretty damn evenly.

    3. Jarod holds the ball and runs too many times himself a la Logan Thomas. Hand the damn ball off and let the RB do his job.

      Great thought on throwing off his back foot (reminds me of Cam Newtons motion). Will never hit consistently down the field like dungey did bc of poor mechanics. Ford is open many times and is overthrown.

      1. Logan Thomas runs were by design for the most part. The staff called them. Not so sure about Evans with exception of UNC game.

  9. Methinks the team was mindful of all the press love and being the 19 point favorite. Outplayed and outcoached. Trap game indeed. They can redeem themselves Thursday and resume the revenge tour. Carolina’s win today helped us in spite of ourselves. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, start all over again. Go Hokies, beat the Canes. See you all in Blacksburg Thursday.

    1. Players make trap games. Good that CJF said he didn’t get the team ready but this is on the players. You get yourself UP to play. It all comes from inside each and every player. Coaches design game plans but game plans can be faulty. Coaches can yell and scream, give great pregame speeches which is part of the process but the players must get themselves ready to play emotionally, mentally, psychologically – that’s what was missing in Syracuse.

  10. It’s college football people! Anything can happen. Sad to see some of you throwing the team under the bus because they disappointed you. And I for one was really impressed with Syracuse’s execution.

  11. What a butt-kicking ! Looked like two ‘sand lot’ football teams with one of them forgetting to show up ? Bud WHO ? No defense; no pass coverage; no pass
    rush. Can you imagine Bud and the D playing an SEC schedule ? Not much O.
    Rogers is definitely not a running back ! It appears that the Hokies have NO break-away running backs. The O line looked ‘confused’ on numerous plays.
    A similar ‘letdown’ against Miami would probably put the season in a ‘tailspin’.
    It looks like the forecast out of Vegas of 6.5 wins is ‘alive and well’ !!!

    1. The big concern this week, is how beat up we are at the D tackle position, two went down and Miami will run the football right at us and they have the last 2 years.

  12. When are we going to stop handing the ball off to Sam Rogers? 8 rushes for 21 yards vs. 9 rushes for 43 yards for Travon!! Sam is great in the passing game and I love him as a player and more so as a leader, but a running back he is not!! I thought Loeffler was calling the plays again tonight in the first half!!

  13. Simply a debacle. There’s no excuse for what happened today. I’m so sick of losing in that cursed, God-forsaken building. Back in the Big Least era when we would lose every other year up there, the ‘Cuse was our equal in talent. Not today. We were flat, overconfident, out-played, and out-coached.

    1. It’s not where you play, it’s how you play. We thought this was a 3 foot put. I hope there was Soul Searching on that plane ride back home after losing to a 2 and 4 team.

  14. Two things I noticed:

    We suck on turf. I think the speed of the game coming from UNC to the Dome hurt us.

    If you watch pass protection, Dungey had ALL day and our OL was pushed backwards every play.

    We should have run Williams more between tackles.

    We were unprepared, unmotivated, or unsomething.

    OK that was four things. But in the end we are who our record tells us we are…still not bowl eligible. A chance to grab the Coastal and we go to the bathroom instead.

  15. We were beaten in all 3 phases of the game, but…
    I’m putting slightly more blame on the O for this loss. SU has one of the worst defenses in the country, and a few of their starters were actually out with injuries for this game. How does tech only score 17, when every other FBS team put up at least 28?

    They just looked like they wanted it more (more energy, focus, better prepared, etc). They were ready, tech wasn’t, and tech lost. I think this is how UNC must have felt after last week.

      1. Not to correct you, but we watched the replay (they even SHOWED it on that god-forsaken telecast)… QB play he ran through 3 “tackles”, and very next play the RB ran through 3 AGAIN…SIX missed tackles in 2 plays pretty much sums it up for me….

        OH, and who will be the NEXT QB we put on Heisman watch with his running prowess?? At least this guy actually appeared to BE mobile..but that typically doesn’t matter!

  16. Made the trip to the Dome today and very painful to watch the Hokies play the 1st half very flat and didn’t respond to Orange coming out of the gates out hustling the Hokies most of the game! Both O-line & D-line very disappointing and got schooled by Orange majority of the game. I’m sure Bud was trying to make adjustments but Orange QB torched D on short pass over the middle and slants all game long! Syracuse had eye of the tiger and came ready to play and Hokies didn’t! Hokies very slow to get engaged first half! Don’t think anyone saw us getting smoked today! Painful loss and big momentum missed opportunity, but we need to put in rearview mirror and come back ready to play the Canes on Thursday. Have to give congrats to Orange and their fans were who were very friendly and good sports to our group during the game!

    1. Accurate analysis. Key phrases – very flat, didn’t respond, got schooled, Syracuse had the eye of the tiger and came ready to play, Hokies very slow to get engaged.

      One team came to play – the other came just to win.

    2. I bunch of us Hokies watched that debacle together yesterday and were wondering who were the poor souls were who made the trip to that HOLE to watch us get embarrassed…Props to you.I can only hope you live within a couple of hours and didn’t go far out of your way!

      1. I was there. UGH. I’ve seen us play in that building 6 or 7 times, and we’ve only won there once.

        Saturday wasn’t as bad / disappointing / gut wrenching as in 1998, but still sucked.

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