Virginia Tech Offense Finding Rhythm Ahead of Showdown with Clemson

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Cam Phillips (5) probably smiled when he looked up the offensive statistics from Virginia Tech’s win over Virginia.

Virginia Tech’s offense found its rhythm just in time.

After sputtering vs. Duke and Georgia Tech, and after getting off to a slow start vs. Notre Dame, the Hokies fired on all cylinders against their in-state rivals.

Virginia Tech compiled a whopping 579 total yards vs. Virginia. The Hokies moved the ball at will and finished the game with the reserves in, allowing the starters to take a rest after a long and grueling season.

It was Tech’s biggest offensive output of the season, and they’ll need a similar performance on Saturday vs. Clemson. The Tigers are one of the highest scoring teams in the country and sport one of the stingiest defenses too. Clemson ranks 8th in total defense and scoring defense, allowing just 17 points per game.

“They’re talented, all over the place,” said Sam Rogers. “Their defensive line is really good, really talented, big, fast. They were in the national championship last year for a reason.”

Running the ball efficiently will help. Virginia Tech hasn’t been the best team on the ground all season, but the Hokies found some success vs. Virginia, rushing for 289 yards on 51 carries. If you’re looking for a reason why the rushing attack got going, look no further than the big boys up front.

“It starts up front,” Rogers said. “The offensive line was getting a lot of movement. When you don’t get touched for the first four or five yards, your offensive line is doing something right, giving you opportunities to get to the second level.”

Head Coach Justin Fuente partly agreed, but saw another reason for Virginia Tech’s rushing success.

“Well, I think it was two things. One, in looking at the film, and Coach Mendenhall may disagree with me, but I felt like they were very concerned about our guys on the outside, which gave us some opportunities to run the ball. When I say our guys on the outside, I mean Bucky and Isaiah and Cam, and they really wanted to keep the ball in front of them, and gave us some better numbers to run the football, and then I’d also say the line of scrimmage moved. I mean, even when the numbers weren’t great, we were still moving the line of scrimmage and able to fall forward for four or five yards when maybe it wasn’t the perfect look.”

Clemson might be less concerned with Virginia Tech’s offensive weapons on the outside, just because of their talent in the secondary. Cornerback Cordrea Tankersley leads the Clemson defensive backs with six tackles for loss and nine pass deflections this season. He also has six career interceptions.

Isaiah Ford (1) will have quite the matchup this weekend vs. Clemson’s secondary.

“They’re pretty athletic, especially on the backend,” said Isaiah Ford. “They’re long, Tankersley, number 25, he’s pretty good. The other corner is good too.”

Ford has plenty to deal with this week. As he prepares for Clemson, Ford is also trying to secure enough tickets for his family and friends who plan on making the trip to Orlando. Ford is from Jacksonville, FL and hasn’t played this close to his hometown in his Virginia Tech career.

“It’s extremely exciting,” Ford said. “All my friends and family, everyone wants tickets. I’m in a hassle right now, trying to ask as many of my teammates and the coaches as I can, trying to get as many tickets as possible. Just trying to make sure everyone can come to the game and get to watch.”

Jerod Evans also has had external factors to deal with. Evans was left off of the All-ACC teams this week and failed to get an Honorable Mention either. Evans has thrown for 3,039 yards, 26 touchdowns and just five interceptions this season, all while completing 63.8 percent of his passes. Evans has also run for 713 yards and eight touchdowns.

Evans was noticeably frustrated about his snub on Tuesday, but is taking the high road.

“All that matters is that I have the coaches behind me and players behind me,” Evans said. “Players had a couple of choice words, but as long as they’re behind me, the fans behind me and my coaches, that’s all I can ask for.”

Evans echoed the sentiments of his teammates when asked about Clemson’s defense — they’re talented.

“They got a lot of studs man,” Evans said. “Just like the big-time schools, you can’t ask for more. They got players all over the board and that’s what makes them great, because they do have talent where they can play man-to-man and trust their cornerbacks, and they have a great front seven.”

Even though it’s a bad matchup for Virginia Tech on paper, Evans says he’s confident heading into the primetime matchup on Saturday night.

“I don’t think no team is invincible,” Evans said. “That’s just my look on everything. Every man bleeds… it’s just a mindset that you have. I don’t feel like nobody is invincible to losing.”

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14 Responses You are logged in as Test

  1. Don’t let the UVa game give you a false sense of accomplishment in the running game. They are not very good and weren’t very motivated. Against Clemson we will likely not get much going on the ground. Will have to rely on the pass.

  2. I think Coach Fuente needs to talk to Buzz and get permission to borrow Zach LeDay for the weekend. Dress him out and just let the camera capture his game face. Most intense stare down of any Hokie since Corey Moore. It would just set the right tone.

  3. If we can win the turnover battle, this will be a game until the final whistle. We make that happen, I like our chances. All of the pressure is on Clemson.

        1. No insult anywhere in there. It was a friendly joke. Hence the smile. Relax and give jumping all over my posts a rest. You’re stalking..

          1. man why don’t you learn and just keep your dumb comments to yourself. You certainly are not funny.

        1. It was meant to be a good-natured teasing. But everyone got their panties in a bunch for no reason.

    1. Brings to mind the image of Ivan Drago bleeding from the eye in the second round of the Balboa fight and the trainer tells him, “You cut him! You see? He’s NOT a machine! He’s a MAN!”

      And then, across the ring, Drago says, “He’s not human. He’s like a piece of iron!”

      1. There are times when on paper prior or playing out in real time, all may seem lost. However, there are also times when the mind is able marshal complete and total resolve in face of seemingly insurmountable odds. There are times when the mind is in such a place that it commands the body to perform actions that are beyond typical output levels..moreover beyond all previous experience. Sometimes when you get a group of minds all believing the same way therefore in agreement, they can overcome great odds and circumstances…but it all starts with a decision and belief all the way until time runs out.

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