Virginia Tech picked up an important win on Saturday, as the Hokies cruised to a 38-0 win over Old Dominion. If you haven’t read my game recap from the game, you can do so here.
Phillips continues hot streak, Peoples scores three TDs
Cam Phillips put together another impressive performance, making seven receptions for 106 yards. Saturday marked the third time in four games Phillips reached 100 yards receiving. Phillips now has 34 receptions for 523 yards and five touchdowns. Saturday also marked the 31st consecutive game that Phillips has had a reception, a school record.
Everyone knew coming into this season that Phillips was a good receiver. But these numbers? It’s hard to expect anyone to have expected this, outside of Phillips himself.
“I set unrealistic, or to some people may be unrealistic, but really, really high expectations for myself,” Phillips said. “Just the hard work that I’ve put in over the years with my team leads to my coaches trusting me, trusting to find me on certain plays, and Josh and the trust that we have, the chemistry we developed — all of that goes into it but it’s not to my surprise.”
Steven Peoples stole the show on Saturday. Peoples made an impact on the ground and in the receiving game, totaling 135 yards on 16 touches. It was Peoples’ first game with multiple touchdowns, and Peoples doubled his career touchdown total from three to six.
Peoples moved full-time to running back this offseason, moving from the fullback spot. That move, according to head coach Justin Fuente, has helped Peoples become a better player.
“I think it has helped him,” Fuente said. “Not that he wasn’t productive or didn’t do a good job at fullback, it was kind of a deal that last year, we were kind of mixing and matching what we were doing at the H-back position, and he was helpful there. There was a point in the season where we felt like he would be better suited carrying the football.”
Virginia Tech defense records second shutout
Virginia Tech’s defense carried the day, earning their second shutout of the season. The Hokies smothered Old Dominion on Saturday, allowing just 149 yards. It was an encouraging performance for Virginia Tech, who allowed 17 first quarter points to East Carolina last weekend.
“Coach (Bud) Foster talked about all year long about playing a complete game,” Reynolds said. “Last week, we played about 75 percent of the game. Delaware, we gave up a couple big plays here and there. Coach Foster just talked about playing a complete game. Just came out and executed the gameplan.”
Saturday’s shutout was the second of the season, and Tech’s defensive dominance has lasted for the last seven quarters. Tech has not allowed a point in that timespan, and has allowed just 17 points in the last three games. These performances have the Hokies feeling confident heading into next weekend’s game vs. the defending national champions, Clemson.
“It feels good, but the 2006 Tech defense gave up four shutouts, so we’re halfway there and trying to be in the ranks of the No. 1 defense in the land, and the best defense Coach Foster has ever had,” Reynolds said. “It feels good to have two, but we’re definitely aiming for four, possibly five if we can.”
“I think we’re pretty confident,” Walker said. “It’s nothing to do with the shutouts, it’s just being under Coach Foster and going to work every day, playing for Coach Fuente. It’s just our mentality on the… Lunch Pail D, that’s our mentality. Shutout or not, we always have confidence going into each game.”
Virginia Tech injury notes
There are multiple injury concerns for Virginia Tech to address after Tech’s win vs. Old Dominion. We’ll go through them one at a time.
Steven Peoples exited the game in the second half, and was seen with a walking boot on after the game. Peoples was not wearing the boot at the postgame press conference. After the game, head coach Justin Fuente said that Peoples was not pulled due to injury. Peoples doesn’t sound worried about the information.
“I feel great. I think I just tweaked it a little bit, just sprained it. It’s fine,” Peoples said.
Safety Divine Deablo made an interception on Saturday, which was the first of his career. However, Deablo seemed to injure himself on the play and hobbled off the field. After the game, Justin Fuente said he did not know what exactly was wrong with Deablo.
“Obviously, he could not go back in,” Fuente said. “We’ll look at it and see. I was glad to see him catch the ball. He’s been dealing with a wrist problem that’s contributed to those balls that he’s batted down the last couple of weeks, that he hasn’t been able to catch the ball.”
“If it’s big news then I’ll share it with y’all moving forward, and if it’s not, then I probably won’t tell you much,” Fuente said.
Safety Devon Hunter did not dress for Saturday’s game. A Virginia Tech spokesman prior to the game that Hunter was “questionable” and that holding him out was likely precautionary.
Running back Travon McMillian left the game in the first half and did not return. It is unclear why he did not return or if he sustained an injury.