Virginia Tech Gets Badly Needed Win At Georgia Tech, 26-17

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Tre Turner was huge for the Hokies in their win, finishing with 187 yards. (Ivan Morozov)

When you lose, your confidence drops. When it happens repeatedly in heartbreaking fashion, it kills your confidence even more. That’s the situation Virginia Tech found itself in on Saturday against Georgia Tech. However, with their backs against the wall, the Hokies rallied, winning 26-17 in Atlanta.

“We were on a three-game losing streak,” Virginia Tech wide receiver Tre Turner said. “We needed that win, badly.”

Justin Fuente’s team played its most complete game of the season. The offense totaled a season-high 491 yards, while the defense forced two turnovers and got stops when needed. Special teams excelled, too, as John Parker Romo made four-of-five field goal attempts and Peter Moore pinned Georgia Tech inside the 20 twice.

It was the performance Virginia Tech had spoken about all season, and though it wasn’t pretty at times, it got the job done.

“Quite honestly, they owned it [the Syracuse loss] and went to work [this week] to try and recapture the level of play we showed earlier in the year,” Fuente said. “You learn a lot about people when things don’t go well. Those kids certainly responded.”

It started with the running game, as Fuente said postgame. It sparked the Hokies in Blacksburg against Syracuse, and it was the same against the Yellow Jackets. Malachi Thomas rushed for 103 yards on 25 carries while Raheem Blackshear added 83 yards on 14 touches. Overall, Virginia Tech ran the ball effectively and efficiently: 237 yards, 53 rushes, 4.5 yards per carry.

Malachi Thomas rushed for over 100 yards on Saturday for the second straight week. (Ivan Morozov)

“Raheem [Blackshear] is playing better because Malachi [Thomas] is playing better,” Fuente said. “It hasn’t been a magic wand, it hasn’t been anything other than bear down and finding ways to run the ball.”

That opened up room for the aerial attack, which flowed through Turner all afternoon. He finished with seven receptions for 187 yards and a touchdown, the fifth-most receiving yards by a Hokie in a game since 1987. It’s the second-most yards a Virginia Tech receiver has had in the Justin Fuente era, just shy of Cam Phillips’s 189 in 2017 at East Carolina.

To open the scoring, Turner took a 69-yard pass to the house. He had a 61-yard reception that set up a VT field goal in the second quarter, and also had gains of 26 and 12. Tayvion Robinson added Virginia Tech’s only other touchdown of the game.

“They [big plays] have been in there [the offense,” Turner said. “You can go back to multiple interviews of players on offense talking about how we’re this close to taking this thing off the top. Today, it all gelled.”

Even though the Hokies didn’t score a touchdown after the first quarter, they moved the ball. VT had five drives of 60 yards or more (out of 12), four drives in which it ran at least ten plays, and ate the clock, especially the seven-minute drive in the second half.

The lone gripe about the offense is that the unit didn’t convert good field position. On the two possessions where it started with excellent field position (both in the third quarter), VT ran 14 plays, gained 19 yards and only came away with three points in six minutes.

However, the offense did move the ball, and John Parker Romo was almost perfect. He kicked five field goals and made four, the lone miss from 53. He scored 14 of Virginia Tech’s 26 points (two PATs), and he gave the Hokies an important boost.

“He [John Parker Romo] was huge,” Fuente said. “He’s really turned it on as the season’s gone on.”

That took pressure off of the defense, which bounced back from a really poor outing against Syracuse. Linebacker Dax Hollifield and defensive tackle Norell Pollard both mentioned how motivated the Hokies were defensively heading into Georgia Tech, and how much they needed a win. 

They looked the part on Saturday, and they played like it. Justin Hamilton’s unit racked up six tackles for loss and two sacks while forcing a fumble and intercepting Jeff Sims once.

Jahmyr Gibbs ran well for the Yellow Jackets, breaking the century mark with 113 yards on 11 carries (10.3 ypc). Georgia Tech scored its two touchdowns through the air on connections to Kyric McGowan and Adonicas Sanders.

When the Hokies needed a stop, though, the defense stepped up. That moment came early in the fourth quarter.

After Gibbs broke off a 61-yard run to put GT in the red zone at the 20, VT’s defense came up clutch. Needing ten yards, the Yellow Jackets gained eight on four plays, and on fourth-and-two, Virginia Tech loaded the box and stuffed Jordan Mason to force a turnover on downs.

This is a Tech defense that had allowed opponents to convert 12-of-15 fourth down conversions entering Saturday. It was clutch when it needed to be against Georgia Tech, however.

The Virginia Tech defense got stops when it needed to in Atlanta. (Ivan Morozov)

“It was a huge momentum play,” Fuente said. “I told the team that I thought the difference for this game would be two yards. Running the ball and ending up in second and six vs. second and eight.”

That set up the Hokie offense for its 12-play, 85-yard drive that ate seven minutes of clock, capped off by Romo’s fourth field goal of the day.

Virginia Tech finally put all of its pieces together at the same time. In the first six games, the defense was good enough to win games while the offense was not. Against the Orange, the offense answered the bell but the defense was nowhere to be found.

In Atlanta, the Hokies did enough to win in all three phases of the game. That’s a big confidence boost for a team that lost four of its last five, including three straight at home.

“I think we know we’re a damn good football team and we just have to go and prove it,” quarterback Braxton Burmeister said. “In the second half, [we have to] really take the game away from the other team and not let them sit around in it and I think that’s what we did today.”

Virginia Tech finally got over the hump against Georgia Tech. (Ivan Morozov)

Box score: Link

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42 Responses You are logged in as Test

  1. Had to struggle last two weeks to watch the game. ACCN really does poor job by not listing alternate channels like RSN and others like BSOHD and BSSHD. On the channel I could finally watch, it showed ACC teams to be announced, even after the game started.

  2. We won but why am I still feeling disappointed? Because so many points were (again) left on the field. Sigh. And what gives with all those false start penalties???

    1. Being on the road may have led to the false starts, and I too was thinking about the touchdown opportunites that turned into field goals….not to take away from the offensive’s effort but, outside of the two big passes on busted coverage, it felt like GT lost more than VT won. Defense was solid.

  3. What does the QTR mean beside the Team Stats for each team? Understand team stats, but “QTR” also has a value. I’ve never seen that before.

      1. Agree……i have no problem seeing 99% of all games with Direct TV and their Sports Pack added.

        I feel for everyone when u know Hokies are on and you cant watch. I use to live in MD near Oceancity back in the Mike Vick era & early 2000s when Hokies were just becoming a household name but still wasn’t getting enough respect to be on regular tv.

        I would drive 1.5 to 2hours towards the Bay bridge every Saturday and get a hotel room in the Grasonville, Kent Narrows, or Stevensville area just to watch the game because otherwise on the Eastern shore they were only showing UnivM, Delaware, PennState or some other BIGTEN program.

        I Hate the contract games that these stations and the league plays.

  4. For those saying “it was on Comcast or Dish Network” that doesn’t help the cord cutters like myself. I refuse to ever give Comcast another dime of my money, and dish is too expensive. Point being, in today’s streaming age, there needs to be more options rather than completely giving up and getting cable again. I even did Fubo TV bc that was “the sports streaming service” and I can get every single SEC and PAC 12 game, but not the most popular college sports team in the state….smh. The ACC TV deal is a complete joke.

  5. If Tech makes a bowl game and has extra practice time then Fu is let go does this help or hurt the new coach? Cause maybe they just go threw the motions at practice. I was always taught you play how you practice

    1. If VT finishes 500, gets a bowl game and **some** arrows are pointing up – Fu is going nowhere. You make it sound like Fu is a goner. Not hardly.

      1. Fu is going nowhere. >>>>

        Lots swirling in the HC-ing ranks. VT & Fuente are very much in the Texas Tech/TCU domino dynamics. Tough getting through all the rumors that the media is talking over themselves. Throw in LSU HC-ing job as also adding to it.

  6. MASN 640 carried it on Direct TV. This seems to be the landing place if not on major TV or the ACC network. The Syracuse game was also broadcast there.

  7. I’m in Charlotte with DirectTV (AT&T). Picked it up on channel 646-1, which is listed as “BSSO” whatever that is. The Syracuse game last week was on 646.

    1. I got it on DirecTV 640 last two games…I searched n I think actually found it on three 6XX channels…I think my VT auto record found it on 640…I think it was actually listed on about a dozen DirecTV channels but I only got those 3

  8. Really happy for the players and coaches.
    Troubling that Tech was unable to score a TD in the last 47 minutes of the game.
    Note that UVA scored FIVE TDs in one quarter at BYU … and still lost.

    1. Yes I have the same feeling, don’t know why this wasn’t emphasized more in this summary. Great to see them win but not many teams will win games after no TD’s past the first quarter.

      1. not many teams will win games after no TD’s past the first quarter.>>>>

        Not many teams lose when they score 5 TDs in a quarter. 🙂

  9. If we can do as we should against BC and Duke, we get to 6 wins. Right now we would be underdogs to Miami and UVA but if we could get one of those it would be a disappointing season but not a tragedy.

    1. We need to think and practice hard for the game at BC on Friday night. BC has the same record we have, and both teams need a win badly. Practice hard and be ready for BC, nothing else really matters right now.

  10. No television two weeks running- would really suck if we had a team in contention.

    I switched from Comcast to u2b tv two years ago to get games then RSN drops ACC due to over pricing.

    Last bb season I had to stream FIVE RSN conference games via bootleg on a Reddit board. Exposing my security measures to hackers.

    JOB 1 for this new CEO should be negotiating with espn to fix this mess. ACC is all talk and no action when it comes to their patchwork “network”.

    1. I actually decided to get off my butt and go to the game this morning. Was planning on being lazy today.

      1. Nice – when I go to Blacksburg we have typically lost. But, we have done well here for the Atl fans.

    2. Absolutely a baffling that in this day and age you can’t see every football game between two Power5 teams in the same league – no way that makes sense economically and a joke for the ACC (if it wasn’t so sad). There absolutely has to be a better deal available than our current ACCN/RSN package. It was easier to watch VT games back when we were in the Big East – this alone would be enough to keep conference re-alignment wheels a turning. Now I just hope that the VT basketball team can stick it to the Tobacco Road backscratchers by winning the ACC.

      1. 100% it’s freaking ridiculous! You should at least have SOME way to watch a Hokies game in the state of VA, let alone a metro area like RVA. Shoot, I would’ve even paid extra to watch it, but there were zero options. I tried bootleg links until halftime (with sketchy pop up ads) and finally gave up and listened to it. Makes absolutely no sense.

        1. I live in Hawaii and sign up for Sling TV every year for football season…$48/month. I have been able to get all the games so far, no problem (obviously no black out issues here though!). If they try to black a game out, you should be able to get around it by going through a VPN.

          1. This is what I do, too!
            I have Slingtv (but any service with a subscription to ESPN will work).
            I bounce back and forth between SW Florida and No VA which means that I am typically in a Blacked out region. This is a zero problem with a VPN since I can watch with an IP address that’s not not in a blacked out area of the country.

      2. Bally Sports South had the game on – abbreviation is BSSO on most cable / satellite systems.

    3. Viewing the games seems different every week. For GT I was able to stream the game (to the MD Eastern Shore) from an Xfinity account I have in southwest Florida. Who knows what will happen for the BC game Friday. I agree, it’s sad to have to scramble to watch two P5 teams from the same conference play a game.

    4. RSN drops ACC>>>>

      The game was on MASN on Comcast in Lexington. Last weeks game was on ESPN2 here. Weird.

  11. I was waiting on a comment from a player that said something like… We got the win and played better, but we still have lots of things to improve on and we need to work even harder… Maybe I missed it and someone from the team made a similar statement. When you hear something like that from a player, that is your leader moving forward.. Go Hokies

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