Hokies keep rolling, down Pitt 19-9


#24 Virginia Tech used a suffocating defense to beat Pitt 19-9 in Lane Stadium on Saturday afternoon in a game that was not as close as the final score indicated. The Hokies are now 6-1 overall, 3-0 in league play, and they control their own destiny in the Coastal Division.  Pitt dropped to 3-2 overall, and 2-2 in ACC play.

The Hokies now own the head-to-head tiebreaker against Coastal Division rivals Georgia Tech, UNC and Pitt.  All of those teams are effectively eliminated from the Coastal Division race.

Bud Foster’s defense sacked Pitt quarterback Tom Savage eight times, and missed perhaps another eight opportunities at sacks.  The Panthers finished the game with just 210 yards of total offense.  They had just 23 yards on the ground on 26 rushing attempts, including the eight sacks.

Virginia Tech used r-sophomore Dadi Nicolas as both a defensive end and a whip linebacker.  This was a good matchup for Nicolas as a whip, because he didn’t have to worry about pass coverage.  He simply pinned his ears back and went after the quarterback.  He finished the game with seven tackles and three sacks.  That’s the most sacks by a Tech defender since whip linebacker Cam Martin had three against UNC way back in 2007.


Overall, the sack party went like this…

Dadi Nicolas : 3
Derrick Hopkins : 2
James Gayle : 1
Jack Tyler : 1
J.R. Collins : 0.5
Luther Maddy : 0.5

Quarterback Tom Savage played tough for Pitt, and didn’t turn the ball over despite constant pressure.  However, except for a couple of deep balls to Devin Street that put the Panthers in scoring position, the Pitt offense was completely shut down by the Hokie defense in a role reversal of last season.

The Hokies only managed 315 yards of total offense, but they did control the ball for 34:11.  They had the ball for over 12 minutes in the third quarter alone.  Logan Thomas was 19-for-34 for 239 yards, with a touchdown and no interceptions.  His 27 yard scoring strike to tight end Kalvin Cline in the corner of the endzone on Virginia Tech’s first drive was the Hokies’ only touchdown of the day.

Cline, Virginia Tech’s rapidly improving true freshman tight end who played just one season of high school football, finished with four catches for a career-high 65 yards and that touchdown.  Demitri Knowles had five receptions for 79 yards, while Willie Byrn added four for 46.

This game came down to Cody Journell making field goals, and he did for the most part.  Tech’s maligned kicker was 4-of-5 on the day, including a 42 yarder and a 48 yarder.  He did miss from 33 yards on the first play of the fourth quarter.

Unfortunately, Tech’s running game struggled again.  There was no room on the interior against Pitt’s impressive defensive tackle Aaron Donald.  Trey Edmunds had nine carries for just 13 yards, and that includes a 14 yard run.  On his other eight carries, Edmunds totaled -1 yards.

J.C. Coleman did find some running room on jet sweeps to the outside, and he finished with six carries for 25 yards.  As a team, Tech totaled just 76 rushing yards and averaged only two yards per carry.

On a bright note, the Virginia Tech offense went turnover free for the third consecutive game.  Pitt also did not turn the ball over.

This was a 19-3 game late in the fourth quarter when Tom Savage completed a deep ball to Devin Street, and Savage later converted it into a touchdown.  However, the two-point conversion attempt failed, and it was nearly returned by Tech’s Detrick Bonner for two points.

A.J. Hughes was a big weapon for the Hokies, averaging 52.8 yards on his four punts.

After three consecutive big wins over Coastal Division opponents, the Hokies will take a much-needed break next weekend.  They’ll return to action on Saturday, October 26 when they host the Duke Blue Devils.  Kickoff time and TV coverage will be announced on Monday.

Box Score (HokieSports.com)

25 Responses You are logged in as Test

  1. my favorite moment was in the 2nd half when the TV announcer said “it’s 3rd and Roanoke” for the PITT offense.. haha

  2. Who really thought we would be 6-1 at this point in our schedule? It is certainly not me. Coach Loeffler said in his interviews last week that there were a number of things he would like to do with his offense…like run better, score in the red zone, etc., however, right now he was just trying to find a way to win each week. As far as I am concerned, so far so good. I am content with a one point win in each game for the rest of the year. Great job to all our coaches and players. Keep at it. Tom

  3. Ok I’ll say it. Chris, is this hot cheerleader pic week? Is that pic a response to the Pitt picture?

    Love it. More hot cheerleader shots!!


    1. Hey, that’s a High Tech, not a Cheerleader!! (PS – My daughter is a cheer leader!!)

      Go Hokies!

  4. Good game Hokies and glad to be Bowl eligible at this point in the season. The offense as a whole is still a big concern. The offense has yet to play a single game on any kind of consistent basis, and we should be seeing more improvement 7 weeks into the season. At times they look good and at times they are an embarrassment to watch. When Tech plays a team with an Offense that challenges our Defense and we need to put points on the board, especially in the 2nd half – Tech will be in big trouble – 3 and outs and getting inside the 5 without a TD will just not get it done.

    1. Considering we’re 6-1 and the offense has done just enough, if not more, to win every week since Bama, I’m ok with it. The fact that we have freshmen all over the darn field has been talked to death. No one expects perfection, but we are definitely seeing improvement. We’re a long ways off from both a talent and execution standpoint from being the offensive team we want to be, but we’re also a heck of a lot better off than we were last year at this time. Style points mean nothing to us, so let’s just be happy about another win, let our guys enjoy a much-needed off week, and get ready to see what they bring out down the stretch.

  5. When defensive players pin their ears back do they use clothes pins or safety pins? That’s a joke, I say that’s a joke son.

  6. There seems to be a series or two when the D lets the opponent walk right down the field like the late scoring drives by Pitt and UNC. They are usually playing some soft zone and only rushing three o four. I hate this lack of killer instinct and aggression.

    1. That defense is designed to make the offense hold the ball and nickle and dime their way down the field. It’s designed so that what happened against Cincy/FSU lat year doesn’t happen, whic is that the offense gets most/all of what it needs on one play. You may notice that if the opposing offense does score in that situation, there’s is very little time left for them to do anything else.

    2. If the refs hadn’t missed that “incomplete pass or fumble” that Savage had in the 4th quarter, the score and the final results would have made all of you feel better about our progress.

  7. On punts and kickoffs, Tech’s gunners seem to overrun the return man, allowing him to just sidestep their rush. They need to break down … in control, then pursue. The same on rushing the QB, where a straight line out-of-control pursuit allows the QB to just sidestep.

  8. 3rd down inefficiency, Red Zone FGs, and no running game. Same script. Logan sailed some passes too, but not sure what I am angry at, really. Are my expectations out of wack and should be happy VT is now the lead dog on the division? Great win, nonetheless.

    1. From the north end zone it looked like Logan was on point. Plus weren’t they 8 for 29 on 3rd down. That’s good in my book

      1. How many of those 3rd down conversions happened within Pitt’s 25? Look, this team is playing vintage VT ball, but needs to punch it in and convert when the opportunities are there for the taking. This game was too close, and better teams are goign to exploit. Good thing the schedule sets up like it does and can’t wait to see how it all plays out.

        1. It was very easy to see that late in the game, Beamer & co. went very conservative. He knew darn well there was no chance they’d score more than 2 TDs at an absolute maximum, so he didn’t take many risks and tried to set CJ up with nice easy field goals. It worked beautifully and we notched another Coastal W.

  9. What a great game. Crowd def no turnovers. Maybe a new beamerball is developing. My personal gripe is with the turkey leg situation inside lane. They need to be abundant and after waiting in line 45 minutes and still got no turkey legs I was a Lil upset. But great win otherwise

  10. The defense was great and the offence looked good at times but at times it looked terrible. Seems like when the offence opens up the play book they move the ball real well then they start that running up the middle and the drive stalls.

  11. One complaint about the offense I’ll make….

    The offense rushing up for a go-nowhere wasted 3rd down play in order to squeeze in the final play at the end of the 3rd quarter. The O just looked like they were hell-bent on getting anything off before the quarter ended… and ended up going for nothing and leading to another FG.

  12. Dadi ,did ,do a fair amount of drop back coverage on certain receiver but needed help from other d backs

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