Despite Sloppy Play, Positives Emerge for Hokies

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There were plenty of things to dislike in yesterday’s 17-10 victory over East Carolina. Tech was called for 12 penalties, they had two turnovers deep in Pirate territory, they missed a short field goal and in general they just weren’t sharp offensively. If you dig a little deeper though, there were plenty of things to be happy about in this game, and that’s what we’re going to focus on today.

Let’s forget about the penalties and the turnovers for a second and focus on what Virginia Tech did well on Saturday.

One of Tech’s Finest Defensive Performances

Virginia Tech has played a lot of great defensive games during the tenure of Bud Foster. Not many measure up to the job the Hokies did on a potent East Carolina offense. The Pirates were one of the most prolific offenses in the country last season, and they hung 37 points on the defending SEC East Champions in their first game this season.

Most of us thought this game was going to be fairly high scoring, and that ECU would get some yardage, and some points. They did neither. The Hokies held the Pirates to just 112 yards of total offense on Saturday.
Last season, the Hokies didn’t have a single game where they allowed fewer than 200 yards. In 2009, they did it once against Boston College (163 yards). In 2008, it happened against Duke (136 yards). They haven’t held anyone below 115 yards since Ohio (114) yards in 2007. In 2006, Virginia matched East Carolina’s 112 yard total. From a yardage standpoint, this was Tech’s best defensive game since they held Duke to a paltry 36 yards (how is that even possible?) in 2005.

The teams listed above, particularly Duke, Ohio and Virginia, aren’t nearly as good offensively as East Carolina. I don’t think the Pirates are quite as good on offense as they were last year, but it was still an impressive performance by the Hokies.

ECU had -15 rushing yards against Virginia Tech. The last time the Hokies held a team to negative rushing yards was in 2008 against Maryland, when the Terps had -12 yards on the ground. That’s not something that happens very often.

The Hokies also whipped the young East Carolina offensive line for five sacks, and they did it without much blitzing. Tech had five sacks against a Pirate offense that allowed just