Monday Thoughts: Advances, None Miraculous

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One of my favorite TV shows of all time is Deadwood, and one of the season
two episodes has a title that describes this game for me: “Advances, None
Miraculous.” The Hokies showed some improvement against the Thundering
Herd, but as we enter the critical early-October games against Clemson and
Miami, we’re left wondering if the progress made in the month of September is
enough to carry the Hokies to a Coastal Division crown.

Marshall is probably the third-best team the Hokies have faced this year, so
they weren’t a stout opponent. A low-ranked defense, especially against the
pass, combined with an offense headed by a freshman quarterback, foretold a big
Hokie win amongst the more optimistic in the fan base.

It didn’t turn out that way. Virginia Tech jumped out to a 23-3 lead and then
got ragged after that, eventually bringing home a 30-10 win, little better than
Tech’s 26-7 victory over Arkansas State the week before. Along the way,
turnovers, missed field goals, struggles in the punting game and some lapses on
defense kept this game closer than expected.

Advances, none miraculous. Virginia Tech is not the well-oiled machine we had
hoped to see by this point in the schedule, particularly in the power running
game and the kicking game. But time waits for no one, and Clemson and Miami will
be here soon.

Let’s review.

The Offense

Logan Thomas: Virginia Tech’s offensive pace and execution were generally
better in Logan Thomas’s second road start than in his first against East
Carolina. There were no delay of game penalties, no game management issues, and
only two offensive penalties against the Hokies (a chop block against David
Wilson and a false start on Chris Drager).

Thomas threw one interception, of the harmless variety, a deep ball 40 yards
downfield. His decision-making in the passing game was incrementally better,
definitely better than it was at ECU, where he threw several balls right at ECU
defenders. I only remember one potentially disastrous throw