Tech Offense Fails Big Test

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We all knew Saturday would be a test. We knew we’d have a better understanding of where the Hokies are as a football team at about 10pm on Saturday night. We knew that we’d get answers. Unfortunately, most of them were not the answers we were looking for.

Walking out of the stadium, I felt like it was Miami 2005 all over again. It was Tech’s first big Saturday night game since then, and even the final margin on the scoreboard was the same. How the game went was pretty similar as well … a slow, steady blowout in which the defense played well enough to win, but the offense and special teams didn’t carry their weight.

There’s no sense brooding on this one too much, as the Hokies have another huge game with Miami coming up next weekend. Nevertheless, there are a few things worth addressing.

The Tech Defense is Good

The Hokies went into Saturday night’s game ranked #4 in the country in total defense. Were the Hokies that good? It wasn’t completely clear, because of the competition they had faced in their first four games. Saturday night showed that the Tech defense is pretty good, holding a Clemson offense that was averaging over 500 yards per game to just 323 yards.

Tajh Boyd came into the game putting up huge numbers, and he certainly had his good moments. But 13-of-32 for 204 yards with a touchdown and an interception is nothing to write home about, particularly that completion percentage. He hit a couple of big plays down the field that I’m sure Torrian Gray isn’t going to be happy about, but Clemson is a really good passing team, and things like that are going to happen when you play a team with good athletes.

Clemson starting tailback Andre Ellington had just 16 carries for 40 yards. Backup Mike Bellamy had six carries for 47 yards, but 31 of those yards came on one long touchdown run in the fourth quarter when the game was probably out of reach. Except for that one big 31 yarder, the Tech defense continued its dominance of opposing running backs.

Clemson was 7-of-17 on third downs, not a bad number to allow considering the quality of players the Tigers have offensively. Tech sacked Tajh Boyd once, got to him several other times, and in general did a pretty good job of controlling the line of scrimmage, defensively.

If you had told me before the game that Andre Ellington would have just 40 yards on 16 carries, and that Tajh Boyd would go 13-of-32 and throw a pick to Jayron Hosley, I would have told you that the Hokies