Now that it’s in the rear view mirror, I can tell you that this one had me
worried. The Hokies were coming off two emotionally-charged home games and going
on the road against a well-coached team that was confident and playing well. I
wrung my hands in the preview about this one being a trap game, but the Hokies,
after starting slow, put my fears to rest in an 11-minute stretch that decided
For the second game in a row, we find ourselves admiring a versatile, potent
offensive attack. After a sluggish start, the Hokies put up 38 points and 465
yards in the final three quarters against a Wake Forest defense that was ranked
#26 in the nation coming in. Defensively, Virginia Tech lost yet another starter
to injury, Jayron Hosley, but plugged a replacement in and kept going. The
Hokies held Wake Forest to half their scoring average and gave up just seven
points in the last 51 minutes of the game.
It was the best team and individual effort of the season, hands down, right
down to special teams.
Let’s start out with the M*A*S*H unit known as the defense. The key defensive
stat of the game, no question, is Wake Forest’s 1-of-13 (7.7%) third-down
conversion rate. In analyzing the top Hokie defenses over the years, Tech’s best
defenses limit opposing offenses to less than 30% on third downs.
I always go back to the defenses from 1995 (26.5%), 1999 (24.5%), and 2001
(an astounding 21.7%) as the best defenses the Hokies have ever had at stopping
third down. This defense isn’t nearly that good, at exactly 30% this season, but
the effort against Wake dropped the Hokies from 33.3% to 30.0%. Tech is now #13
in the nation in third-down percentage defense.
That’s Tech’s second-highest ranking in the major defensive statistics. That
ranking is fed by their best defensive statistic, their 8th-ranked run defense.
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