Hokies Play Well, but Not Quite Well Enough

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Last night was tough. The Hokies played well enough to win the football game, but they also made critical errors that helped Florida State win.

I think we’ll all agree that last night’s game was the best Tech has played this year. With that kind of toughness and effort each week, we’d be sitting at 8-2 or thereabouts right now, rather than 4-6. Let’s take a closer look …

Outgain the Opponent and Lose … Again

Virginia Tech has outgained their opponent and still lost, for the third consecutive game.

Clemson: 406 to 295
Miami: 421 to 347
FSU: 385 to 311

That’s an average of 404 yards for the Hokies and an average of 317.67 yards for their opponents.

For what it’s worth, that 311 yards that the FSU offense gained was the lowest they have gained against any opponent all season. The 385 yards of total offense that Virginia Tech gained was the second most any team has gained against the Noles, behind only Clemson and their 424 yards.

How did the Hokies manage to lose? By making many of the same mistakes they made against Clemson and Miami.

Inspiring Effort, but the Same Mistakes Cost the Hokies

There’s no reason to sit around and complain about last night’s game. Florida State was ranked #10 in the country, and at worst they are going to finish the regular season 10-2. They are a very good team, ranking #1 in total defense and #7 in total offense, with outstanding athletes on both sides of the ball. They made the plays to win the game when they had to, as winning teams do.

That said, we saw some of the same problems that led to earlier losses creep up again last night.

Defense allowed big plays at the wrong times: Tech’s youth and the secondary and the fact that they don’t have a true cornerback were exposed several times. The Tech defense has now allowed a potential game-winning touchdown with under a minute remaining three times this season, against Georgia Tech, Cincinnati, and FSU. Here’s the drive that each opponent was able to put together to take the lead late:

  • Georgia Tech: 13 plays, 72 yards, 6:56
  • Cincinnati: 9 plays, 85 yards, 1:30
  • Florida State: 8 plays, 68 yards, 1:33

The Hokies managed to come back against Georgia Tech, but both Cincinnati