Inside The Numbers: The Liberty Passing Game, DE Production, and QB Running

Virginia Tech, Dorian Strong
Liberty targeted Dorian Strong, and didn’t have much success. (Virginia Tech sports photography)

In this week’s Inside The Numbers, we show you who Liberty targeted the most in Virginia Tech’s secondary, talk about whether or not Hendon Hooker runs too much, and take a closer look at the much-improved production of Virginia Tech’s defensive ends.

Malik Willis Passing Vs. The Virginia Tech Defense

Liberty quarterback Malik Willis finished the game 20-of-30 passing for 217 yards and three touchdowns.  A couple of his pass attempts were throwaways, but of the 28 attempts that were defended by a VT defensive player, there are some interesting numbers.

12 of those 28 attempts targeted true freshman cornerback Dorian Strong.  I’m not sure how wise that was, as Strong has been Tech’s best and most consistent cover corner this season.  The Liberty passing numbers on Saturday give more evidence of that.

  • Willis when targeting Strong: 6-of-12, 48 yards, 4.0 yards per attempt, 0 TDs
  • Willis when targeting everybody else: 14-of-16, 169 yards, 10.6 yards per attempt, 3 TDs

Honestly I’m not even sure how smart Liberty was in this game.  They went after Tech’s best cover corner 12 times, and nobody else was targeted more than four times.  It sort of reminds me of when UNC in 2019 kept going after Caleb Farley repeatedly in the first half.  It just didn’t make much sense.