Picking Up The Pieces For Virginia Tech

Virginia Tech
It was a rough Saturday in Chapel Hill for Virginia Tech. (Ivan Morozov)

Well, that was rough. Virginia Tech lost to North Carolina 41-10 on Saturday, which means in their last two games against border rivals, they’ve been outscored 73-20. Ouch. It’s the first time since 1989 that the Hokies have failed to score more than 10 points in two consecutive games. Some of you reading this weren’t even born then.

It’s certainly not fun. It’s not really surprising, either. I was the “optimistic” one on TSL this week. I only picked the Hokies to lose 31-20. Will had them dropping the game by 18, 38-20, while David picked the Tar Heels winning 41-16. As it turned out, it was worse even than David picked, though barely.

It didn’t start off badly. Tech took a 3-0 lead, and though they trailed 21-3, a late touchdown run by Grant Wells made the score 21-10 just before halftime. All the Hokies had to do is hang on and they’d get the ball first in the second half. A touchdown there would have made it 21-17, and the pressure would have been on the Tar Heels. However, UNC drove nearly 50 yards in a matter of seconds to kick a field goal and lead 24-10, and whatever momentum the Hokies had was erased.

Not that it mattered. Tech ended up losing the game by 31 points. There were no game-changing plays that could have affected the outcome. We all tried to find those moments in the West Virginia game to make us feel better, but we were mining for fools’ gold. The bottom line was that the Hokies got stomped at the line of scrimmage by the Mountaineers and they didn’t deserve to win the game. The same thing happened in Chapel Hill on Saturday.

A Florida A&M team missing about 25 suspended players scored 24 on UNC. Appalachian State scored 61, including 40 in one quarter. Georgia State, who was 0-4 until they beat Army yesterday, scored 28 in a close contest with the Tar Heels. Tech managed just 10. We can talk about the talent level of the team (and we will later), but the Hokies still should be doing better than 10 points against that defense.

Not that the Hokie defense was much better. They were gashed from start to finish. That was basically the same defensive personnel – minus Dorian Strong, Jordan Williams and Amare Barno – that held the Heels to 10 points last year. A whole lot of guys who played great against Carolina last year performed poorly against them yesterday.

I don’t know whether to be mad or sad. The truth is I feel neither emotion. As a Tech fan, I exist physically, but I don’t really feel anything right now, except perhaps frustration. I think I’d rather be mad.

The Hokies are what they are. It’s not that they are 2-3 that bothers me, it’s the fact that they don’t appear to be getting better. BC was awful early in the season, but they got better against Louisville and put up 34 points and won. Georgia Tech was dreadful, and they probably still are, but they fired their coach and immediately got better and beat Pitt. I haven’t seen the Hokies get better, and I guess that’s why I’m frustrated. Not mad. Not sad. But frustrated.

I’m not going to go too hard to the hole this week. I’ve got a couple of talking points I want to go over, and I’ll also discuss the strategy of working some of the young players into the rotation since this probably isn’t going to be a good season.