Monday Thoughts: Finally, Another Dub

Jalen Holston Virginia Tech running back
Jalen Holston was Superman on Saturday, coming up one yard away from the century mark. (Ivan Morozov)

This is the first time in a few weeks that I’ve been able to rewatch a game, take notes, and absorb what I was looking at. It has been even longer since I’ve done that for a win. This edition of MT won’t be full of whimsy, because, since Tech won, I don’t need to amuse you to distract you from a loss. I can just talk about the game.

Yes, it was just Liberty. Yes, they were an impressive 8-2 with a couple impressive wins (especially the one at Arkansas), but they also had some questionable games, including a one-pointer over Gardner Webb. Yes, their QB situation has been a revolving door.

But when you’re 8-2 like Liberty, you’re doing something right, and the TSL staff all picked Liberty to win, figuring that Liberty’s disruptive D and superior coaching acumen would provide the difference. VT hasn’t been finishing games well, and Liberty mostly has.

That all makes sense, but in the end, Virginia Tech was the team that finished strong, did a solid job coaching and playing, and pulled off the win. This was not an overwhelming performance, but Tech did some things well and deserved the W.

Keshawn King Virginia Tech running back
Keshawn King and the Hokies were even better on the ground than you thought they were. (Ivan Morozov)

The Running Game

On the surface, the numbers don’t look very good: 59 carries, 176 yards, 3.0 yards per carry. But that’s actually Virginia Tech’s season high in rushing, even though the Hokies absorbed six sacks for 64 yards in losses.

Take out the sacks by Liberty and the 13 yards lost on four kneeldowns, and the running game looks much better: 49 carries, 253 yards, 5.16 ypc.

Looking just at the two primary tailbacks (Holston and King): 37 carries, 177 yards, 4.8 ypc, 3 TDs. The tailbacks, including Chance Black’s single carry for -3 yards, only lost a total of five yards on two carries.

Virginia Tech ran on 23 of 31 first-down plays (74.2%). That’s the second-highest percentage of the season, just a smidge behind the 75%