Last week as all of the power programs were making statements against cupcake teams Virginia Tech looked poised to dominate the ACC and possibly make a title run. On Saturday their bandwagon hit a speed bump. Traveling to Greenville, NC to face the East Carolina University Pirates has always been tough, even for deeper more talented VT teams, and this year was no different.
Still, the Hokies prevailed the hard way, grinding out a 17-10 win, and remain unbeaten for now.
In a game where seemingly nothing could go the Hokies way on offense, it was the young defense that held the team together. ECU was held to 112 total yards (-15 rushing), their normally good quarterback Dominique Davis was sacked five times and intercepted once. Moreover, Tech’s defense never allowed ECU to gain any momentum; even with the Hokie offense struggling mightily.
First year starting QB Logan Thomas looked shaky, at best, in his second start; finishing 8-20 for only 91 yards and an interception (along with 66 rushing yards). Starting running back David Wilson finished with 138 yards, but had problems holding onto the football during the game; losing a fumble at a key point in the game. It was backup RB Josh Oglesby (43 yards rushing) who had the two biggest runs of the game, both for touchdowns.
This is the type of game that can help a team grow as the season goes on. ECU has given Tech major problems in the past and regardless of how much hype the Hokies seem to have any given season, the Pirates have always given them a good game (with the exception of last year’s 49-27 romp).
In other words, the ECU game is a good barometer for where Tech is as a team. Last year after struggling out of the gate, Tech used the ECU game as the jump-off point for the 11-game winning streak that took them all the way to the Orange Bowl. In other years, Tech has struggled against ECU (losing in 2008 in Charlotte). Historically when Tech has a fight against the Pirates, they struggled in other games down the road.
This Tech team learned something about their quarterback on Saturday, and it wasn’t good. Logan Thomas has the curse of that P word: Potential. So many players in college and in the NFL have potential to be great, Thomas has more promise than most; but after this game, it’s clear he’s no where close to even understanding the offense, let alone being elite this season.
The Hokies did what they’ve done in years’ past to win: relied on the running game and played smash-mouth defense and special teams. The biggest question for these Hokies isn’t the defense (Bud Foster’s group will always be ready to play), or the new runners and receivers, but the quarterback; and for Tech to win games in an improving ACC, they’ll need Thomas to grow up quickly, rebound from his 91-yard effort on Saturday, and prove he can make accurate throws from the pocket.
This game was the only wake-up call that Tech will get this season. They can’t survive another offensive performance like this one. For now though, their sights are set on next week’s opponent: ArkansasState.
Game Notes: Coach Beamer won his 200th game as Virginia Tech’s coach, just another checkmark as his makes his way to the College Football Hall of Fame.
Receiver Jarrett Boykin broke Tech’s all-time record for receptions in a career (127) on a catch early in the second quarter, passing Ernest Wilford.
About the Author
Written by Frank Sullivan
Frank is a graduate of Old Dominion University, sports fan, author, and founder of TheBloosh.com. He's been working with prosportsblogging.com since April 2011, and has covered the Chicago Bulls, Baltimore Ravens, Virginia Tech Hokies Football, and the Washington Wizards. Frank can be reached @franksullivan on twitter.