Virginia Tech Football was once synonymous with great special teams play. Back before Frank Beamer was able to lure top-flight recruits to Blacksburg he coached the most feared special teams unit(s) in College Football. Blocked punts and field goals would turn games, perfectly executed kick returns would create scoring opportunities, and hard hits would make opposing returners think before they fielded kicks; the term Beamer Ball became known nationally.
Saturday the Hokies played FCS opponent Austin Peay. Although the Hokies won handily, 42-7, they had trouble dominating the game at times and needed help from their special teams to make the game’s biggest plays.
The game was tied late into the first quarter, watching it you would’ve thought Austin Peay was at the same level of talent as the Hokies early on. They were hitting harder, running faster, and making the Hokies play their game. But that all changed on one play. Speedy sophomore Kyshoen Jarret fielded an AP punt and returned it 46-yards to the six yard line. Hokie RB Michael Holmes would punch it into the end zone and the Hokie’s would control the game from then on.
The Hokies special teams would follow up the great punt return with a blocked punt towards the end of the second quarter, the game was still in doubt with VT holding only the 7-0 lead. Junior Tony Gregory broke across the line of scrimmage and timed the block perfectly, five plays later the Hokie offense capitalized with a Logan Thomas touchdown run. Those two plays buoyed the stagnant Hokie offense in the first half and allowed the Hokies to find their rhythm in the second half.
“Yeah, that got us going,” Coach Beamer said. ”… I’m not sure why we started slow but I think we’ve got a lot of new faces,” he said. “There were a lot of guys that were playing for the first time as a starter, and that is not an excuse.”
The offense would score with less than thirty seconds left in the first half on a 30-yard TD pass from Thomas to emerging senior WR, Correy Fuller. Up 21-0 at the half, the Hokies knew they had the game in hand they just needed to execute to avoid any letdown, and they did just that.
RB Michael Holmes would get his second rushing score of the day midway through the third quarter; the Governors answered that score however with a quick six-play 68 yard touchdown drive. With the score 28-7 the Hokies needed to put the Gov’s away, and did it on the very next possession with a 72-yard drive capped by a 13-yard TD pass from Thomas to senior tight end Randall Dunn.
VT would add one last TD before pulling the starters in the fourth (a 18-yard TD run by Tony Gregory). Logan Thomas finished the game 15/23 for 212 yards and 2 TD’s, the defense only allowed 221 total yards on the day, and the Hokies were able to survive a possible surprise upset (as Arkansas found out, no game is a cupcake anymore, losing to UL-Monroe at home in OT on Saturday).
Up Next: @ Pittsburgh Saturday, September 15th as the Hokies re-hash an old Big East rivalry.
Game Note:The Hokies have been unable to run the ball so far this season. Even with Thomas, a great running threat himself, at QB the new RB’s Michael Holmes and J.C. Coleman have not been able to get anything going behind the new VT offensive line. The team is 2-0 but if they can’t generate any semblance of a running game they will lose to quality opponents.
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.