December 15, 2017

Virginia Tech: Hokies dominate for second straight week

The Virginia Tech Hokies had over 450 total yards on offense (471) and over 40 points (51) for the second week in a row, this time against Power Five foe the Purdue Boilermakers. It was the first time the Hokies had back-to-back games with over 40 points since their streak of four from Oct. 2 to Oct. 23, 2010 and the first time they’ve scored at least 50 points against a Power Five opponent since beating Wake Forest 52-10 during that streak.

It was vintage Beamerball for the Hokies as they got contributions from all over the field with a defensive touchdown, a special teams touchdown, two running touchdowns and a pair of passing touchdowns. Fill-in starting quarterback Brenden Motley looked in control all game, finishing 15/24 for 220 yards, two touchdowns, zero interceptions and one fumble. Meanwhile the Tech defense held Purdue to just 265 total yards and 9 first downs, nabbing two interceptions and forcing a fumble.

The Hokies jumped out to a hot start, forcing Purdue to go three-and-out on their first drive, before driving 49 yards and settling for a Joey Slye 35 yard field goal. On the Boilermakers next drive preseason All-American Kendall Fuller got to quarterback Austin Appleby on a third down blitz and stripped him forcing a fumble which safety Chuck Clark scooped up and returned 20 yards to put Tech up 10-0.

The Boilermakers struck right back though, stringing together their best offensive drive of the game, going 74 yards on nine plays to make it 10-7 Tech. After a pair of punts the Hokies had a long drive of their own, driving 88 yards to Purdue’s 2 yard line. But then a missed protection left Motley’s blindside uncovered and a sack fumble was returned to put the Boilermakers ahead 14-10.

Bucky Hodges’ first touchdown of the season put the Hokies back on top. A Purdue field goal and a Motley touchdown run would close out the scoring for an exciting first half with Tech on top 24-17.

But as they showed against Furman last week, the Hokies proved to be a second half team, scoring 17 points in the third quarter and 20 unanswered points in the second half to bury the Boilermakers. The second half started similarly to that game as well, with a big run, as Der’Woun Green returned the kickoff 82 yards. Tech settled for a field goal in what might’ve been a bigger story had they not followed that up with two more touchdowns.

The first came on an 8 play, 42 yard drive that culminated in a J.C. Coleman one yard touchdown run. The second brought up memories of Virginia Tech teams past as Tremaine Edmunds broke through the Boilermakers punt protection to get a hand on the ball and spring Anthony Shegog for a 15 yard touchdown. The Hokies had already had a couple close calls earlier in the game.

After a Purdue four and out Joey Slye tacked on three more points on a 46-yard field goal to put the game on ice. For the second week in a row the Hokies were able to get valuable playing time for their backups for most of the fourth quarter. A Markell Jones 60 yard touchdown run with seven minutes left forced the starting offense back on the field where they drained five minutes from the clock before Hodges’ second touchdown grab of the game to close it out.

Freshman Adonis Alexander took over full-time for Desmond Frye at safety and grabbed his second interception in as many games. Walk-on sophomore and new starting middle linebacker Sean Heulskamp also nabbed an interception late in the game to cap off a good effort in his first career start.

Tech finished the game with 11 penalties for 87 yards, something that would’ve been more noteworthy if the offense hadn’t taken over.

Virginia Tech Football: Hokies rebound and dominate Paladins

The last time the Virginia Tech Hokies played a game against an FCS opponent on short rest after a dispiriting loss to a top five team, they were stunned by James Madison in 2010. That coupled with starting quarterback Michael Brewer’s broken collarbone meant that Hokie fans could be excused for being a bit worried headed in that they were being set up for a letdown.

However, new starting quarterback Brenden Motley and the Hokies’ vaunted defense put those fears to rest, thoroughly dominating the overmatched Furman Paladins 42-3. A week after being run over by the Ohio State offensive hyrdra, the Hokies defense looked much more like themselves. They held the Paladins to just 254 total yards while snagging two interceptions, returning one for the first touchdown of the game.

The real questions for the Hokies were on offense though and despite a slow start, the Hokies showed that they can still be effective with Brewer on the sideline, finishing with 578 total yards. It was the first time the Hokies amassed over 550 yards on offense since Oct. 10, 2010 against Wake Forest where they had 605. It was the ninth most total yards of offense the Hokies have had under head coach Frank Beamer.

After only getting one first down on their first three drives, Motley was able to settle down and find dynamic tight end Bucky Hodges for a 46 yard completion to spring the Hokies first offensive touchdown on a Motley scramble five plays later. The half would end with the Hokies up 14-0.

Travon McMillan kicked off the second half with a 63-yard run that set the tone for the rest of the game as Tech ran away from the Paladins, scoring 21 points in the third quarter. Motley hooked up with top wideout Isaiah Ford for 1-yard and 32-yard touchdowns to bookend the quarter. Between those Trey Edmunds punched in the Hokies fourth touchdown of the day on a one-yard run.

Up a comfortable 35-3 entering the fourth quarter the Hokies used that time to get extended looks at backup quarterbacks Dwayne Lawson, who scored the first touchdown of his career on a 4-yard run, and Chris Durkin along with some other reserves.

Motley finished his first career start with 16 completions in 24 attempts for 233 yards and two touchdowns in the air and 38 yards and a touchdown on four carries. Most importantly was how comfortable Motley looked in the pocket and making reads in the passing game, something he that was evident against Ohio State. With Brewer set to miss at least three more games his growth as a starter will continue to be the top storyline for the Hokies.

On the injury front the Hokies didn’t get through the game completely unscathed. Starting middle linebacker Andrew Motuapuaka exited the game early in the third quarter with a left knee injury and did not return. On the offensive Hodges tried to play through a bruised right quad before succumbing to the injury in the third quarter.

The Paladins’ only points of the game came on a 49 yard field goal in the third quarter.

Hokies kicker Joey Slye continued his perfect kickoff streak, with all six of his kickoffs going for touchbacks, making him 10/10 on the season.

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