December 15, 2017

VIRGINIA TECH Football: Hokies bounce back against Eagles

Travon McMillian, Joey Slye and the Virginia Tech defense. Yes, they’re three people who have never been in my kitchen, but they’re also the three groups who led the Virginia Tech Hokies to a much needed 26-10 victory over the Boston College Eagles to move to 4-5 on the season and keep their bowl hopes alive.

McMillian ran for 100 yards for the second straight week and over 90 yards for the fourth straight week. His 105 yards on 33 carries (a new career high) made him the first player to run for over 56 yards against the stout Boston College defense. He’s been one of the biggest bright spots on the season for the Hokies and along with Michael Brewer’s 15-21 for 180 yards, one touchdown and one interception day led a Hokies offense into doing just enough to beat the best defense in the country.

That meant a big day for place kicker Joey Slye too, as the Eagles stopped the Hokies from finishing drives with touchdowns. Slye was 4-4 on field goal attempts, making one field goal in each quarter. He nailed a 47 yarder in the first quarter, a 38 yarder to end the first half, a 32 yarder in the third quarter and another 32 yarder to put the game away in the fourth.

The Hokies offense did manage to grab one touchdown, on their second drive of the game. After an Eagles three and out and 39 yard punt started the Hokies on the BC 47, it took Tech just four plays to drive the rest of the way for a 7-0 lead. The drive was capped off with a picture perfect 27 yard touchdown pass from Brewer to Cam Phillips to put the Hokies up 7-0.

The only other Tech touchdown of the day came in the second quarter and with the defense on the field. Middle linebacker Andrew Motuapuaka shed a block and filled in perfectly to stop the Eagles’ running back Josh Gowins at the line of scrimmage, stood him up and then took away the ball running it 34 yards for a touchdown.

The defense was the story of the game, finishing with nine tackles for a loss, forcing four turnovers and holding the Eagles to just 218 total yards. It was a complete performance that was expected of the Hokies every game this season. This time it was aided by an awful Boston College offense, they had scored only 55 points in six games against FBS opponents coming into the game and had freshman walk on John Faldue getting his first career start at quarterback.

Things slowed down in the second half as the two teams combined for seven punts and just 16 points. The Eagles offense had their best drive of the game in the third quarter, going 59 yards in 11 plays to kick a 29 yard field goal to get on the scoreboard. They would tack on a six play, 75 yard drive for a touchdown to make the game look much closer than it was.

The Hokies got some help from the referees, with two clear fumbles that the Eagles were going to return for touchdowns instead being ruled down by contact and forward progress that bailed them out. If those plays went the other way this would likely be another game where Tech did just enough to lose. But instead the Hokies will be traveling back to Blacksburg with some confidence needing to win 2 of their last 3 games to continue their 21 year bowl game streak.

About James O'Hara

James O’Hara is a Contributor to District Sports Page covering Virginia Tech football. James is a 2014 graduate of Tech and a diehard Hokie fan. He has serious nostalgia for Blacksburg and always gets pumped up by the opening bars of “Enter Sandman”. James also writes about the Nationals for Citizens of NatsTown and general MLB for the Washington Post Fancy Stats blog. Follow him on Twitter @nextyeardc.

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