Virginia Tech Football: Winners and Losers from Week 3 Game vs. Pittsburgh

Bryan Manning@bdmanning4Featured ColumnistSeptember 17, 2012

Virginia Tech Football: Winners and Losers from Week 3 Game vs. Pittsburgh

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    Pittsburgh's unofficial ACC debut couldn't have been any better. The Panthers defeated No. 13 Virginia Tech 35-17 on Saturday in a game where the Hokies truly never threatened Pittsburgh.

    While Pittsburgh doesn't officially become an ACC member until 2013, beating perennial conference power Virginia Tech was a good shot in the arm for the Panthers. 

    For the Hokies, losing to an opponent they were heavily favored against has truly become an annual event. 

    Could the Hokies rebound from an early-season disappointing loss like like they did in 2010 when they reeled off 11 consecutive victories before losing to Stanford in the Orange Bowl? Or did Pittsburgh expose some of Virginia Tech's potentially fatal flaws moving forward?

    Assessing the winners and losers in a game like this can be tough, but things weren't bad for every Hokie.

    Here is a look at some winners and losers in yesterday's game: 

Winner: Marcus Davis

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    In the first two weeks, Marcus Davis showed his ability to take over a game. However, there were occasions where things just seemed to be bit off for him.

    Not in Saturday's game.

    Davis finished the game with four receptions for 129 yards, including an 85-yard touchdown reception. On the catch, Davis took a short completion, broke a tackle, and outran the entire Pittsburgh defense to the end zone. 

    Quarterback Logan Thomas missed Davis on a post route in the third quarter that Davis would have taken to the house. Davis had the cornerback beat and there was no safety help but the ball was just outside of Davis' reach.

    Through three games this much is known: Davis is a playmaker and Virginia Tech needs to put the ball in his hands early and often. 

Winner: Kyshoen Jarrett

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    Jarrett makes this list for his 94-yard punt return for a touchdown that briefly put the Hokies back into the game. 

    It is the second game in a row where Jarrett had a spectacular punt return. Last week vs. Austin Peay, Jarrett returned a punt 46 yards to set up the Hokies' first touchdown.

    Coming into the season there were many questions about who would return punts. Jarrett has clearly answered those questions and it should be a position of strength in the coming weeks.  

Loser: Logan Thomas

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    For the third straight game, Thomas wasn't terribly efficient. Just terrible.

    In the Georgia Tech game, Thomas was off but he made plays when it mattered most. And against Austin Peay, Thomas wasn't bad, but he missed some easy throws.

    That trend continued on Saturday.

    Thomas hadn't turned the ball over before this game in which he threw three interceptions.

    One interception wasn't his fault but the other two should not have been thrown.

    Drops were an issue for Thomas Saturday, too. But the one throw that stands out is the one where Thomas led Marcus Davis too much and missed an opportunity for an easy touchdown.

    Thomas needs to put this team on his back in a hurry. The passing game could be very good as the team is deep at the wide receiver position. 

Loser: Freshmen Running Backs

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    Let me preface this by saying that the offensive line hasn't been very good for three weeks now. 

    But freshmen running backs Michael Holmes and J.C. Coleman combined for 13 carries for a grand total of six yards. That is less than a half-yard per carry. 

    Everyone knew before the season that having two freshmen as the primary ball carriers would at times be an issue.

    One player to keep an eye on is senior Martin Scales. Scales was the only Hokies back to move the chains consistently. Albeit, Scales had only four carries but they went for 16 yards, which is an average of four yards per carry.

    The Hokies should look to give Scales more carries in the coming weeks.

    Can't continue to lose games while you wait for younger players to develop.  

Loser: Defense

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    This unit was expected to be one of the best in the country. After Saturday, that talk will quiet down considerably.

    The Hokies gave up a total of 537 yards, including 254 rushing yards. 

    They made senior quarterbark Tino Sunseri actually look like a competent quarterback. Sunseri threw for 283 yards with three touchdowns and only one interception.

    Bud Foster's group was beaten up front all day and that could be a big issue as the Hokies face better opposition. 

    Junior Kyle Fuller, the Hokies' best defender, left the game early with a shoulder injury. Fuller should be ready to play next week. 

    If the Hokies are to win another ACC championship the defense has to regroup. Fortunately for Virginia Tech fans, Foster has shown the ability to make good adjustments from one game to the next.