Virginia Tech Football: Winners and Losers from Week 10 Game vs. Florida State
It took 10 weeks, but the Virginia Tech Hokies played their best game of the season. Unfortunately it resulted in a last-second, 28-22 loss to No. 9 Florida State in Blacksburg.
No one gave the Hokies a chance, especially after their performance last Thursday, and rightfully so. But head coach Frank Beamer had the Hokies ready to play and it showed throughout the night.
Despite the heartbreaking, game-winning score, Bud Foster's defense was outstanding throughout the night.
Florida State entered this game with the No. 1 overall defense in the country and a top-10 offense, and Virginia Tech matched them to the end.
With their record now at 4-6, it is the worst season in 20 years for Virginia Tech football. Coincidentally, that was the last year they missed playing in a bowl game.
Here are some winners and losers from Thursday night's game.
Winner: Logan Thomas
The Hokies lost this game, but it wasn't because of Thomas.
Thomas had his most complete performance of the season after missing some early throws.
Instead of taking off as he has been apt to do at times, Thomas hung tough in the pocket on several occasions going through his progressions and making the right reads.
When he did run, he was effective. The less designed running plays for Thomas, the more effective this offense can be.
Thomas had some terrific throws in this game, several going in the direction of reliable senior Corey Fuller. He showed why many consider him a future first-round NFL draft pick in this game.
Thomas' late-game interception did seal the win for the Seminoles, but he was the main reason the Hokies were in this game until the end.
Winner: Corey Fuller
Fuller continues on his strong senior season finishing with over 100 yards for the second time this year.
Not only is Fuller always around on third down when Thomas needs him, he makes plays down the field. He shows excellent hands, and with his speed he is tough to tackle in the open field.
It is truly a shame the former track standout is a senior because if he played football his entire career he would have been an outstanding college player. Fuller isn't just a possession receiver, he shows he is capable of playing outside or in the slot.
Fuller finished with seven receptions for 124 yards and a touchdown.
The Hokies' defensive front was dominant for much of the game and the team finished with five sacks and 11 tackles-for-loss. The Hokies held the Seminoles to 311 total yards.
They set the tone by often forcing Florida State quarterback E.J. Manuel to throw the ball sooner than he would have liked.
James Gayle has been a different player for the past month. His renaissance has benefited each player along the defensive line and Gayle was in the backfield on several occasions.
The Hokies shut down the Florida State running game, forcing them to be one-dimensional and allowing them to tee off on Manuel.
Junior cornerback Antone Exum played another solid game. He brought physicality to the Florida State receivers every time they caught the ball. Exum isn't afraid to play bump-and-run coverage despite his struggles from earlier in the season.
Unfortunately for the Hokies, Manuel made the key plays when he had to and that was the difference in the game.
Loser: Marcus Davis
Senior wide receiver Marcus Davis is such a talented player. Virginia Tech's offense is at its best when Davis gets the ball on several occasions. But, Davis was a liability with his performance against the Seminoles.
Things started out well for Davis as his 54-yard catch in the first quarter set up the Hokies' first score. After that catch, Davis had several issues holding onto the ball.
On a key third down, Thomas threw Davis a slant that hit him in the hands and he dropped it. Later, Davis had his defender beat down the left sideline and Thomas put one right over his shoulder. He couldn't hang onto it. Just by catching the ball, the Hokies would have been in field goal range.
Davis' third-quarter fumble is what hurt the Hokies the most. After catching a pass and getting the first down, Davis was carrying the ball loosely in one hand when the Florida State defensive back tackled him and the ball came loose.
The Seminoles would score a touchdown off the turnover.
The Hokies need consistency from Davis; that has been the knock on him the last two years.
Loser: Kyle Fuller
Kyle Fuller is a tremendous football player, but this was not a good night for the junior cornerback.
Manuel seemingly targeted Fuller all night and he gave up several big plays, including the one above that resulted in a Florida State touchdown.
The Hokies forced a second-half fumble where all Fuller had to do was land on the ball, but as he was falling to the ground, the ball popped loose and the Seminoles recovered.
It was that type of night for Fuller.
He did show why he is one of the the best-tackling cornerback's in the country, making a few plays in the running game that were solid.
All in all, it was not Fuller's best performance.