It’s not very often that you see the Virginia Tech defense completely dominated, but that’s exactly what happened in the second half Saturday in a 28-23 loss to Georgia Tech.
The Hokies held the Yellow Jackets to just seven points in the first half, but their offense was unable to muster much of anything, squandering countless opportunities and scoring just three points.
At halftime, Jackets’ coach Paul Johnson made some adjustments and his offense was able to churn up yards and melt the clock, all while putting up 21 points in the second half.
Georgia Tech quarterback Josh Nesbitt was ineffective passing but ran wild on the Hokies, carrying 23 times for 122 yards and three touchdowns.
Jonathan Dwyer had 82 yards and Anthony Allen added 59, resulting in a team total of 309 yards on the ground.
All that running kept the clock moving. The Jackets absolutely dominated time of possession, holding the ball just over 38 minutes in the game.
When the Hokies did get the ball, it was a mixed bag of results.
In the first half, the Hokies were largely unable to do anything productive offensively but the defense held strong and the first quarter was scoreless for both sides.
After a similar second quarter, the Ramblin’ Wreck made some adjustments on offense and kept the Hokies off the field.
Despite two first half interceptions, one on a tipped pass and the other on an end-of-the-first-half Hail Mary, Tyrod Taylor continued to play well, completing 10 of 14 passes for 159 yards and a touchdown.
In one of his best rushing performances of the season, Taylor carried the ball 13 times for 64 yards and a touchdown.
It was also business as usual for Ryan Williams, who battled the flu last week and still came through with 14 carries for 100 yards and two touchdowns, one rushing and one receiving.
Most of Williams’ yards came on a 66-yard touchdown run in the third quarter. Aside from that, the defense did a nice job of keeping him in check.
The Hokies’ conservative game plan early failed to take advantage of a good effort by the defense and excellent field position. Taylor and company seemed to move the ball quite effectively in the second half once things were opened up.
In the future, when the offense gets in a lull, switching to the two-minute offense or a different set of hurry-up plays might be a nice way to get into a rhythm. Taylor has been very effective running that package this season.
On defense, Bud Foster is certainly fuming right now.
After spending extra time on Georgia Tech’s option attack in the offseason, the Jackets still were able to adapt and get tremendous blocking at the first and second levels.
Kam Chancellor had another rough game, getting blocked and taken out of plays on several big runs.
The defense has taken longer to gel as a unit this season and will look for improvement down the stretch.
With the loss, nothing really changes for the Hokies. They still must win the remainder of their games and see how things shake out. The only difference now is they need Georgia Tech to lose a game somewhere.
The Hokies have a bye this weekend and will return to Lane Stadium, Worsham Field two Thursdays from now against North Carolina.
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