Sunday Thoughts: Virginia Tech-East Carolina
You can go ahead and file this one under ugly defensive battle, or the layman’s term: Beamerball.
There wasn’t the flashy special teams play you normally see, but Brent Bowden did average 45 yards per kick on seven punts.
Aside from that, it was vintage Beamerball; just barely enough offense to scrape by and a bend but don’t break effort from a defensive unit that has had its share of trouble this season.
On paper, the Hokies truly dominated the Pirates out-gaining ECU 379-277 and holding onto the football for 35 minutes in the game.
Tech managed three field goals from Matt Waldron, including a career-long of 41 yards, but just one touchdown will keep more than a few Hokies feeling nervous about the team’s offensive production.
Heading into the ECU game, the Hokies ranked 73rd in the nation in total offense but 34th in scoring offense thanks to the defense and special teams.
The most telling stat for the offense however is nothing point-related. Tech ranks 97th in the nation in sacks allowed giving up almost three per game.
Some of that can be pinned on Tyrod Taylor’s reluctance to run early in the season. The offensive line has struggled however, whether it’s allowing pressure or getting flagged, the big guys up front have not been sharp.
As usual, some major credit is due for redshirt freshman Ryan Williams.
After his fumble in the closing minutes against North Carolina set up the winning field goal for the Tar Heels, Williams rebounded with 26 carries for 179 yards.
Williams’ yardage coupled with 68 yards on the ground from Tyrod Taylor and 15 from Josh Oglesby led to Tech grinding out 242 yards on the ground.
While Tech attempted 30 pass plays, the Hokies clearly are still a run-first offense.
While ultra-conservative in nature and highly dependent on the defense to hold the score down, Tech can be successful with a ball-control offense similar to that employed by Georgia Tech. The thinking being if the other team never has the ball, they can’t score.
The Hokies face an interesting test next week when they head up to Maryland to face the Terrapins.
Maryland is really struggling and at this point the Terps are playing simply for pride.
Ralph Friedgen and Frank Beamer are extremely close friends, and you can bet Friedgen would love to beat a Tech team that has beaten him handily the last few meetings.
Maryland may be without starting quarterback Chris Turner next week when Tech rolls into town. Turner injured the medial collateral ligament in his knee in a 38-31 loss Saturday to N.C. State and the severity of the injury isn’t yet known.
Inexperienced sophomore Jamarr Robinson would start if Turner can’t go, and a young QB might be just what the Hokie defense needs to get back to their dominating ways.
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