Virginia Tech Football: Report Card Grades for Hokies Win Against Wake Forest
Another year, another bowl for Virginia Tech, after Logan Thomas led the Hokies to their sixth win of the season against Wake Forest. The question is, can the Hokies make it to another ACC Championship game?
Believe it or not, Virginia gave the Hokies a bit of a break with their upset win over Georgia Tech. The race is likely going to come down to Georgia Tech and the Hokies again, and the winner of their matchup will likely determine who goes on to play the Atlantic Division champion, which will probably be Clemson.
Wake Forest came into Saturday's matchup with momentum after beating Florida State and having an undefeated record in ACC play, but the Demon Deacons were without Josh Harris and were unable to capitalize on an early 10-point lead.
Here are the Hokies' report card grades for their win over Wake Forest.
Logan Thomas started slow, but had a strong performance in the second half. The sophomore quarterback completed 17 of 32 passes for 280 yards and two touchdowns. He added 30 yards and two scores on the ground.
Thomas is looking more natural under center with every snap, and he now has the offense running through him, opposed to the ground game, like it was earlier this season.
Staring down receivers and holding the ball too long in the pocket are his biggest weaknesses, but that should get better as he gains more experience. For now, two very good performances back-to-back for the Hokies' young star, and the Hokie Nation should be excited for the future.
David Wilson continues to shine for the Hokies. Saturday, Wilson carried 17 times for 136 yards and a touchdown. His explosive play-making ability makes him a threat to score every time he touches the ball.
This was his sixth 100-yard rushing game of the season. Wilson now has 903 yards rushing and six touchdowns on the season.
Josh Oglesby carried 12 times for only 27 yards. Oglesby isn't much of a threat and only sees the field when Wilson needs a breather. If he wants more carries, he simply needs to perform better.
Jarrett Boykin picked up where he left off against Miami. Boykin had 149 receiving yards with one touchdown on seven catches. Boykin is by far the Hokies' greatest threat in their aerial attack.
Danny Coale had another serviceable game and Marcus Davis caught his third touchdown of the year. This group continues to get better each week, and, as long as Thomas continues to improve, the receiving corps should continue to impress.
It was another strong performance for the Hokies' offensive line. This group may be the biggest benefactor of Thomas' strong play.
The Hokies' offense had become predictable early in the year, but now it has you guessing. It gives the offensive line a better chance against a defense that now has to respect both the run and the pass.
There were a couple of sacks given up yesterday, but most should be attributed to Thomas for holding the ball too long.
After getting torched on the ground against Miami, the Hokies defensive line performed much better against Wake Forest. The Demon Deacons rushed for only 59 yards, averaging 1.9 yards per carry.
Early in the game, this group struggled to get pressure on Wake Forest Quarterback Tanner Price, but was able to break through in the second half. Price had a lot of time to throw on their first few possessions, and he took advantage.
However, you have to commend Bud Foster for making the necessary adjustments and for coaching up this young, inexperienced group. Remember, Antoine Hopkins is out for the year, and James Gayle didn't play yesterday.
That considered, it was a great performance by the defensive front.
After hearing that Jeron Gouviea-Winslow will be out for the remainder of the season, the Hokies' coaching staff turned to Tariq Edwards to fill the spot. Edwards responded by recording three tackles (two for a loss), a sack and an interception.
It was a strong performance by Edwards, who has played well so far this season. Now the job is his until further notice. Bruce Taylor had another strong showing, as did Alonzo Tweedy.
This group has battled the injury bug all season, but has continued to play as a unit.
The Hokies suffered a huge loss to their secondary when Jayron Hosley left with a hamstring injury and did not return. With Boston College and Duke on the schedule for the next two weeks, it's unlikely the coaching staff will rush their All-American back until he's ready.
That being said, freshman cornerback Detrick Bonner stepped up in a big way with eight tackles and good pass coverage.
This unit did a good job of limiting the big plays, despite the 79-yard touchdown catch and run that put the Demon Deacons up 10 in the first quarter.
The special teams finally seem to be turning for the better. Freshman punter Michael Branthover punted seven times for an average of 42 yards. He also placed three inside the 20-yard line.
Kicker Cody Journell added a 24-yard field goal and went five-for-five on extra point attempts, and Danny Coale averaged 6.5 yards on four punt returns.
The coaching staff, like many teams in college football, has been faced with a number of injuries. Most of the injuries lie on the defensive side of the ball, but the Hokies' young players stepped up against Wake Forest.
It's always good to have depth, and the Hokies' depth is being tested in a big way. Foster has done a great job with a young defense and has plenty to work on with his young players.
Offensively, the Hokies continue to look good after their embarrassing performance against Clemson. If they keep playing like this, they should have a chance to redeem themselves in the ACC Championship game—if both teams end up making it there.
It's hard to measure leadership, but it's easy to see. The defense continues to rally around linebacker Bruce Taylor and, right now, he's definitely the catalyst of this group.
Offensively, it looks like everyone is starting to rally around Thomas, and the coaching staff wouldn't have it any other way. You have to be able to rely on your quarterback to lead the offense, and, after a slow start, that's exactly what Thomas is starting to do.
With Wilson in the backfield and Thomas under center playing the way that they are right now, the Hokies are going to be a tough out for the opposition.