Virginia Tech shut out Bowling Green, winning 37-0, in Blacksburg. It was not a very pretty start for Virginia Tech, something I have grown accustomed to seeing; however, when Virginia Tech finally established their running game, the rout was very well under way. Let's review my three items I was watching in this game: establishing the run, the quarterback duels, and defense.
Establishing the run
Tony Gregory paced the Hokies with 11 totes for 68 yards (6.8 yards per carries), and he was the man that jump started the rushing attack. Logan Thomas threw his weight around as he rushed for 65 yards and 1 TD. Michael Holmes (4 carries, 51 yards, 1 TD), J.C. Coleman (4 carries, 45 yards, 1 reception, 10 yards, 1 TD), and Martin Scales (3 carries, 15 yards, 1 TD) all contributed through a rotation by providing balanced attack. The running attack could not have been done without brilliant execution and blocking by the beleaguered offense line.
Logan Thomas clearly won this duel, but it took him a while to find his footing and start executing his pass better. I still get aggravated with his long bomb passes because those typically yield low percentage of success; however, he did connect with Dryell Roberts for a 42 yards touchdown pass, and a beautifully executed 10 yard swing pass to Coleman for the touchdown. Matt Schilz was pressured for most of the day, being sacked only once, and passed for only 87 yards all day. His replacement Matt Johnson didn't fare as well, throwing for a total of 46 yards. There were plenty of dropped passes by both teams that could have resulted in first down.
Virginia Tech defense performed much better. They limited Bowling Green rushing yards to 135 yards and 133 passing yards. That is better than the awful performance they yielded last Saturday against Pittsburgh. There were numerous of missed tackles, whiffing on some screen passes, and they have only sacked Bowling Green's quarterbacks once. They created a lot of pressure, forcing Schilz and Johnson to toss the football on the run, and Exum intercept a pass today.
I think the offense finally got rolling to a balanced attack and the defense held the fort without surrendering a touchdown. I could have swore Stinespring took over the offense play calling after three bad starts, but I have no proof of that. The defense are probably going to employ a bend-but-don't-break mindset this season. They still need to work on getting in the quarterback's face to create havoc, but I think Bud Foster has to be pleased with the improvement today.
Coming this week - what would I be watching for against Cincinnati?