Bad weather? No problem. Bad field conditions?No problem. Giving up a score on Miami's first snaps on offense? No problem. Giving up huge chunks of return yards on special teams? No problem.
Tonight, the ball and odds were clearly in the Hokies favor.
Every ball bounced the Hokies' way. Punter A.J. Hughes had a hand in starting the scoring frenzy by forcing a fumble on punt return, which the Hokies recovered, and made Miami pay dearly for it. Then they never looked back.
It was quite a turnaround after two weeks that saw the defense surrendering points and chunks of yardage. It was quite a redeeming story for a quarterback who has been under the glaring lights of criticism after committing eight turnovers over two weeks.
He had none in tonight's game. Read that again. He had NO turnovers. He did not try to force the ball to anyone. He took sacks when it was needed. Just off hand, there was only one throwaway. Thomas was brilliant. He went through his progressions, hitting receivers in stride, hitting his check-downs and dashing off for a new set of downs if it was absolutely necessary.
Tonight's game was also about the offense as whole. The offensive line finally began to assert their will upon an impressive Miami's defense. They put their hats on Miami's hats and drove. Trey Edmunds turned in a four-touchdown performance. Joshua Stanford ripped off a touchdown run, spinning out of tacklers and then getting some help from Willie Byrn putting on a block that sprung him loose for the touchdown. Byrn almost cost Virginia Tech a touchdown as well, but a very alert Demitri Knowles pounced on it and recovered it in the end zone to put the Hokies up 35-17.
By the final whistle, the offense had flat-out imposed their will on Miami and broke the back of the Hurricanes defense. In the fourth quarter, the oft-criticized Scot Loeffler went all-in with J.C. Coleman and had him pound the ball repeatedly until the Hokies were literally knocking on the door for a final touchdown. While Coleman may not have converted the fourth down, the damage was done. Miami's once vaunted defense left the field, battered, bruised, exhausted, and broken.
This was the type of offense everyone has been waiting for all season. The kind of offense that executed, drove, and scored touchdowns. They did not try to be cute, but lined up and dared Miami to try and stop them. When Miami tried, the Hokies punished them.
Last year, special teams meltdowns, offensive blunders and a tired Hokies defense cost the team the game. It was a complete 180 tonight. It was the offense that carried the team, putting the defense on their backs, and controlled the game from the get-go. While the defense may not have been on their best game, the offense made sure the defenders had plenty of rest by executing long, methodical drives, and crushing Miami's will yard-by-yard.
The most important thing tonight it proved head coach Frank Beamer was right in sticking by Logan Thomas. He had faith in Thomas to lead the offense, and boy, did Thomas lead. Like a general leading the soldiers into battle, unflinching, Beamer chose to defy the vocal fans who wanted Mark Leal to replace Logan Thomas, and it paid off in full.
With two games remaining on the regular season schedule, it is clear that when the offense has a game like tonight, they can win without walking on a razor's edge. No games are guaranteed to be like tonight, but it should give the offense a huge boost of confidence that, when the game is on the line, they know they can respond by putting on their hard hats and knocking defenders off the ball repeatedly.