Virginia Tech was able to defeat the Western Carolina Catamounts in their home opener today by the score of 45-3, despite navigating several of their own issues.
Logan Thomas, still far from perfect, looked better than last week, as did his receiving corps, who dropped just a handful of passes this week compared to the 9 drops and 2 non-efforts. There was also the debut of several promising players in the passing game, including true freshman Kalvin Cline,
redshirt-sophomore redshirt-junior Willie Byrn and for all intents and purposes, redshirt-freshman Joshua Stanford. All three caught 4 passes apiece, but Byrn led the Hokies in yardage with 58 yards. D.J. Coles caught one pass for a 19-yard touchdown, one of his only plays on the field after being demoted on the depth chart this week.
Thomas was 17-31 for 200 yards with a touchdown and 2 interceptions, both in the end zone. He struggled with ball placement again, under-throwing the receiver on both interceptions and missing several easy completions. He also did not attempt a carry, somewhat of an oddity for him.
The ground game was a rousing success, and as promised, all four of the Hokies top tailbacks were used. Chris Mangus led the way with 84 on 5 carries, the strength of which came on a 76-yard touchdown, perhaps the play of the game. Behind him, Trey Edmunds finished with 68 yards on 15 carries and 2 touchdowns. J.C. Coleman carried 7 times for 38 yards and Joel Caleb picked up 36 yards on 6 carries and a touchdown.
The Hokies out-gained the Catamounts 462-162, including allowing only 51 yards through the air. Detrick Bonner had perhaps his best game as Hokie, picking off two passes and returning both for significant gains, including one touchdown. Bonner is now fourth on the team in all-purpose yards after two games with 72 yards. Brandon Facyson collected his first career pick as well. The Hokies were, however, fooled on occasion by the read option, allowing big gains to Catamount quarterback Eddie Sullivan and running back Garry Lewis. The Catamounts were able to get a fairly consistent push, and despite being pressured, Sullivan was only sacked once by J.R. Collins.
The Hokies made some strides towards becoming a more complete team, but as the box score shows, they're not there yet.
For more post-game analysis and coverage leading up to East Carolina next Saturday, Gobbler Country is your home Virginia Tech football.