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Hokies vs Wolfpack: A Tale of Two Games but a 'W' Nonetheless

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Thunderstorms, heavy rain, and the North Carolina State Wolfpack all met up with the Hokies in Blacksburg on Friday Evening. The Hokies came away with a Win, in a difficult to describe surreal game situation where the fans were only being allowed in minutes before kickoff. Tech's offense woke up going North. It's Defense shined, and the fans got to see a convincing win in Lane Stadium for a change.

Isaiah Ford's NC State Hat Trick - More Good Things
Isaiah Ford's NC State Hat Trick - More Good Things
Michael Shroyer/Getty Images

The North Carolina State Wolfpack visited Blacksburg on October 9th and had an evening that they are not likely to forget for many reasons.  The first was the game delay and weather.  The start was delayed about 11 or so minutes due to massive downpours and lightning.  The second was the impressive first quarter that they had where the Hokie offense was once again stymied and the Defense was stunned and confused.  The third and last thing that they might or might not remember is the truck that ran them over in the second quarter, and then backed up on them repeatedly until the clock ran out just after 11:15 PM.

The game stats from Yahoo sports:

NC St

VT

First Downs

17

21

Total Yards

271

359

Turnovers

1

0

First Downs

17

21

Passes for First

7

8

Rushes for First

9

8

Penalties for First

1

5

Third Down Efficiency

5-15

5-12

Fourth Down Efficiency

0-1

0-1

Total Yards

271

359

Total Plays

65

65

Avg Gain Per Play

4.2

5.5

Net Yards Rushing

157

201

Rushes

40

36

Yards Per Rush

3.9

5.6

Net Yards Passing

114

158

Comp-Att

12-25

14-29

Yards Per Pass

4.6

5.4

Times Sacked

1

4

Yds Lost To Sacks

-3

-22

Interceptions

1

0

Punts

6

6

Punt Average

0.0

0.0

Penalties

9

7

Penalty Yards

80

47

Fumbles

0

1

Fumbles Lost

0

0

It's a bit difficult to describe the action in the first quarter, basically because on the Hokie side of the ball, the action was mostly getting hammered for no yardage, or dropping passes.  Tech looked like it was going to repeat the Pittsburgh fiasco, and before the defense could look up.

Tech received the kickoff and promptly went four and out.  One free first down on an NC State penalty was the only real gain.   Then NC State took the ball up the field on a series of slashing runs and uncovered options to the Tech 16 where the defense finally got a stop of sorts and the Wolfpack was forced to kick a field goal.  Three points is still three too many.  Tech's defense looked flat footed and its left side looked very vulnerable.

Tech took the next kickoff nowhere, and gained just five yards on the next three plays.  There was one bright spot in the three and out, though.  Motley connected with Isaiah Ford for five yards on a nice simple high percentage throw, and that seem to settle both of them down a bit.  After NC State did nothing on its three plays, the Hokies showed a spark of life.   Motley hit Hodges for 7, and Rogers ran for another 7 which gave us our first earned first down.  Unfortunately there was a fumble and Motley fell on it for a two yard loss.  After an incomplete pass, Tech could only get ten yards back on an otherwise nice pass outside to JC Coleman.

After putting the ball on the NC State 9 yard line, the Wolfpack proceeded to drive up the field, and put a 10 play 91 yard drive on the board for 6 and a PAT.  The score at the opening of the 2nd quarter was NC State 10, Virginia Tech 0, and the crowd almost looked out of the game.  It was freshly arrived, since the thunderstorms caused the stadium officials to close the gates until things cleared up.  It took the fans some time to get to their places, and things weren't looking up as they got settled.

Then something magical happened.  Someone from another dimension started calling plays that Motley and crew could complete.  McMillian caught a nice little flair out of the backfield for 19.  Then Phillips comes up with a 14 yard quick middle route completion.  Sam Rogers gets a respectable 5 yard run on the next play and NC State is penalized 10.  The Hokies end up on the NC State 27, and instead of doing something completely expected, like running the ball, someone calls a SLUGO left to Isaiah Ford for a neat 27 yard touchdown play.   The Offense got on the board, but more than that, the momentum and energy of the drive got the Defense back into the game in a big way.

The Wolfpack lost yardage on the next three and out, and were forced to punt the ball from pretty deep in their own territory.  Tech then methodically drove the ball down the field on a 9 play mixed pass and run drive capped by a beautiful pass to Isaiah Ford in the end zone.

NC State was overwhelmed by the Hokie defense on the next possession to go three and out.  They punted the ball away with just a hair over 4 minutes left on the clock, and the hope that Tech would get conservative and just try to grind it out until halftime and adjustments arrived.  The score was still just 14 to 10, and nothing had gotten out of hand.

It seems that the Tech play caller from the alternate dimension didn't feel that we should be burning clock without putting points on the board.  Motley, who by now was looking a bit bruised up, rushed three times for 17 yards (Tech also got 10 freebie yards on a penalty), after several running plays and the clock ticking down, NC State committed a critical 9 yard penalty that put the ball on the NC State 2 yard line.  Two plays later Motley, rolling to his right hit Isaiah Ford for their third TD pass combo on a squat route in the end zone.   NC State ended the half on a knee.

The third quarter kickoff went to NC State.  Their promising drive stalled out causing them to punt.   Greg Stroman made a questionable decision fielding the ball on the VT 8 and was dropped on the 6.   The rest of the quarter was just a slug fest.  The only score was a long choppy NC State drive that stalled out on the Tech 14, but NC State sneezed before the snap and the field goal attempt was pushed back 5 yards.  Those three points were the last NC State would score for the game; however.

With Motley obviously hurting after several bruising hits, Lawson came in for a few plays, and after an exchange of punts, Motley once again took the field, limping heavily and unable to really rock into his throws, Tech stuck mostly to the ground game.  Then with just under 9 minutes to go in the game, Motley hit Hodges for a nifty 26 yarder, and that was followed up a play later with a perfectly executed sweep left by McMillan for 59 yards and a game capping touchdown.  It was totally unexpected, and of major relief to every Hokie with a pulse.

That was because the Hokie Defense, after its initial shock pretty much shut down the NC State offense for three full quarters.  Their quarterback was repeatedly hurried, hit, forced to run... and then sacked several times, with Ken Ekanem finally notching at least 1 and a half sacks.  I suppose the exclamation point for the win was the beautiful toe dragging interception by Adonis "My New Middle Initial is ‘P' for Pick-off" Alexander, which snapped NC State Quarterback Jacoby Brissett's record of no picks.  I forget the number, he's unlikely to.

This is a tale of two games because in the first and third quarters, the Hokie offense barely registered anything significant.  There was no real excuse for the first quarter.  The third quarter was marred by the repeated hits and damage to Motley; and a return to that stumbling overly cautious play burning yardage wasting offense that seems to crop up at the most inconvenient times.  At least we had three TD's on the board, and the Defense had NC State pretty well doped out by the middle of the 2nd quarter.  Other than getting occasionally beaten on plays they shouldn't have, the #LPD was its stout self.  Andrew Motuapuaka took a big step up in the middle.  He made a few errors here and there; but he was solid and put serious pressure on the quarterback when he got the blitz opportunities.  This win was on the defense, AND on Brenden Motley, who played hurt but played clean.  He didn't make game wasting errors, and definitely showed a vast improvement over last week.  The offensive line was blocking better, at least allowing Motley to get in a read or two before needing to move.

We did have some more penalty problems, not as many as NC State; but one is still too many.  The Bonehead award is going to be distributed well on Monday.  But for Saturday and Sunday the Virginia Tech Hokies can celebrate a bit.

Of course that's in the past.  The next game is a big one.  It's away, and it's another must win.  This season is going to be one game day and opponent at a time.  Looking ahead beyond the next game is pointless, and looking back to get nostalgic over how great we were for a moment is useless.

One Game at a Time Folks!

GO HOKIES!!!

*From Yahoo Sports:

Sources:

* http://sports.yahoo.com/ncaaf/north-carolina-state-wolfpack-virginia-tech-hokies-201510090016/