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Virginia Tech Hokies vs. Boston College Eagles: The Recap

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The Virginia Tech Hokies come away from Chestnut Hill with a win, and the vague incomplete feeling that they didn't lose the game on offense, left the defense on the field too long, and got away with some mistakes that could have cost them dearly. It's a much needed 'W' and that is pretty much all that can be said.

Andrew Scores!!!!
Andrew Scores!!!!
Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

We won.

Well, that's sort of all you can really say with a level of positive feeling.  The Hokies played just enough football to defeat a Boston College football team that possessed the ball for almost none of the first half, most of the second half, and whose defense nearly pulled off its own victory.  Before Hokie fans get too full of themselves, it's really important to take a good look at how close this game really was.

Almost all of Tech's scoring, and luck came in the first half, and that luck was often ridiculously good.  Tech's opening drive after receiving the kickoff started with a promising and bold game plan with a beautiful 24 yard strike down the middle to Bucky Hodges.  But after some give and take,  and a total reversion to cautious play calling, the Hokie offense stalled out at the BC 37.  Tech elected to pooch punt to try to pin the Eagles back, instead of have Joey Slye try the long Field Goal.

BC went three and out for a -2 yard drive with Flutie behind center.  The punt from its end zone left Tech with a short field on the BC 47.  Brewer then hit Ford for 14 yards, and for some unexplainable reason Motley was brought in to run for a subpar 3 yard gain.  Brewer again came into the game and this time hit Cam Phillips with a beautifully thrown flag route in the end zone for six.  Joey capped it off with a PAT and Tech was on the board.  It would also turn out to be the Hokies' only offensive touchdown of the game.

The Eagles went three and out, again, on the next series.   Tech then took the ball after the punt, and drove down the field with a steady series of passes and runs, but the drive stalled out at the BC 29, and Joey Slye came on to boot the 3 points (leaving a disappointing 4 on the field).   The first quarter ended with Tech winning the possession game by a mile, but only leading by 10 points.

Then these two teams played the oddest five minutes of dizzying weird football of the last several games.  After a trade of stalled drives (note that John Fadule had replaced Troy Flutie as BC quarterback) Tech's AJ Hughes buried a punt on the 5 yard line of BC.  Tech recovered the muffed punt (the ball hit BC's Taj-Amir Torres in the shoulder).  Donavon Reilly grabbed the ball and was ruled down because a muffed punt can't be advanced.   Brewer inexplicably threw an interception on a short fade pass to Bucky Hodges in the right corner of the end zone, and BC got the ball back at their 20.

Then the unexpected occurred, again.  Andrew Motuapuaka ripped the ball out of Jordan Gowins's hands and sprinted 34 yards for a Tech defensive touchdown.  This would also cap Tech's touchdown count for the day (with 11:17 left in the 2nd).

The remainder of the 1st half would be marked as a punting dual with a penalty aided final drive that resulted in a Joey Slye Field goal.

That pretty much ended Virginia Tech's offensive effort for the day.  For whatever reason, Tech just developed no real offensive flow in the 2nd half.  We benefited from a major mistake by the referees when early in the 4th quarter, Travon McMillian fumbled the ball (but was ruled to have had his forward progress stopped).  Tech rarely benefits from such things, and eventually an incomplete pass to Cam Phillips over the middle was called a fumble.  Boston College had earlier in the 3rd, defeated the skunk by executing a respectable but stalled drive and kicking a field goal.  The only real offense generated in the 4th quarter was by Boston College, who marched down the field with John Fadule hitting several nice passes (3 for 60 yards), and making some good run option choices.

That TD almost turned the game on its ear, but the BC offense was just not up to the level enough to take advantage of its defense's stops.  Tech for its part played frustrating "prevent offense" settling for three plays and a punt sort of make no mistakes strategy.

Tech would cap the day and ice the game with a middling field goal on a short field.  The game ended up close than the score would indicate.  Tech won the critical turnover differential, and one more critical statistic.  We scored on defense.  For a look at the major statistics comparisons, take a look at the numbers from Yahoo Sports:

Game Statistics: *

Hokies

Eagles

First Downs

16

14

Passes for First

9

4

Rushes for First

6

5

Penalties for First

1

5

Third Down Efficiency

3-14

1-12

Fourth Down Efficiency

0-1

0-1

Total Yards

275

218

Total Plays

69

56

Avg Gain Per Play

4.0

3.9

Net Yards Rushing

81

75

Rushes

46

35

Yards Per Rush

1.8

2.1

Net Yards Passing

194

143

Comp-Att

16-23

8-21

Yards Per Pass

8.4

6.8

Times Sacked

2

3

Yds Lost To Sacks

-18

-32

Interceptions

1

1

Punts

7

7

Punt Average

0.0

0.0

Penalties

11

6

Penalty Yards

98

48

Fumbles

2

4

Fumbles Lost

1

3

The Not So Skinny

The Hokies walk out of Chestnut Hill with a win.  To call it a vague sort of undefining effort is not an inaccurate observation.   The Hokies dominated the time of possession in the first half, but could not, or would not be aggressive enough to put the game away.

The second half was the polar opposite in many ways.  The Tech offense basically stopped playing football.  The Hokies ran ineffective plays, brought in odd personnel choices, and ran up the middle far too often when runs up the middle were being routinely snuffed for almost no yards.   Virginia Tech basically played the entire second half "Not to Lose".

So, this is a "Not Loss", which is definitely not inspiring, and it certainly isn't what we needed to move us into the bye week with the threat of Carolina looming, and the problems of facing the Flex Option of Georgia Tech.

This was two struggling, incomplete football teams fighting more for dignity and self-respect than for real football achievement.  Boston College was a missed fumble call and another decent drive away from winning this game.   We really need to bear that in mind as we prepare for what looks like a do or die contest against our old nemesis "the other ACC Tech".

It's going to be a long week and a half.

*Sources:

http://sports.yahoo.com/ncaaf/virginia-tech-hokies-boston-college-eagles-201510310010/

Don't ask why the folks at Yahoo don't have an average punt distance listed.  But they might update it so check the link.