clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Blowing out the Boiler: The Virginia Tech Hokies Figure Something Out

The Virginia Tech Hokies take it to the house on every squad for the first time in many a season, with the result being a fun, frustrating, frightening, roller coaster of a football game where the big thrill screaming dive into the barrel roll corkscrew was at the end, not the beginning. It's time to highlight some players and performances.

Fuller and Alexander - Corner and Rover dominating
Fuller and Alexander - Corner and Rover dominating
Michael Hickey/Getty Images

There is always some "Story of the Game".  It's often a sad tale of woe and disappointment complete with scattered excuses, reasons, and rationalizations.  It is not, however, anything of the sort this time.  There have been some in the past, and there might well be other lamentations of opportunities missed, and mistakes made, but this isn't one of them.  Well, it's not one of them completely.  A final score of 51 to 24 in favor of the Virginia Tech Hokies doesn't tell then entire story of the 2015 football contest that lifted Tech to a 2 and 1 record.

The Virginia Tech, Purdue football game, the first ever and not to be repeated until this year's freshmen are saving for their kids' college days,  had to have been the most head scratching, aggravating, inconsistent, and frustrating performance this young season; and that was the first half.  The second half seemed to be an entirely different football game, played by another pair of teams, and by the middle of the 4th quarter had turned a closely contested 24 to 17 (Hokies) game into an absolute rout of 44-17.  Of course ‘Garbage Time' means something to the players who are up trying to make it to the field more often playing harder than most folks ever expect.  Consequently, Purdue put a TD on the board late in the 4th, and so Frank returned the favor, just to maintain the true nature of the defeat for the Boilermakers.  It was almost like Frank had his blood up. Who knew he'd ever allow the team to push past that Beameresque three score differential that in ages past had him shutting down the offense completely?

So instead of going with a detailed blow by blow, iteration of some drive log, let's look at some of the elements that made it such a strange but ultimately wonderful win.

Standout Players:

This game doesn't have one  name on it; but if you were going to pick one specific person who just kept showing up, in play after play, rarely being beaten or committing a major error and then coming up with a turnover to kill a Boilermaker drive it's difficult not to give some serious Hokie Props to Adonis Alexander.  Last week's acrobatic snap roll under a deflected ball was not a fluke.  #DBU has a brand new "IT Player".  Through most of the defensive plays reviewed late last night (Love my DVR!!!) one number kept showing up on the "Hey! Great Play!" comment wagon; 36.

Trevon McMillian - Trey Edmunds:  I was going to do my old Joe Piscopo one word one sentence sports report, but I think that the joke would be lost to the ages.  Trevon and Trey won't.  Because the nostalgia waves started to overwhelm me as I watched them do some serious one cut and go running.   JC Coleman acquitted himself well, with a more than respectable 4.6 yard average, but JC is a different kind of situational back.  McMillan and Edmunds look like, if the Hokie Offensive Coaching Staff is serious, look like the new "Untouchables" (Hokie Greats: Kevin Jones and Lee Suggs).   No we don't have the power blocking yet, but the spark is there.  We'll see.  Here are the significant TB Stat lines for the game:

Player

Rushes

Total Yards

Average

Long

TD

Trey Edmunds

9

72

8.1

35

0

Travon McMillian

9

55

6.6

17

0

J.C. Coleman

10

46

4.6

10

1

Is there a Ford in your future?  There isn't much else to say other than wow.   Isaiah Ford looks like he's building to a breakout career defining season.  Even with Brenden Motley at QB and a completely schizophrenic offensive scheme, Ford just keeps getting open and catching passes.  I am not hot on giving players the #1 (To me if you can play every position all by yourself, you get to be #1 - at least Jim Otto was humble with his ‘00')  but maybe that's really the letter ‘I' because why not remind the folks in the press box that they're going to be saying his name a lot.

Player

Receptions

Total Yards

Average

Long

TD

Isaiah Ford

6

128

21.3

61

0

Really, the entire receiving team got in on the act, and I bet that you can count on your fingers the number of receiving teams with such an odd mix of positions.  Hodges and Malleck at Tight End; Ford and Phillips at wide receiver with Rogers as an H-back...   Or maybe it's Hodges at H-Back, Malleck at H-Back, and Rogers playing whatever he feels good about doing on that play.  If the OC staff can actually put a game plan together that works based on the players' talents and not lead headed coach fantasy, then this mix of Slash players with some quality speedsters will confound most defenses.

That brings to mind the last of the full mentions before the list of honorables.  Where did Sam Rogers come from, and where can we get more?  Sam Rogers has changed the way Virginia Tech looks at the Fullback position.  In ages past, the FB seemed to be one of those salutary big guy running back block for the TB in tight sorts of players who really didn't get used all that often.  Then came this walk-on huge High School Athlete who put his nose down, made the team... and then made an impression.  Rogers is an obvious leader on the field- especially with the loss of Brewer.  Motley really seems to play better and more confidently with Rogers in the lineup with him.  Who wouldn't?  Rogers can catch, he's not TonyG, but someone is going to notice him as an H-Back, somewhere.   He runs like he's channeling John Riggins, and who knew?  He can throw a nice tight spiral for scores when we need it.  The number 45 shows up on the offensive side, like the number 36, and that bodes well for the Hokies; unexpected players stepping up to be counted upon.

There are honorable mentions:  Brenden Motley is learning, he's gaining confidence, and a good measure of respect from his teammates.  He's all Hokie and we always root for hard work.  Sean Huelskamp was thrown into a tough spot covering the Mike position after a year out and a knee repair.  He had some issues that more detailed film study will show, but you can't take away his interception, and you certainly can't take away the fact that by the middle of the 2nd quarter, the defense basically shut down the Purdue offense.  Which brings up the last honorable but not too honorable because of some more of those unfortunate bouts of mistake making... the Defensive line... all of them on the depth chart, managed to recover from some early flubs, and manage a virtual offensive shutdown.

General Good Thing:

BEAMERBALL! Der'Woun Greene rips off an 82 yard kickoff return.  AJ Hughes continues to punt balls to places that net few returns way down the field.  But something surprising happened on the way to a game close, someone got a hint of why Frank calls the Special Teams squad his "Pride and Joy Team", because they reared up and blocked a punt for him, and took it in for a score.  Add to that the defensive touchdown in the 1st quarter, the ball hawking interceptions, and general we'll score on you, anytime any situation mentality, and maybe we haven't seen the last of Frank Beamer's greatest contribution to College football.

Disappointing, Perplexing, and Down Right Frustrating:

Okay, please someone enlighten me as to why players are blamed for Illegal Substitution calls?  Players aren't in charge of substitutions, COACHES ARE! and this coaching staff keeps blowing five yard losses out the door because it can't seem to make appropriate substitutions in the appropriate manner.  It's hard enough to cure a squad of players from making bone headed mistakes, but when the coaches are making mental errors it's downright impossible.

More Coaching Stuff:

Please, for the love of Vince Lombardi, or George Halas, or Hank Stram, would someone please develop an offensive system and game plan that matches the capabilities of the players on the field?  Please!  There were flashes of brilliance mixed into a bewildering flurry of plays that we can't run; plays that were stupid to run; plays that died a death at the line of scrimmage; and pass patterns that didn't seem to match the situation.  Some of this is inexperience on the field, but most of it is an Offensive Coaching Staff that WILL NOT easily and willingly adapt to the talent that it has.  We are heading into the "Parity and Awe" of the ACC.  Some teams aren't nearly as good as the sports media would wish them to be: FSU, Georgia Tech, and Clemson immediately come to the front of the football brain.  We need to stop the nonsense, pick a style that works for the talent, and build game plans based on that reality.  The ACC is winnable for us, this season.  It's not going to happen without an OFFENSE, though.

STOP THE DARNED PENALTIES!!!!

They are killing us!  Enough already!  Enough Said!

So to wrap this up, we'll just let the game wrap stats from Yahoo Sports tell us the numbers story.  I'm not a big numbers guy.  I love the people, the players, and the stories they tell from game to game and season to season.

Team Stats*


VT

Purdue

First Downs

20

9

Total Yards

471

265

Turnovers

1

3

First Downs

20

9

Passes for First

9

3

Rushes for First

11

4

Penalties for First

0

2

Third Down Efficiency

7-16

2-15

Fourth Down Efficiency

0-1

1-4

Total Yards

471

265

Total Plays

82

64

Average Gain Per Play

5.7

4.1

Net Yards Rushing

238

144

Rushes

56

29

Yards Per Rush

4.3

5.0

Net Yards Passing

233

121

Complete-Attempt

16-26

12-35

Yards Per Pass

9.0

3.5

Times Sacked

2

2

Yards Lost To Sacks

17

13

Interceptions

0

2

Punts

5

7

Punt Average

41.6

42.3

Penalties

11

10

Penalty Yards

87

79

Fumbles

5

2

Fumbles Lost

1

1

NEXT UP, the ACC season starts!  No! Wait!  There's one more, er um "warmup" to deal with.  We head to ECU to deliver some payback.   That's another great story.  I can't wait to tell the good version.

*Stats from Yahoo Sports Game Summary:

http://sports.yahoo.com/ncaaf/virginia-tech-hokies-purdue-boilermakers-201509190035/