For this first time since 2001 the Virginia Tech Hokies hosted a game at Lane Stadium during the month of December. The Hokies were looking to preserve their longest current active bowl streak, which they achieved, defeating Marshall, 41-20.
Rain had been in the Blacksburg forecast, but kickoff to the Marshall Thundering Herd occurred under a blanket of fog. The Hokies got off to a fast start with Ricky Walker strip-sacking Marshall QB, Isaiah Green, on the first play from scrimmage. VT turned the fumble into three points, and then stopped another Marshall drive when Bryce Watts picked off Green, in the endzone. Ryan Willis threw the first of his four first-half touchdowns when he hit Hezekiah Grimsley for a 46-yard score.
The Virginia Tech defense continued to struggle with the run and Thundering Herd RB, Brenden Knox, ripped of a 67-yard run that set up his touchdown a few plays later. They missed the PAT, but the Herd closed to within a single score. Willis and the Virginia Tech passing game were in sync for the entire half, responding to the Knox score by dropping a 45-yard touchdown, to Tre Turner, in the endzone! The second quarter was the Virginia Tech show. Willis threw a seven-yard TD to Steven Peoples, set up by a 54-yard pass and catch from Deshawn McClease. Not wanting Eric Kumah to feel left out, Willis delivered a 32-yard touchdown to the junior from Woodbridge. The Hokies entered the break scoring the most first half points of the season, except for the William and Mary game, and leading 31-6.
The second half started with Virginia Tech receiving the kickoff. Both teams did their part to produce four punts in a row before the Hokies got into field goal range with just under three minutes left in the quarter. Brian Johnson hit the 32-yard kick, putting the Hokies up 34-3. After going scoreless for two quarters, Marshall opened the fourth quarter with a 34-yard touchdown pass to Xavier Gaines. As has been tradition the second half Virginia Tech offense looked conservative and pedestrian The Hokies’ next drive stalled after 14-yards. Marshall put together a 69-yard drive that stagnated at VT’s 16 when Knox was stopped by Tyre Rogers for a three-yard loss on 4th & 1. Virginia Tech then put together a near perfect fourth quarter touchdown drive: nine plays, 84 yards, 4:53 off the clock, and punctuated by a 40-yard run by Jalen Holston. Marshall responded with Brenden Knox getting his second TD of the day. The Herd attempted an onside kick, but it flew out of bounds and the Hokies took over on Marshall’s 41. The Hokies entered victory formation and won 41-20!
- Ryan Willis threw for his third 300+ yard game of the season.
- The Hokie defense continued to struggle in run containment, allowing Brenden Knox 204 yards and 2 touchdowns over 27 carries, for an embarrassing 7.6 yards per carry.
- Tre Turner (Fr.), Hezekiah Grimsley (So.), and Eric Kumah (Jr.) combined for 226 yards and three TDs. Let’s not forget that Hazelton and Patterson are in that mix too. It isn’t that surprising that Sean Savoy elected to transfer.
- There are certainly places to improve, and there were some obvious drops by VT WR’s. One by Grimsley was a sure TD.