The Virginia Tech Hokies opened the 2019 college football season on Saturday with an ugly 35-28 loss at Boston College. The loss is tough in many ways, one, it is a conference game and you are already down one in the loss column moving forward. Secondly, Virginia Tech showed some vulnerabilities that we were concerned about all through the offseason.
The Hokies actually jumped out to a 14-7 lead in the second quarter and quarterback Ryan Willis was moving the ball up and down the field with ease. Defensively, things were a bit tougher, as Tech’s pass defense struggled to contain Boston College quarterback Anthony Brown and freshman receiver Zay Flowers.
Then, the turnovers struck. Hezekiah Grimsley fumbled a punt around Tech’s own 40-yard line, giving the Eagles good field position. Willis had an ugly fumble deep in his own territory, too. Then, Willis was picked off in the end zone just before the half, preventing the Hokies from cutting the score to 28-21. Therefore, Tech went into the half down 28-14. It was a comedy of errors that had the Hokies playing from behind.
The second half was much like the first. The Hokies moved the ball well through the air. Then, Willis was picked AGAIN in the end zone, ending another potential scoring opportunity. On the day, Willis completed 29 of 47 passes for 344 yards, four touchdowns, three interceptions and one fumble. Unacceptable.
Defensively, Bud Foster’s group got better in the second half. Boston College scored just once in the second half, sadly for Tech that score put the Eagles up 35-21 late in the fourth quarter. The Hokies did score again with just over two minutes remaining. Inexplicably, the Hokies had a bad onside kick where I am not sure if it was just a horrible kick or a horrible plan. I mean, if your plan was to squib it, why not squib kick it deep down the middle?
Well, Boston College recovered around its own 40-yard line. The Hokies held the Eagles to one yard on the first two plays. There was around two minutes remaining in the game with Boston College facing a third-and-nine. Would BC predictably run it or attempt a play-action pass? Well, they ran and AJ Dillon didn’t just get the nine yards he needed, but a few additional yards for good measure. And, just like that the Hokies fall to 0-1 on the season.
So, just as the defense appeared to have settled in, they allow an embarrassing first-down run where everyone watching knew what was coming.
Not an ideal start and we’ll have more on this game throughout the week.