The Virginia Tech Hokies improved to 3-1 on Saturday with an impressive 40-14 win over the Boston College Eagles in Blacksburg.
Boston College received the ball first and was driving deep into Virginia Tech territory when Divine Deablo appeared to have forced a fumble, which the Hokies recovered and never looked back.
Hendon Hooker started his first game of the season at quarterback for the Hokies and had one of the better performances of his career. Hooker completed 11 of 15 passes for 111 yards and a score, while rushing for 164 yards and three touchdowns.
Overall, it was another outstanding performance for Virginia Tech on offense. Here are our five top takeaways from the win.
Hooker was flawless
I am sure coaches will find a way to nitpick part of Hooker’s performance on Saturday night. After all, no one is perfect. But the 6-foot-4 junior from Greensboro had another efficient evening under center for the Hokies.
Hooker is a different runner than Braxton Burmeister. He is stronger, more physical and probably faster in the open field. Burmeister has the edge in quickness. However, what separates Hooker is his ability as a passer.
He isn’t afraid to drop back on 3rd-and-10 and rifle a 30-yard completion to Tayvion Robinson on a post pattern. Or, move around the pocket and find James Mitchell in the open field for a big gain.
This offense with Hooker is dangerous. If everyone can stay relatively healthy this season, the Hokies will be talked about as having one of college football’s elite offensive units.
Khalil Herbert goes off.....AGAIN
Another week, another outstanding performance from Herbert. The Kansas transfer carried the ball 18 times for 143 yards, for an average of almost eight yards per attempt. He also caught one pass for a 29-yard touchdown.
Herbert also chipped in with 51 return yards.
So, in total, that’s 223 all-purpose yards for Herbert in the win over Boston College. He leads the nation with 739 all-purpose yards and also is tops in the country, averaging 246 all-purpose yards per game. And, by a wide margin.
Herbert was fantastic, as usual.
We also saw Raheem Blackshear show why everyone is so high on him with a nice touchdown run in the second half. Blackshear showed patience, vision and quickness when he bounced it outside in a score that put the game away.
That makes for a pretty good backfield.
This offensive line is ridiculous
There’s no doubt that this is the most talented Virginia Tech backfield in a decade. However, the group blocking for these backs are pretty special in their own right.
Left tackle Christian Darrisaw, Lecitus Smith, Brock Hoffman, Doug Nester, Silas Dzansi, Bryan Hudson and Luke Tenuta comprise a group that is not only talented, but massive, strong and nasty. While Tenuta missed the game, Virginia Tech’s offensive line did not miss a beat.
Darrisaw is looking like a surefire first-round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. The junior from Maryland was lightly recruited and plays with a chip on his shoulder on every play. Darrisaw is a nasty run defender, who is equally adept in pass protection. Where he separates himself is the way he blocks downfield. He finishes every block and is a coach’s dream.
This is Darrisaw in last week’s game at North Carolina. I counted at least three big gains last night where Darrisaw was downfield springing a big play.
Easy to see why @dpbrugler is hearing 1st Round buzz from VaTech OT Christian Darrisaw.— Ben Fennell (@BenFennell_NFL) October 11, 2020
Massive, mauling OT with good quickness/balance - big but not sloppy
I think Chazz Surratt will be seeing him in his nightmares. Darrisaw did some good work on 2nd/3rd levels in loss vs UNC pic.twitter.com/qk7Sk94XLG
Turnovers saved the day
It wasn’t the best start for Justin Hamilton’s defense. BC’s first two drives were deep into Virginia Tech territory before the Hokies were bailed out with a turnover.
Yes, we can look at this two ways: One, the Hokies did force the turnover on a team that had done a good job of taking care of the ball in its first four games. However, we can also look at it from the perspective that this defense has numerous holes and some guys aren’t playing up to their individual potential.
As the game settled, so did the defense. After all, the group did only allow 14 points. The Hokies stalled Boston College’s running game after some early success. The Eagles finished with 113 yards on the ground, averaging just 3.6 yards per attempt.
The Hokies did do a good job limiting Zay Flowers and Hunter Long. Flowers did have seven receptions for 57 yards, but he did not have one big play against the Hokies. It is the first time this season he has not made a major impact for the Eagles.
Long caught four passes for 53 yards and a score. One of which was a touchdown, but he came into the game with 31 receptions. The Hokies did a nice job adjusting to Long in the second half.
The attention focused on Flowers and Long did allow Ohio State transfer Jaelen Gill to have 104 yards and a touchdown. The Hokies will take that every time as Flowers and Long did not beat them.
Devin Taylor and Brion Murray were both very good in this game for the Hokies.
Deablo makes a difference
The senior from Winston-Salem missed the two previous games and the secondary struggled. The unit had some issues early with zone coverage, but improved throughout the game.
The presence of Deablo was a major reason why for the Hokies.
Deablo finished the game with five tackles, including one for loss and a forced fumble. Tackling was much better at the point-of-attack with Deablo back in there as well. You did not see nearly the amount of missed tackles as you did in the UNC loss.
The Hokies head to Winston-Salem next week to face a good Wake Forest offense. The Hokies hope to have a full secondary for the first time all season.