Virginia Tech was down 23 players and four coaches entering its season-opener against the North Carolina State Wolfpack on Saturday. It didn’t matter as the Hokies throttled the Wolfpack 45-24 in Blacksburg to begin the season 1-0.
Braxton Burmeister got the start at quarterback for the Hokies as Hendon Hooker wasn’t released from quarantine until late in the week. Burmeister played well, completing seven of 11 passes for 106 yards and rushed for 46 yards.
Burmeister helped the Hokies get out to a big lead early but injured his hand in the second quarter. That brought Quincy Patterson into the game.
Patterson picked up where Burmeister left off. He had two touchdown passes to James Mitchell and Tayvion Robinson. Patterson completed four of six passes for 75 yards and two scores. He also rushed for 47 yards and another touchdown.
Speaking of the running game, Khalil Herbert had quite the debut. The Kansas transfer rushed for 104 yards and a touchdown on just six attempts. He also finished with two receptions for 46 yards.
The Virginia Tech defense, which was without coordinator Justin Hamilton, did just fine. Hamilton missed his debut, presumably due to COVID-19, and new defensive backs coach Ryan Smith took over.
The Hokies picked off two passes and finished the game with seven sacks. The Wolfpack’s vaunted running game was held to an average of just 3.3 yards per attempt.
Overall, the Hokies rushed 314 yards and three touchdowns. The passing game was efficient, too.
It was quite the coaching job from Justin Fuente. All college football teams are dealing with a lot this season, but Fuente was down 23 players and four coaches and the Hokies blew out a quality opponent.
He deserves props.
The Hokies head to Duke for a 4 p.m. kickoff next Saturday.