The Virginia Tech Hokies were close to taking a 14-0 lead over the No. 10 North Carolina Tar Heels in the first half on Friday when third-year running back Keshawn King fumbled deep in UNC territory.
King didn’t receive another carry on Friday night.
Virginia Tech’s defense stopped the Tar Heels shortly after the turnover, and Tech’s offense marched back down the field when Braxton Burmeister found James Mitchell for a touchdown to give the Hokies that 14-0 lead.
So, ultimately, King’s turnover didn’t hurt the Hokies.
Still, on a night when Tech’s offense went to sleep in the second half, those lack of points could have come back to haunt head coach Justin Fuente and the Hokies. On Monday, Fuente met with the press and specifically discussed King.
“What I told him was yeah, I don’t like what happened, but I’m not down on you,” Fuente said, per Michael Niziolek of the Roanoke Times. “You’ve got to keep your head up and get ready to go back in the game.”
Fuente said he didn’t deliberately avoid King another carry in the game, but the plan shifted to Jalen Holston and Raheem Blackshear. King played three more snaps after the fumble.
“I told him he was going to go back in the game, that he wasn’t done for the day and that he was going to need to stay ready, but obviously he was going to have to hold onto the ball,” Fuente said. “And he knows that.”
King may actually be Virginia Tech’s most talented running back, but something always seems to be holding him back. Hopefully, King puts the fumble behind him and finds a way to become a major contributor on this roster moving forward. The Hokies can certainly use King’s game-breaking ability on offense.
Virginia Tech hosts Middle Tennessee on Saturday at Lane Stadium.