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Halftime: Virginia Tech Hokies Trail NC State Wolfpack

The punters were the busiest players of the first half.

Virginia Tech v NC State Photo by Lance King/Getty Images

The Virginia Tech Hokies, wrapped in all white uniforms and helmets, invaded Raleigh, NC for the first time since 2010 where the Hokies won, 41-30. The tables have turned in the near decade and a half since the boys from Blacksburg were in town and the No. 24 NC State Wolfpack are relying on their stout defense to cover down for an offense missing their star QB.

Quarterback, Jack Chambers, starting in place of the injured Devin Leary, and the NCST offense took the field after a 25-yard opening kickoff return. The VT defense stonewalled the ‘Pack with a three-and-out. Malachi Thomas got the ball rolling for the Hokies, with two back-to-back five-yard runs. With a new set of downs, the miscues and mistakes took over. Grant Wells was sacked and then the Hokies provided consecutive false starts, ultimately bringing up 2nd and 27. Soon the VT punting squad trotted out and added the third false-start penalty for the drive. The first quarter was largely a defensive struggle with Chambers regularly missing his Wolfpack receivers, Grant Wells doing the same, and the Virginia Tech offense looking bland and beset by the NC State defense. The Wolfpack did spend some time mixing up the QB on the field with freshman MJ Morris taking a few snaps, but the first quarter ended with the score 0-0, five punts, 63-yards combined for both teams, and four of the six drives being three-and-outs.

The second quarter started with a punt from the Hokies, after their first quarter closing three-and-out. The Wolfpack, now featuring MJ Morris at QB, put together the best drive of the night, even converting on a fourth and one, but was eventually stymied by the VT defense when Tisdale collected VT’s second sack of the night. The Wolfpack and Hokies continued to trade punts. NC State looked slightly livelier on offense, resetting the chains a few times, but never pushed into scoring position until the final 75 seconds of the game when the Hokies punted out of their endzone and gave the Wolfpack a short field. After what felt like an eternity of 1:13, the Wolfpack hit the field goal and took the lead, 3-0, to close the half.

Also... not gonna lie... NC State’s black Labrador, Ripken, was the star of the first half.

The Virginia Tech offense was a case study in college football ineptitude. They were dedicated to false starts, earning seven in the first half, going 0-5 on third down conversions, only earning one first down, and accumulating 46 total offensive yards. The play calling can only be described as predictable and vanilla. Defensively the Hokies kept the hobbled Wolfpack offense in check. Between the Hokies defense and the NCST offensive woes, Virginia Tech is still very much in this game, despite the abysmal offensive performance. Let’s hope we see some valid second-half adjustments.

The Hokies receive the ball to start the second half.