The Virginia Tech Hokies (2-3) exorcised some demons in Saturday night’s 38-21 win over the Pittsburgh Panthers. First and foremost, the Hokies finally got a win after three consecutive losses. And it came against a team that has dominated them the last three seasons.
The Hokies returned the favor on Saturday.
Here are five takeaways from Virginia Tech’s win:
This is Kyron Drones’ Team
Can we please end the debate, if there was one, about going back to Grant Wells when he’s healthy? Kyron Drones is Virginia Tech’s quarterback. In Saturday’s win over Pitt, Drones accounted for all five Hokie touchdowns. Drones passed for three touchdowns and rushed for two.
Is Drones perfect? No. But he doesn’t need to be. He’s a young quarterback still learning on the job and what offensive coordinator Tyler Bowen needed to do was build an offense around Drones’ strengths. When you do that, it highlights the player’s strengths, while also limiting things he hasn’t experienced yet.
Moving forward, Hokie fans have something to be excited about in Drones. There’s no guarantee he’ll have that type of performance again, but you know he’s capable. While Pitt is down, the Panthers aren’t an FCS team. Pat Narduzzi’s teams play outstanding defense.
Bhayshul Tuten is VT’s best back since Khalil Herbert
We’ve been waiting for Tuten to break though. He was outstanding in the game at Marshall, but only had nine carries. Against Pitt, Bowen made sure to feature Tuten. Tuten has good size, runs with excellent vision and can break long runs. He’s not afraid to run over defenders, either.
The problem for Tuten has been blocking. Virginia Tech’s offensive line has struggled this season, but could Saturday’s performance be a sign of things to come for Tuten? One thing is certain, having Drones on the field opens things up for Tuten.
Against Pittsburgh, Tuten rushed for 109 yards and also scored his first receiving touchdown for the Hokies. Tuten finished the Pitt game with 28 total touches. That needs to be a focus the rest of the season.
Bravo, Tyler Bowen
Bowen has been heavily criticized throughout his brief tenure with the Hokies. And rightfully so. We’ve also criticized Bowen. On Saturday night, Bowen called his best as an offensive coordinator. Was it the game he wanted to call? Who knows, but he called an offense that catered to the strengths of his players, rather than forcing his system on the players. If Bowen can do that each week, it will go a long way in making Virginia Tech more consistent on offense.
It was cool to see the run as the focus of the offense, but the Hokies also taking shots downfield. Tech has talent at wide receiver, so Bowen needs to ensure that each of VT’s playmakers stay involved. Da’Quan Felton is a mismatch, as his combination of size and speed is rare. Jaylin Lane can make plays all over the field. Let’s also see young tight ends Dae’Quan Wright and Benji Gosnell more involved, too.
We hammer Bowen when we think he deserves it, but he earned praise for Saturday. For Virginia Tech fans, the offensive coordinator has been at fault for everything over the past 25 years. We are joking — sort of.
Phil Jurkovec is Bad
Let’s stop for a moment to understand that two of Brent Pry’s five wins have come over teams quarterbacked by Phil Jurkovec. Last season, Tech blew out Boston College with Jurkovec under center. I am not sure what happened to Jurkovec. He was once a promising player at B.C., but looks to be a shell of that player.
Unfortunately, the Hokies can’t play him every week.
As for Pitt, the Panthers have given the Hokies trouble for years. They are down this year, so are the Hokies — and Virginia Tech took care of business. Outside of the two big plays, Virginia Tech’s defense did an excellent job.
Just enjoy the win
I’ve seen the comments, you’ve seen the comments. “Pitt sucks, that win doesn't matter.” Or, “who cares, they will be lucky to win another game.”
Football games are hard to win. The Hokies took care of business on Saturday, picking up their second win of the season. I think we all know where this team is in terms of relevance. This team has a long ways to go. We know all of this. But a packed Lane Stadium for a 1-3 Virginia Tech team shows how much the fan base still cares. Fans deserve to enjoy the win. We haven’t had many reasons to celebrate lately.
And by celebrating that win doesn’t mean you think everything is ok with the future of the program. But as a fan, just celebrate this win and the players. Next week is next week.