Slept On It: Hokies Put It All Together In Blow-Out Win Over Boston College

Reflecting on Virginia Tech's impressive performance against the Eagles.

[Mark Umansky]

A week removed from a frustrating primetime loss to Tennessee, Virginia Tech bounced back in a big way Saturday afternoon and trounced crossover foe Boston College 49-0. Thrashing a team that has lost ten straight ACC games shouldn't be too much cause for celebration. However, the Hokies dominated the Eagles thoroughly in what otherwise could have been a letdown game on the heels of the much-hyped Battle at Bristol. It was almost cathartic.

Players, coaches and fans left Bristol wondering, 'what could have been' if not for the multitude of self-inflicted wounds against the Vols. This last week was filled with constant reminders of Tech's ill-timed penalties and fumbles from fans and media alike; correctable mistakes, but not irreversible

How the Hokies were able to move past the loss was both calming and exciting, assuaging lingering doubts over this team's prospects with an emphatic victory.

Hokie Nation has seen their team win by large margins in the past, including a 48-14 blowout win over BC in 2009. You remember that one. It was the game where the Hokies held the Eagles to two first downs and 28 total yards through three quarters, and limited former minor league pitcher Dave Shinskie to 1 completion in 12 attempts and four — four — yards passing before getting yanked. After the game Frank Beamer said, "We haven't had one like this in a while." Sound familiar? You probably uttered those same words Saturday evening.

For years, fans have openly wondered what a potent offense could accomplish for Tech alongside Bud Foster's defense. On Saturday, they got a glimpse of the possibilities against a big, physical Boston College team.

Against a talented BC defense that finished 2015 ranked first in the nation in total D, the Hokies wore down the Eagles with their pace and consistent execution. Brad Cornelsen's group used a balanced attack to keep the Eagles on their toes, finishing with 223 yards on the ground and 253 through the air.

Jerod Evans' varied skillset was on full display in Lane. Evans mixed in solid gains on the ground with stellar throws en route to tying Bryan Randall's school record for passing touchdowns (5) in a game. Through three games, Evans has showcased his strong arm and solid touch, carving up defenses on short, intermediate and deep throws alike.

His two touchdown throws to Isaiah Ford highlighted just how big of an addition he is to this Hokies team. The delicacy he showed on the fade route was a thing of beauty, the second time in three weeks that the duo has connected on such a play. And while few receivers could have hauled in the 30-yard pass to the back of the end zone, Evans put the ball in the perfect place for Ford to make a play.

Despite a string of talented signal callers in orange and maroon, the Hokies have struggled with consistency on deep balls and fade routes over the years. That's why Evans' performance on Saturday was a welcome sign for Hokies fans. Evans is still developing, but through three games he has shown the talent to make a lot of the throws that Justin Fuente is going to ask of him. His ability to expand the field laterally and downfield will keep defenses from loading the box, providing increased opportunities for the run game.

One of the beneficiaries to a said looser front was Marshawn Williams, who returned from a 2014 ACL tear to cut up the BC defense. A bruising rusher capable of serving as the thunder to Travon McMillian's lightning, Juice wore down the imposing BC defense with punishing inside runs and demoralizing outside scampers.

But the progressive destruction of the Eagles' defense wasn't simply a byproduct of the offense's big day. Bud Foster's unit played one of their more complete games in recent memory, eliminating the back-breaking big plays and long conversions that did them in against Tennessee.

Fuente remarked post-game that the defensive effort really set the tone for the offense's performance, most notably the successful rushing attack against such a stout opponent.

"I think part of it was that Boston College got tired," Fuente said. "I felt like that it was very difficult to run the ball early in the game. It felt like as the game went on their defense was on the field more and it just wore them down."

Mook Reynolds continued his standout play off the edge and in coverage, while Tremaine Edmunds and Andrew Motuapuaka cleaned up some of their uneven play from a week ago to stymie the Eagles attack. The collective played so well that it almost feels unfair to single out specific players on a Hokies unit that now ranks No. 2 nationally in total defense and No. 1 in pass D.

Much of the talk in the immediate aftermath of the win was whether or not Virginia Tech's performance was a sign of things to come. Is this the type of play the Fuente era might be filled with, or was the blowout victory a one-off like in years past?

Boston College's prolonged struggles and offensive deficiencies notwithstanding, putting up 49 unanswered points on a conference opponent is no small feat. The Hokies' ability to wear down and overpower the BC defense through both offensive and defensive success underscores this team's potential. The jury is out on whether or not Saturday's successful union of Fuente's O and Foster's D is an indicator of future results. One thing is for certain though, it's a step in the right direction.

Comments

Haven't felt this good walking out of Lane in ages. We bullied the bullies up front and out-executed with a flair that left us all excited for the next serving. Buckle up boys and girls...

Great piece.

I think the D, despite the gaudy stats, has a lot of ways to improve.

Tremaine looked incredible -- and experience is only going to make him better.

Motu looked more consistently good than he did last year. I think he was out of position multiple times, and that play he got bowled over by Fowles for the first down was cringe-worthy. But he looks like he is growing into the position, and the rest of the defense is definitely playing their roles.

Facyon is definitely coming into form. Aside from the one bust where BC's TE dropped a sure TD pass, he looked to be money. But he still hasn't reached his peak.

Mook -- dat man is Fuller-esque. Aside from one missed tackle in the backfield on the TE (where the help arrived to kill the play anyway), and dropping a sure INT, he was just solid. He's already great, and is only going to get better.

Evans this game definitely quelled my concern that he couldn't connect on the deep ball. He threw some beauties. And his touch on the short & intermediate passes are something I haven't seen at VT before. Dare I say, Montana-esque?

Ford is Ford. He will make a lot of money next year, or (fingers crossed), the year after.

Phillips bounced back nicely, a couple blocking miscues aside. The miss that got Tray-Mac hurt was bad, but I think you have to give the defender a lot of credit on that too - he sniffed that play before the snap, and was near full speed I think before Phillips was allowed to move. On the plus side, he looks really good in space, and made some key plays to extend drives.

RB's -- man, the cupboard is full, and they are all rounding nicely into shape, courtesy of long drives that allow them plenty of touches.

OL -- Teller is doing Teller things, minus bad penalties. Conte looked out of place badly a couple times. Gallo is, at the worst, solid. Chung -- man, love his attitude, but his sense of timing needs improvement. But that lead on Motley's TD? That was awesome. Watching him vault the one defender to go into the endzone to be the first to celebrate w/ Mot was both exhilarating and frightening given his injury history.

This was a very good game for us. Last weekend didn't even show us how good this team could play. But let's not forget how new all this is, and how things looked the first 2 weeks -- I don't think we've seen how bad the team could play either.

There's still a whole lot of room for improvement, and team cohesion. Things very much like they are moving in the right direction now, but, in the immortal words of Winston Wolf:

I think Mook will be a special player before it's all said and done. He looks great in coverage and physical against the run. I feel like he could be the first in what could be a mainstay in Foster's defenses going forward, the Nickelwhip. Outstanding athlete in space with a nose for the football and top notch instincts.

+1 for coining the term 'Nickelwhip'

And one for not going with the term "Nickeback".

Sadly I can't take credit for this as I believe it was on the initial depth chart this year (but if I'm misremembering, I demand full credit be reinstated). I would like to take the oppurtunity to suggest an alternative though, the Fuller Back

EDIT: If you can find the source, source that thing! You're getting credit until you're disproven! By you!

Nickelwhip, I like it. My younger brother calls it the "Money" spot and I think it's going to make Mook plenty. I love seeing how this position can be filled effectively and not just be a placeholder for guys that didn't make it at safety or something.

Way less concerns recruiting for the future of the whip spot now that we can just offer more DBs and tell them we have 5 guys that will start in the secondary, if they can ball. Confidant our strength staff can get it done too.

Agree whole heartedly with everything you said. Couple extra kudos:
Adonis brings some serious attitude/swagger to that secondary.
Ken has had 3 games in a row where he regularly wreaks havoc in opponents backfield (and a lot of missed holding calls against him).

Lastly, the changing of gears in the play calling throughout the game was beautiful. Seemed like every time BC had something figured out, we hit them with something different. The TD to Rogers and to Cunningham were both plays that I said, "wow, great play call, great execution!" And they were both in 3rd Q when we had the chance to play conservative...instead we stepped on their throats and man did it feel good.

I got the impression that the coaches wanted to keep showing different effectiveness from those same formations so that the teams looking at this, to scheme against it, would see a very large number of options they needed to try and plan against.

They were saying, "And when you see this formation, do not forget you also have to have a LB out wide because Rogers does this outstanding wheel route capable of scoring consistently anywhere near the red zone."

The first false start penalty shouldn't have been on Teller alone. I counted two other linemen along with him who moved at the same time.

That one play the only people that didn't move were the center and the QB.

I believe Burnop gave it to Nijman before the official call.

"I'll put a quote here to distract you from my inane comment."-Me

Question is how has Offensive staff had one spring, pre-season and 2 games going in to the BC game and gotten the O operating at a level far higher than we've seen in years.
Ground game, passing, explosive plays. Hoping French can 'splain.

'Its easy to grin, when your ship comes in, and you've got the stock market beat,
but the man worthwhile, is the man who can smile, when his shorts are too tight in the seat'

For one thing, they aren't practicing lining up in seven different formations for every game. Multiple plays out of one formation versus 1 of 2 plays out a formation.

And with several different types of motion calls for each formation, to confuse the defense.

Pretty easy to explain, no ocainstineloefflerspring shenanigans.

I can imagine no more rewarding a career. And any man who may be asked in this century what he did to make his life worthwhile, I think can respond with a good deal of pride and satisfaction:
“I served in the United States Navy"

KCCO

Simple design executed well beats poorly-executed complex design.

It probably helps that BC is not very good - while their D was top notch last year with a lot of returning players, they have a new DC, a new OC, new QB, etc.

While VT looked really good, two days removed from the high I think that this thing snow-balled for us after penalty on the kick return. Wheels just fell off for BC - if we can put together a similar game this week against ECU then maybe we have captured something special a few months early - let's hope.

Good game and another big test coming against pass-happy ECU. We owe them a bruising.

Play ball!

Guess who has the top passing defense in the FBS?

a Hokies unit that now ranks No. 2 nationally in total defense and No. 1 in pass D.

I'll feel a lot better about this if it's still true after ECU. Then I'll really feel like this dream is real.

If you're reading the above post and thinking, "is this guy serious?!?," you can safely assume I'm not.

The key word in the first sentence is "primetime" relative to the disappointing loss to Tennessee. Our game against BC was not televised (except for ESPN U subscribers). This seems to be an on-going theme for us. If its a highly visible game, we tank. If we are shoved off to some obscure TV venue, we shine.

Those instances where we shine like this have been few and far between the past few years. Positive steps regardless.

VT Class of '12 (MSE), MVBone, Go Hokies!

Our game against BC was not televised (except for ESPN U subscribers).

Fundamentally, I get what you're saying, but you're saying it wrong.

ESPNU is a full fledged cable channel. Yes, it is the lowest man on the ESPN totem pole that is still on TV, and it doesn't get on as many cable packages as ESPN 1 or 2, but it's not that exclusive of a channel.

You might as well have said that any of our games on any ESPN channel aren't televised, except for cable subscribers.

I watched the game in San Francisco on ESPNU. So when you say people cant watch us, that's not entirely true. (As far as last weekend goes).

It is a natural gift I posess to create friction in sensitive situations.

HTHokie93

I get why the players were worked up for a special game like Bristol. However, any other time I don't think they really care or know how many people are watching on tv.

"with all due respect, and remember I’m sayin’ it with all due respect, that idea ain’t worth a velvet painting of a whale and a dolphin gettin’ it on" - Ricky Bobby

" It felt like as the game went on their defensive was on the field more and it just wore them down"

...now where the hell have I heard that before?

almost cathartic

assuaging lingering doubts

progressive destruction

Saturday's successful union

You have a way with words...

via GIPHY

Pain is Temporary
Chicks Dig Scars
Glory is Forever
Let's Go Hokies!!

Marshawn Williams, who returned from a 2014 ACL tear to cut up the BC defense. A bruising rusher capable of serving as the thunder to Travon McMillian's lightning

Psh, thunder and lightning.

MORE LIKE WE GONNA BE SERVING UP SOME DRAGON JUICE!!!!

Let's Go

HOKIES

Everything was so well executed Saturday. Defense looked locked down
and nice ball security, etc. It's great seeing Evans play so well.

Probably a stupid question but here goes. On TV every time they showed Foster, two big guys were standing behin him holding up what appeared to be white blank poster board. They adjusted their position every time that Foster moved...up/down, sideways etc. What is that?

They stand there to protect the Sun from Bud's intense radiation.

'Its easy to grin, when your ship comes in, and you've got the stock market beat,
but the man worthwhile, is the man who can smile, when his shorts are too tight in the seat'

I assumed so it was so the defense could better see his signals. Better to be against a white background than a bunch of bodies.

could very well be...

'Its easy to grin, when your ship comes in, and you've got the stock market beat,
but the man worthwhile, is the man who can smile, when his shorts are too tight in the seat'

2 guesses, 1) it's easier for the team to find him for play calls. 2) so that lefty couldn't see the hand motions he was giving from the sidelines.

“I turned down 12 other opportunities. You know what I mean?” - Fuente

Both

"look at this...this is beautiful, these people are losing their minds" -Mike Patrick

During the broadcast, they put up a graphic of the four top quarterbacks in the ACC and one commentator said he thought Evans should be the next in that graphic. I'm not saying Evans is a first round draft pick, but I am incredibly pleased by his transition to D1 football. He has shown poise, decent accuracy, and great decision making as far as I can tell. His one interception so far wasn't really his fault and while I wouldn't want to always throw a deep ball to Ford in double coverage, it is Ford back there so go nuts I guess.

Ramping up to the season a common sentiment was if we can get decent quarterback play, we could have a really good season. Personal definitions of really good season aside, I think our quarterback play is going to be solid and I am looking forward to the rest of the season.

Post game interview about that pass was funny. He explained why he made the pass, but the situation changed as soon as the pass was made and he thought, " oh, I shouldn't hVe done that. I'm going to hear about it tomorrow." But Ford made the play anyway.

Ford said, "I'm just here to make our QB look good and I've been hassling him to pass it to me so, I had to make the catch."

It was an outstanding interview.

The Tennessee loss followed by this game is the best thing that could've happened to this team IMO. If nothing else it proved that if you buy into the process this is what can happen and if you limp dick your way through practice you will perform the same way.

"Sure, I've been called a xenophobe, but the truth is, I'm not. I honestly just feel that America is the best country and the other countries aren't as good. That used to be called patriotism." Kenny Powers

Preach!

Execution and consistency are the key words. I wanna see how the team is doing in 6 games. I think it's better if the coaches approach this thing with need to improve steadily each week.

I think we need a signature win (Notre Dame) and win some quality acc games ( Miami, Unc, Pitt, etc) and win the games we are supposed to win.

Most of us had a 9 win season and I think we are right about there, let's hope for 10

Hokies, Local Soccer, AFC Ajax, Ravens

discussion surrounding Tennessee now includes "if VT held onto the ball" they may have had a loss.

___

-What we do is, if we need that extra push, you know what we do? -Put it up to fully dipped? -Fully dipped. Exactly. It's dork magic.

My fear is that by the end of the season we'll be hearing "if it weren't for that ugly loss to a 8-4 Tennessee, VT would be a shoe-in for the playoffs"

Warning: this post occasionally contains strong language (which may be unsuitable for children), unusual humor (which may be unsuitable for adults), and advanced mathematics (which may be unsuitable for liberal-arts majors)..

I said it was a fear as in the near impossible happens and we run the table only to be pushed aside because of the UT game. Going full LOLUVa would be to claim that this is a certainty...

Warning: this post occasionally contains strong language (which may be unsuitable for children), unusual humor (which may be unsuitable for adults), and advanced mathematics (which may be unsuitable for liberal-arts majors)..

While I hope that we run the table, this comment is such a downer.

If we get to that point (spoiler: we won't), it means we have beaten Clemson, FSU, or UofL in the title game

Don't think that Tennessee game would be too much a stain on our resume... though, a part of me absolutely loves the thought that a loss against an SEC team (let alone one who had legitimate playoff hype to start the year) could be reason enough to leave someone out of the playoff...

Don't let this comment take away from the fact that Arkansas blew a 24 point 2nd half lead in the Belk Bowl.
Don't let the Belk Bowl take away from the fact that Matt Ryan blew a 25 point 2nd half lead in the Super Bowl.

Whatever Ohio State lost to barely-a-bowl-team two years ago and won the playoff.

If VT ran the table, that would likely mean they beat an undefeated Atlantic team (I presume Louisville) in the ACCCG that was projected to make the playoff. It would be really hard to leave a 12-1 ACC champion out of the playoff this year, even if that teams started the year unranked.

I'm going to leg this, but...

Don't let this comment take away from the fact that Arkansas blew a 24 point 2nd half lead in the Belk Bowl.
Don't let the Belk Bowl take away from the fact that Matt Ryan blew a 25 point 2nd half lead in the Super Bowl.

Didn't know where to put this, so this seems like a good spot.

A couple of stats on fumbles in NCAA through 3 weeks... VT has 10 fumbles, with 9 lost. UT has 11 fumbles, but only 1 lost.

That, as much as anything I've seen, explains why one team is 3-0 and the other 2-1. Especially, when you consider UT recovered 1 of those in the EZ for the win vs App St.

Virginian by Birth, Hokie by Choice

For the first time in a long time I'm completely excited to watch another Virginia Tech football game. The past few years' Saturdays have been met with anxiety and consternation, knowing that we could win each game but realistically I'd waste four hours on the couch. I'm little upset that I made plans to hang out with my aunt and uncle this coming weekend and I'm supposed to work the weekend of the UNC game. I really want to see what Cornfostente can whip up each week from here on out.