Saturday, November 25, 2017

14 straight: UVA review

Hokies extend the streak to 14 behind a great defensive performance.

By: Adam Pace
November 25, 2017

(Photo: Virginia Tech Athletics/Dave Knachel)

I’m not going to lie; when I woke yesterday, I really thought the streak was about to end. Virginia Tech entered this game really banged up and had to use a four-play goal line stand to keep from losing three straight. Virginia was coming off a let down against Miami, but at times in that game, Virginia looked really good. Benkert had a hot hand and UVA was a big play offense. Everything just seemed to set up for a let down for the Hokies. But Bud Foster continues to amaze me! This defense was missing four starters and still managed to put on one of its best performance all year. While the offense may have struggled from a scoring standpoint, the controlled the clock and did just enough to get out of Scott Stadium with a victory.

(Photo: Virginia Tech Athletics/Dave Knachel)

Bud Foster the magician

Virginia lived on the deep ball all year and the Hokies were ready for it Friday night. UVA managed just 191 yards of total offense with 186 of those coming through the air. Virginia Tech was dominant in run defense allowing UVA just 5 yards. That broke down to an average of nine inches a carry for the Cavaliers. I’m not sure I can ever remember a better performance against the run than what the Hokies did last night. They completely made UVA one-dimensional and were able to pin their ears back and pressure Benkert time and time again.

I knew at some point this unit would need to make a big play to get the offense rolling and get them in position to put points on the board. Reggie Floyd did just that last night right after halftime. He put a perfect form tackle on the UVA running back, forcing the ball out and the Hokies recovered. Just a few plays later the offense made it count and were able to put six points up, stretching the Hokies lead and making it a little more comfortable.

The last four weeks of the season have been very interesting for this defense. But if there has been one consistent player, it’s been Reggie Floyd. After Divine Deablo went down with an injury early this year, I said Floyd would need to step up. He answered that call big time and has been a strong contender for defensive MVP during the back half of the season. I’m happy for Floyd because he has been doubted his whole career and he has stepped up every time this team needed him too.

If there is someone who deserves a raise this year, it’s Bud Foster. We knew this defense would be good coming into this year but what he’s been able to do the last two weeks with a banged up group is remarkable. I was really worried last night with all of the starters missing, but Foster had a great game plan and made sure his guys were right where they needed to be. The best hire two years ago wasn’t Justin Fuente, it was keeping Bud Foster in Blacksburg.

(Photo: Virginia Tech Athletics/Dave Knachel)

Just enough from the offense

It wasn’t pretty from the offense Friday but it was just enough to get the victory. There were times that they left points on the field and could have put the game away much earlier, but overall I was pleased with the group.

Tech gained 202 yards on the ground and controlled the tempo and clock all night. This group was missing some starters as well but also got two key players back. One of the returnees was Steven Peoples and boy was he a sight for sore eyes. Peoples had a great game and his presence alone just brings something to this offense that has been missing ever since he went down two months ago. With his inside power game and McClease’s speed and shiftiness to accommodate, it really added a one-two rushing punch this offense has been lacking.

Josh Jackson played about like he has all year. He had some good throws and a few bad ones but overall, he did what he needed to do for his team to win. Jackson will really need to work on his deep ball this offseason because if he can start hitting that regularly, than he can take the next step. I’ve been very please with Jackson this year and I think he handled himself really well to only be a freshman.

What’s next?

It’s been a pretty solid season. Considering this team’s youth and injury issues, 9-3 is a very good season. I know at times it was frustrating to watch, but this offense was pretty good this year. With so many young guys there were going to be growing pains, but I thought this group did pretty good and I’m looking forward to the future. Now the Hokies wait a week to find out where they will be playing their bowl game. I am also going to enjoy the week off in the warm weather of the Bahamas! So enjoy 14 straight years and the time off. Let’s Go….

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