The Virginia Tech Hokies prevailed over East Carolina 15-10 on Saturday after a shaky start and a tremendous defensive line. The defensive totals for the night are the main reason why the Hokies (2-1) took the close victory. The defense had 11 tackles for loss and 3 interceptions from a quarterback who had yet to throw a ball this year, which was just enough to get VA Tech past the Pirates (2-1) who had their own offensive struggles to fight through.
Frank Beamer, one of the most winningest coaches in college football and leader of the Hokies had this to say: “Maybe we’re getting more attractive as the year goes along, we’re not pretty right now. We’re playing not too pretty.”
Although it is extremely difficult to judge the performance of the Hokies beforehand after their loss to No. 1 Alabama in their opener after an ugly battle between the Hokies’ defense and the Alabama offense and their blowout win over Championship Subdivsion foe Western Carolina at home, the Hokies played a very shaky game against the Pirates.
Needless to say, the Virginia Tech Hokies will only be able to determine how far they go based off of how good their defensive line is and how much the defense can physically handle.
Virginia Tech held the Pirates to only 204 total yards and they haven’t allowed anyone to record more than 206 yards in a game (206 happened against Alabama) this season so far. The defense was outstanding. There actually isn’t enough words to say about them, they held the struggling offense together after Logan Thomas had another shaky game and the offense failed to come up big where needed. East Carolina breached the end zone just one time after a 75-yard sprint to open the game. The Pirates only had 219 yards for the next 58 minutes.
Freshmen cornerback Brandon Facyson, who had 2 out of the 3 interceptions for the Hokies said “they have a high-tempo offense and they came out here ready to throw the ball, snap, throw the ball, snap. We just adjusted to it really well. It was survive the initial flurry because it won’t happen every single drive of the game.”
After Logan Thomas’ 3-yard touchdown throw to D.J Coles, the Hokies went ahead of the Pirates 13-10 with 4:09 left to play in the third quarter. The Pirates then had a chance for the go-ahead-drive, with 2:04 left and the ball at their own 10. The Hokies defense struck again. The Hokies managed the sack Carden on first down, then star defensive end James Gayle who played through a shoulder injury stopped Carden behind the end zone lines for a safety which sealed the win for Hokies.
“I think even he knew that we weren’t the same front that he had seen the previous two games,” Gayle said. “We were going to get after him. I feel like we were able to take him out of his rhythm.”
Logan Thomas, who has been struggling this season threw for 258 yards against the Pirates along with 2 touchdown passes. Despite Thomas’ struggles, the majority of the offensive struggle came from rushing. The Hokies, who ran for 34 rushed only racked up 53 rushing yards. To add on, the normally reliable kicker Cody Journell missed two field goal attempts and an extra-point in a showing that he considered “probably the worst game I’ve ever played in my whole career.”
However, the offense did have an occasional moment of shine, which would be the performance of sophomore receiver Demitri Knowles, who recorded 8 catches for a total of 99 yards and a touchdown to go along with it. In his first two games, Knowles had four catches.
East Carolina’s Carden said: “We were moving the ball, we just couldn’t finish drives, which is really unfortunate because the defense was playing great.”
The Hokies’ defense stopped East Carolina from having their first 3-0 start to the season since 2008, when the Pirates had upsets over Virginia Tech and West Virginia. East Carolina lost three straight to Virginia Tech and 9 out of 10 regular season meet-ups with ACC opponents since that season.
Yards per pass
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