Associated Press- Virginia Tech’s Dadi Nicolas brings Marshall’s Rakeem Cato down by his mask.
Whether it was a tipped pass that eventually turned into a touchdown, Virginia Tech’s backup kicker missing multiple missed field goals (3 if we are being exact), two turnovers that brought the already long game into the first overtime, or a defensive lineman that almost managed to make an acrobatic attempt and failed to land in the end zone for the game-winning score… The Virginia Tech Hokies who are now (3-1) managed to hold off Marshall University (2-2) in Saturday’s long, rain-soaked game.
Jack Tyler of the Hokies spoke with the media after the close 29-21 victory and had this to say: “I feel like my entire time here, all those breaks have gone the other team’s way, it just felt like today they were finally coming our way. It’s nice to finally get a game like that.” Whether or not the Virginia Tech Hokies are cursed like Tyler suggests, putting into consideration that they won three overtime affairs last season, the Hokies’ season may just start to get a little bit brighter for Frank Beamer and crew.
The recently shaky quarterback Logan Thomas managed to hold it together to rack up the game-winning points after he powered his way into the end zone for a two-yard touchdown run in the third and final overtime. The Hokies then followed it up with a short run for a successful two-point conversion. Then on, Thomas sat nervously along with the 60,040 fans in attendance hoping his last minute attempts would be enough.
On Marshall’s last play attempt of the game and facing 4th and 1o, Thundering Herd wide receiver Davonte Allen couldn’t hold onto the wet ball in the corner of the end zone that would have won Marshall the game. The Hokies rushed the field as the buzzer ticked it’s final seconds knowing how questionable their win had been, placing the Hokies with a 3-1 record, their only loss to No. 1 ranked Alabama in the opener.
Although this game could have easily been won in regulation, the inconsistent efforts by the Virginia Tech’s kickers almost cost them the game in many occasions. Backup place kicker Ethan Keyserling (r-Junior) missed wide right on a 32-yard field goal attempt. He later on missed a 50-yard kick in the first OT and another 32-yard chance in the second quarter. The Hokies who are usally pretty solid on special teams looked very shaky and were nonetheless very inconsistent.
Although redshirt Senior Cody Journell is usually the starting kicker, he did not dress for Saturday’s game so Keyserling was called upon to fill the duty for the first time ever in his collegiate career. Virginia Tech’s coach Frank Beamer told media after the game that Journell was suspended for one game after a violation of the team’s rules (no other information has been released). Coach Beamer would not go into further detail of Journell’s suspension.
During Marshall’s possession late in the second overtime, Hokie’s star defensive end J.R. Collins snuck through the Marshall line and sacked quarterback Rakeem Cato who was stripped of the ball in the process. As the ball tumbled in all directions Hokie’s defensive tackle Derrick Hopkins who is roughly 315 pounds almost managed to return the fumble for a touchdown.
On Marshall’s possession in the second overtime, Hokies defensive end J.R. Collins sacked quarterback Rakeem Cato and stripped him of the ball. Defensive tackle Derrick Hopkins — all 311 pounds of him — nearly returned the fumble for a touchdown.
After Hopkins blocked a potential game-winning field goal from 39-yards out attempted by Marshall’s place kicker Justin Haig and Hokies’ cornerback Kyle Fuller blocked a Marshall punt after two minutes in the first quarter, Virginia Tech put themselves ahead 7-0 when lineback Derek DiNardi returned the blocked punt for a touchdown.
Virginia Tech’s defense who has been the most consistent aspect of the team this season held Marshall scoreless the entire second half and all three overtimes, recovering after Marshall’s quarterback Rakeem Cato (19 of 41 for 228 yards, 3 TDs) powered his team down the field for a total of three scoring drives right before half. Hokies’ cornerback Kendall Fuller and safety Kyshoen Jarret both recorded fourth-quarter interceptions that helped force the game into overtime.
Thomas who is following up his worst season to date continued his inconsistent ways, despite his 58 personal rushing yards and three total touchdowns. One point during the game, Thomas (18 of 34 for 181 yards, 3 TDs) had 9 straight incomplete passes, including two intercepted passes. The worst part of it, the Hokies only converted just 2 0f 16 third down chances during the game.
Although Thomas has yet to prove himself this season, he still got the good karma he was looking for. This good karma being a 43-yard run by tailback Trey Edmunds, (122 yards, 22 carries) who has carried the Hokie’s offense on his back this season. This left Marshall leading 21-14 in the fourth quarter.
Facing 4th and goal, and only two plays after Thomas fumbled a snap, Thomas seemed to find Marshall cornerback Darryl Roberts out of the sea of maroon and threw a direct pass to him, but the ball skimmed off his fingers and into the hands of Byrn who ran it in for a six-yard touchdown that tied the score at 21 6:16 left to play in regulation. Byrn later stated that his game-tying catch was “mostly luck.”
The Virginia Tech Hokies face the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets on the road on Thursday, September 26th.
3rd down efficiency
4th down efficiency
Yards per pass
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