With 44 seconds to go in the first game of the year, Logan Thomas led the Virginia Tech offense 49 yards down the field, allowing kicker Cody Journell to send the game into overtime.
Three weeks and three less than spectacular performances by the passing game later, and the Hokies are 3-1.
Since the first overtime game in Lane Stadium, the Hokie's passing game has struggled against both soon-to-be conference team Pittsburgh and Bowling Green. In those games, there have been numerous dropped passes and miscues between Thomas and his receivers.
Quarterback coach Mike O’Cain believes that there isn’t one specific part of the offense that has caused the passing game to take a step back from the Monday night game.
“It’s just been a combination of things, you can’t just say it’s this or that, it’s been a combination of things,” O’Cain said.
After missing the past season and a half, a big addition to the passing game has been redshirt-senior Dyrell Roberts. Roberts had a slow start after getting back on the field against Georgia Tech, catching only two passes for five yards. However, each ensuing week thus far Roberts has increased his receiving yards.
“When we first started off, I had been away from the game for a year and a half with injuries and things like that. So it takes time to really get back into that game shape and be able to go week in and week out and take a beating,” Roberts said.
All of last season Kansas transfer Corey Fuller had two catches totaling 19 yards. Subsequently, without his two catches in the waning seconds of the game against Georgia Tech, the Hokies would not have been in position for Journell to tie the game.
Since that game, Thomas and Fuller have not been able to connect with the same accuracy. In the past three games, Fuller has just two more catches than he had against Georgia Tech and only 20 more reception yards.
Even with the decreasing numbers in the passing game, receiver Dyrell Roberts still thinks that the receivers and Thomas are coming along well.
“We’ve been practicing for a while now and played in a few games so I think our timing is coming into its own. I think he’s understanding us better and we’re understanding him better,” Roberts said.
Red-shirt senior Marcus Davis has clearly been the most effective receiver on the team. Davis has almost 100 more receiving yards than Fuller, the next closest receiver, and is also averaging more yards per reception and receptions per game.
This weekend at FedEx Field should be a perfect opportunity for the Hokies to showcase their ability to pass the ball. Cincinnati is No. 55 in the nation in passing defense, allowing 215 receiving yards per game. Roberts and the receiving corp. are prepared to go to Landover, Md. and execute on all cylinders.
“We’re looking to really come together as an offense and as a team together — defense, offense and special teams. We’re looking to put together a complete game and really focus and go through the season feeling good about ourselves,” Roberts said.