Logan Thomas delivered a gutty performance, accounting for 279 total yards while playing through an abdominal strain to lead the Hokies to a 17-10 win over Georgia Tech in Atlanta Thursday night.
“I thought (Thomas) was excellent,” said Frank Beamer, head coach. “I thought his leadership, I thought his throwing, I thought his decision making, I thought being in control. I think he’s a quality, quality quarterback.
“And he’s tough. He’s mentally tough. And physically tough. The way he runs the football, and the way bangs around people. I’m proud of that guy.”
Thomas finished 19-of-25 passing for 221 yards and a touchdown, along with 58 yards and a touchdown on the ground. His 279 yards were three more than Virginia Tech had as a team. Tech’s running backs accounted for minus-one yards on eight carries for the game.
The fifth-year senior injured his abdomen before last week’s game against Marshall and played through the pain for the second week in a row.
“He pulled a little something in his stomach,” Beamer said. “But he fought through that. He was going to play in this game.”
Thomas didn’t throw a single pass during the week, opting instead to rest up for Thursday night, when his injury began to bother him as the game went on.
“I felt fine until towards the end of the second quarter,” he said. “When I kinda started not getting loose because Georgia Tech was doing their thing on offense. And then in the second half, pretty much the whole second half, it was really tight because they had the ball forever.”
Despite his best performance of 2013, Thomas didn’t do it alone. Bud Foster’s defense turned in another outstanding performance, holding Paul Johnson’s spread option offense to 129 yards rushing on the night.
“I mean, we talked about that right before the game,” said senior linebacker Jack Tyler. “Coach Foster kind of put up last year, their scoreboard in the fourth quarter, and I think they had 180 (rushing yards).
“And he said, ‘Whenever you can do that, it’s exactly what you want to do.’ And 130? That’s probably unheard of for that kind of offense. Credit to our defensive staff, they came up with a great plan. Coach Foster, he’s brilliant. He really is. He knows what he’s doing.”
Tech’s defense forced a turnover on Georgia Tech’s first possession of the game. Kyle Fuller jumped over the line of scrimmage and disrupted quarterback Vad Lee’s exchange, forcing a fumble that Brandon Facyson recovered.
“Especially on the road, that’s huge,” Tyler said. “That offense is tough to get minus yards plays, it’s tough to get turnovers, unless they put the ball on the ground. That’s something we were trying to harp on all week, was that we needed to force them into situations like that — just a total team effort tonight.”
Two plays after the turnover, Thomas hit D.J. Coles on an underneath route that Coles took 21 yards for his third score of the year to put the Hokies up 7-0 less than three minutes in.
“It’s always nice to jump on these guys early,” Thomas said. “If you can do that you have a really, really good shot at beating them.”
Tyler and company held strong for pretty much the entire night, as the Yellow Jackets managed just 273 yards of total offense. In five matchups with the Hokies from 2008-2012, Georgia Tech’s spread option offense averaged 273 yards rushing alone.
“It’s a rugged offense, you got to be rugged yourself to play it,” Beamer said. “You’ve got to be very precise. Again, I think it all goes make to mental discipline, and physical.
Facyson, a true freshman cornerback, made an impressive interception late in the first quarter. With Georgia Tech driving in Tech territory, he fell down as DeAndre Smelter ran a curl route, but recovered and made a diving catch to give the Hokies the ball.
Facyson’s four interceptions ties him with Eric Green for the Tech freshman record – and the Hokies are only five games into the season. He also is tied for the national lead in interceptions.
“It’s a great feeling. It’s more than great,” Facyson said. “When I first got here, I just wanted to contribute to the team as much as possible.
“Making the plays that I’m making, and Kendall (Fuller) as well and all the other young guys and the whole team, it’s just a great feeling. You can’t play like you’re a freshman, you’ve got to play like you’re a senior, play like you’re a veteran.”