Virginia Tech’s 17-10 win over the previously-undefeated Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets Thursday night reinforced what many already knew about the Hokies.
The defense is among the nation’s best, the offense has potential and the special teams is continuing to be a liability.
Marathon, not a sprint
Tech's offense has been notoriously slow to get going recently.
Dating back to last year’s Russell Athletic Bowl against Rutgers, the Hokies have totaled three yards on their opening four drives.
Saturday, however, was a change of pace.
After recovering a fumble on the Yellow Jackets' opening possession, the Hokies found themselves in perfect position to strike first.
On Tech's second play, quarterback Logan Thomas found receiver D.J. Coles on a short crossing pattern. Coles, with room to run, scampered across the goal line for a touchdown.
“It’s always nice to jump on (Georgia Tech) early,” Thomas said.
He noted that offensive coordinator Scot Loeffler had a “gut feeling” during the pregame meal that that particular play would result in a touchdown.
“If you can do that, you have a really, really good shot at beating them because of how well they run the football,” Thomas said.
The quick score marked the first time in 11 months that the Hokies have scored a touchdown on their first offensive possession.
“It was huge. I mean, it just gave us momentum early,” said wide receiver Willie Byrn. “It kind of shut the crowd up. They came out pretty loud so it was definitely big. We turned the next drive into points too so we were really feeling it.”
After Thomas powered his way into the endzone early in the second quarter, giving the Hokies a 14-0 lead, the offense came to a standstill.
“We dominated those first two series and then, as soon as they stopped us, we kind of caught our breath and got brought back to earth a little bit,” Byrn said. “I think we have to take the punches a little bit and know if one series goes awry, we’ll make plans for the next one.”
The Hokies recorded just seven first downs after the 7:16 mark in the second quarter, one of which came from a Georgia Tech penalty.
Tech also didn’t convert on any of their seven third-down opportunities after the second touchdown.
After finding the endzone twice in the opening 19 minutes of play, they failed to do so for the remainder of the game. They had to settle for two field goal attempts, and a miss on one of those left the game very much up in the air.
While the start was undoubtedly better for Virginia Tech than any in recent memory, the offense’s failure to keep that momentum going throughout — scoring just three points in the final 40-plus minutes of play — turned what looked to be an early blowout into a nail-biter.
Excelling through pain
It may be an old refrain at Tech but, as Logan Thomas goes, this offense goes.
The statement held true on Saturday as Thomas completed 76 percent of his passes, including his first nine, for 221 yards and a touchdown.
"Me and Lefty (offensive coordinator Scot Loeffler) talked about it, and I knew we were going to start throwing it early and often and getting whatever we can,” Thomas said. “I was just seeing the field well, just took what they gave me."
Despite playing through an abdominal strain, an injury he sustained before the Marshall game, Thomas put up his best numbers of the season.