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The Good, The Bad, The Ugly: Virginia Tech Edition

What went right, what went wrong, and everything in between Vs the Hokies. Plus team grades.

Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Where has that been 'Canes fans?

And can we bottle it up and unleash it every single week?

Yes Virginia Tech is a beat up and struggling squad, especially on offense.

Nonetheless that WAS a impressive team performance. 30-6 is 30-6!  (Nearly the first shut out of VT since 1995)

And what a night for the great Duke Johnson!

The 'Canes are very much alive in the complicated and confusing Coastal.

Let's sum the rest up!

The Good:

  • Way to not let the weather psyche you out 'Canes!

  • This..... is just AWESOME. Welcome to the road show Carter!

  • Great atmosphere as always at Lane Stadium.

As for the game itself:

  • Brad Kaaya's third down completion to Johnson in the first quarter off his back foot, was a stunning pass and a beautiful catch. Two great players teaming up to make a sick play!

  • Great blocking up front by UM's offensive line all night.  True freshman Nick Linder was a beast, ditto Jon Feliciano and the rest of the bigs up front. They destroyed the vaunted (and injury riddled) VT front 7. When you block like that, you get these kind of nights from the omnipotent Duke. Career high 249 yards rushing (unofficially) for Miami's best player.
  • VT's opening series ended when Raphael Kirby and Miami snuffed out a third and short with a well executed run blitz. Their second was stopped on a well time pass blitz that resulted in a sack for Jermaine Grace. Overall much more blitzing tonight and it was effective. Aggression is good!!

  • Dominating 1st Quarter 119-12, in total yards, in favor of UM.  And a great goal line run by Gus Edwards started the second to put Miami up 10-0.
  • Great awareness and poise on the pass by Kaaya to get the ball to Duke just before the half ended on an incredible 22 yard TD with no timeouts remaining to put Miami up 24-0.  That was a dagger. You could hear a pin drop in Lane Stadium after that one.

The Bad:

  • Michael Wyche got some PT at DT, but was unimpressive.
  • Bad play call on 4th and goal at the end of the third quarter, running it right up the middle.  Yes you were up 24-0, but that was a little obvious.

Really not much to complain about tonight folks....

The Ugly:

  • This sums it up.  So much talent still.   He needs to re-find his "mojo."

  • The gobbling noise in the background pre-snap.  Okay, we get it, you're HOKIES!

Again, not much to nitpick......

Team Grades:

Offense -

UM ran the ball down VT's throat. And even on a night when Kaaya didn't appear to have his best stuff, he was still effective. That's the sign of a great player.

There aren't enough superlatives for Duke Johnson.  He leaped, eluded, humiliated and stiff armed defenders all night. Nice night for Gus Edwards (20-115 2 TDs) as well.

Fantastic game for the O line and James Coley too.  Just missed a 99 yeard TD from Kaaya to Phillip Dorsett when PD could not locate the ball, after leaving his man in the dust at the line of scrimmage. Kaaya and PD were just off on a few potential big plays.


Defense -

Grace and Kirby were all over the field, teaming with the always reliable Denzel Perryman to make UM's LB corps look pretty fierce. Anthony Chickillo had his finest game (as a pass rusher especially) in quite some time. Great job by Deon Bush taking the ball away from Marshawn Williams to stymie any potential Hokies' momentum on the opening drive of the second half.

On the second Tech drive, Miami forced another turnover.

They got the second half hat trick when DP forced a third fumble with a HUGE hit.  Great tackling all night by the D.

Overall a successful night for a much maligned D and the key to it all was aggressive play calling and aggressive play.   Did this unit turn the corner?

Can we give a little love to Mark D'Onofrio?     Too soon??


Special Teams -

Great 2nd quarter punt by Justin Vogel backed up the Hokies inside their own 5. And another inside the 10 in the 4th.

Also more solid kicking from Michael Badgley, even with the blocked XP.

A very nice play in kick off coverage by Natambu Fentress also buried VT deep.  Bad coverage to start the final 30 minutes breathed some life into Tech, but another good play by Artie Burns in punt coverage makes up for it.


Coaching -

Even for the Al Golden's harshest critics, give the man credit for enthusiasm and passion.  AG was pumping his fists after big plays, helping officials spot the ball after a short VT punt, and quite ubiquitous all night. And Coley and D'Onofrio had their units prepared with good game plans that they executed near flawlessly. This was a smart and clean performance. Best of the Golden era.

But why in the heck of all that is sane was Duke Johnson in the game so late?  It was a tremendously risky and unnecessary decision. Cost the staff an A+ in my opinion.