What can I say about this game? The defense was once again phenomenal against the run. They let their opponents have their obligatory one touchdown. However, they pummeled the run game of a team already struggling in that department. The offense moved the ball well and racked up points quick in the first half, but struggled in the second half only to score once. The special teams story continues to get weirder as Danny Coale came in to punt.
Tech's performance in this 30-10 victory over the Thundering Herd cannot truly reflect on how they might do next week as they open up conference play against the red hot Clemson Tigers. The Hokies got a win in a game where it never was in question. There were some good plays, some bad plays, and definitely some ugly plays.
The game began in good fashion. If I were MadJay, I'd say the third play from scrimmage was one of the 3 key plays in this game. Jayron Hosley was burned on an out that allowed Rakeem Cato to hit Aaron Dobson for a 32 yard pass. However, Hosley closed the gap and punched the ball free from behind. He was able to recover the fumble. The catch would have put the Herd in scoring position and instead gave the Hokies the ball. They would end up not capitalizing, but this was just the first in a series of plays that resulted in Tech's favor. I'm going to talk about this play some more when I preview this weekend's game against Clemson.
The Hokies quickly racked up touchdowns on the ground in three of their first four possessions. By early in the second quarter, the Hokies had racked up 20 points and looked as if they were going to run away with it. The Hokies skirted another dangerous momentum changing moment on the PAT for the second touchdown. The PAT was blocked and nearly run back for the 2-point conversion, but was tackled at the fifteen.
David Wilson was able to rack up yards early and finished with 132 yards and 1 touchdown. Josh Oglesby had his fair share of carries and had 75 yards and two touchdowns. Logan Thomas went 22 for 33 for 229 yards and a rushing touchdown.
One thing, I am very happy about on offense is the great mix of play calling. It's super refreshing to see an offense do what works and stick with it. One must wonder whether missing Jarrett Boykin and Dyrell Roberts had much of an impact on Thomas's target selection. His main target has been Coale and this weekend's game was no different. He hit Coale for 107 yards on 7 receptions. D.J. Coles had 66 yards on 8 receptions. Outside of that, he hit 6 other receivers including Eric Martin and Chris Drager. I for one welcome the return of productive tight ends.
Special teams struggles continued in this game. Scott Demler was able to hit his first punt for 51 yards. But when his second barely cleared 25 yards, Beamer made the change. But not the change one would have expected. At some point, the Hokies will need to test freshman Michael Branthover. However, true to the depth chart, Beamer put in Danny Coale at punter. He didn't fair all that well, but at least Beamer is acknowledging there's a problem. Another area in which I wouldn't expect to see problems, Justin Myer struggled with the kickoff. There was only one touchback, and many balls that were low line-drives that didn't go very far through the air. One of which landed at the 25-yard line before bouncing its way further.
While Marshall struggled (and I mean struggled badly) in the run game, Cato was able to find open receivers. As Tech opens ACC play against a juggernaut through the air, I fear that the defense will not be up to the challenge. All Clemson has to do is look at the Marshall 38 second touchdown and all the breakdown in coverage especially to last play. Deitrick Bonner let Dobson slip behind him and there was no safety help over the top. Dabo Swinney and Chad Morris need only to look at this drive to see how to move the ball. But I'm getting ahead of myself.
The game was clearly a game of an oversized, faster, more athletic team wearing down their opponent. However, in doing so they failed to do what is truly important in games like this. That is, they failed to show improvement.