The Hokies once again found themselves working against themselves. After a stalled drive, Michael Branthover shanked the punt in what can only be accounted for as a freshman mistake. The Eagles took advantage and scored from the 35-yard line in three plays. Thankfully, the defense stood up and did not allow another point until the fourth quarter.
In fact, the defense did not allow a drive for longer than 47 yards causing six punts in a row including two three and outs. The 47 yard drive resulted in an interception by Tariq Edwards. In short, the defense ran a clinic. The Hokies had another game where they held the opponent to few than 100 yards rushing. Chase Rettig managed 13 of 30 for 181 yards but really most of that came on the first and second to last drives -- the two scoring drives.
Offensively, the Hokies came out sluggish. Two straight three and outs, two field goal kicks and three other drives that led to punts, the Hokies found themselves down 7-6 at the half. David Wilson had just 3 catches for short yardage and only six carries for 19 yards.
Coming off the field at the end of the first half, Wilson knew he had to have more carries to get the team going. "Let's run the ball," Wilson recalls saying to running backs coach Shane Beamer.
And run they did. Wilson carried the ball 11 times in the second half including three of the five plays on Tech's first touchdown drive. Wilson gained 50 of the 60 yards on the drive on his way to another 100+ yard game.
The run in the second half also opened up the passing game. Logan Thomas completed 11 of 24 for 153 yards in the first half, but throughout that half, the Hokies failed to make the end zone.
Conversely, Thomas completed the same number of passes 11 on just 12 throws in the second half. He'd throw for another 115 yards but the difference was the Hokies made the end zone three times in the half.
The Hokie offense is dangerously becoming a second half team. The defense has been able to hold down some of the lesser opponents to keep things manageable through the early parts of the game. With stronger teams, and some road tests ahead for the Hokies, the offense will have to get in gear earlier to put some of these games away sooner.