Last week, the Virginia Tech Hokies were the darlings of college football. As an unranked team, they were able to travel to Ohio State and beat the number 8 ranked team in the nation soundly. The Hokies played crisp on both sides of the ball and excelled on third down. The result of that win was a ton hype bestowed upon Frank Beamer’s club.
All week, college football pundits gushed about how they could be a dark horse playoff team and probably the second best team in the ACC. They soared in the rankings all the way to 17 in the country. Hopefully, the team and the fans enjoyed the week of goodwill and basking in the glory of the Ohio State win because after a sloppy, mistake prone loss to East Carolina, all of that is over.
The Hokies got behind early and trailed by three touchdowns after one quarter of play. ECU quarterback Shane Carden shredded the Virginia Tech secondary for 427 yards and three touchdowns. He also rushed for the touchdown that would be winning score.
His favorite target was Cam Worthy who burned multiple Hokie cornerbacks, most notably Brandan Facyson on his way to accumulating 224 yards receiving on 6 catches. Bud Foster’s defense simply did not come to play today. They settled down somewhat after the first quarter, racking up 10 consecutive stops. However, they were plagued by penalties including two substitution penalties on the last drive of the game.
Sep 13, 2014; Blacksburg, VA, USA; Virginia Tech Hokies head coach Frank Beamer looks on during warm ups prior to the start of the game against the East Carolina Pirates at Lane Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports
Meanwhile, the Hokie offense was never able to get it going. The offense line, which was so good last week, was abysmal against the Pirates. The line was consistently beaten off the ball and had no answer for ECU defensive lineman Terry Williams who caused chaos and havoc throughout the game.
Quarterback Michael Brewer had two first half interceptions and struggled with his accuracy all day, often throwing behind or overthrowing his receivers. Of course, the Hokie receivers did Brewer no favors as they dropped pass after pass from the Texas Tech transfer.
The first half was a complete disaster for the Hokies from which they were never able to fully recover. The Pirates outgained the Hokies 370-148 took a 14 point lead into the half. Many thought Virginia Tech might come out flat today after the great win last week.
And they did. And the Pirates took advantage. And it still could have worse.
On three consecutive series in the second quarter, ECU was inside the VT 25-yard line but came away with zero points for their efforts.
The Hokies were able to hang around and claw their way back into a game in which they were down 21-0 at one point. They even managed to tie the game at 21 late in the fourth quarter. The game seemed destined for overtime as VT kicked off with less than two minutes remaining.
However, the kick went out of bounds. ECU was then able to run roughshod over a visibly confused VT defense for the game-winning score. The defense helped ECU with multiple substitution penalties and often appearing out of place and confused on coverages.
The Hokies appeared to not be able to move on from the all-time great win over Ohio State last week. They will have to be better at getting past this crushing loss. ACC play opens for the Hokies as they will host Coastal Division foe Georgia Tech next Saturday in Blacksburg. The Virginia Tech defense will come to play from the opening kickoff next week against GT’s vaunted Single Wing offense that can destroy a defense as undisciplined as the one we saw today.
A non-conference loss against ECU is disheartening but the Hokies still have a lot to play for this season. While they will likely drop out of the ranking before next week, a win against the Yellow Jackets would be a great first step towards returning to the ACC Championship Game. They just need a much better effort and execution from the openming snap than they got today.