Oct 23, 2014; Blacksburg, VA, USA; Miami Hurricanes head coach Al Golden with Virginia Tech Hokies head coach Frank Beamer after the game. The Hurricanes defeated the Hokies 30-6 at Lane Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
Once upon a time, the Hokies were a team to be reckoned with in Thursday nights on ESPN. The last few seasons have eaten away at that legacy but tonight’s game against Miami may have been the final nail in the coffin. Virginia Tech got beat in all three phases of the game on a night when even the lopsided final score was not indicative of how out the hand the game really was.
Miami was led by running back Duke Johnson who rushed for 249 yards on 29 carries. He made it into the end zone twice, once on the ground and once in the air. Teammate Gus Edwards added 115 rushing yards on 20 carries. Miami blew the Hokies off the ball every play and created cavernous running lanes for their speed backs. Bud Foster and the Virginia Tech defense simply had no answer for Hurricanes ground game. It was the first time two different backs gained over 100 yards on the ground against the Hokies in two decades.
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The game got off to a rocky start for VT and only got worse. The Hokies played very poorly in the first half amassing only 36 yards of offense and a measly two first downs. Despite having freshman Marshawn Williams back at starting tailback, the Hokies had minus-13 yards rushing through the first two quarters. However, Virginia Tech came in the second half energized and eager to get the sellout crowd back in the game. Fumbles on VT’s first two possessions in the third quarter deflated any hope for a comeback and sent that crowd headed for the exits.
The three losses at home this season are the most in over twenty years. Their third conference loss of the season virtually eliminates them from a chance at the coastal division crown. It is the first time the Hokies have started a season 1-3 in the conference schedule since joining the ACC. But the Hokies can still have a winning season by playing well the next few weeks, getting bowl eligible, and then winning their bowl game.
The schedule for Virginia Tech does not get much easier going forward. The Hokies will face Boston Collage at home before traveling to Durham to play the division leading 6-1 Duke Blue Devils. Hopefully, the Hokies will be able to get back to the winning form that allowed the same team that got trounced tonight by the Hurricanes to beat Ohio State on the road. Only time will tell, but the Hokies will need to make serious adjustments on both sides of the ball if they hope to make a bowl game for the 23rd straight year.