Virginia Tech Football was back in Blacksburg on Saturday with a 27-0 win over FCS opponent Delaware.
The Hokies’ win over Delaware leaves a funny taste in the mouth of Tech fans. On one hand, the defense didn’t allow a single point. They flew to the football all day long and looked long removed from giving up 600 yards just 6 days prior.
On the other hand, the offense was in and out of sync throughout the game. Jackson looked more like a redshirt freshman than he ever did against WVU, and the run game felt non-existent given the competition.
Here we are going to take an in-depth look at how the Hokies performed across the board.
Josh Jackson was the key player for the Hokies in their week one win over West Virginia. In his Lane Stadium debut against an FCS opponent, he seemed to come back down to earth a bit. Jackson’s accuracy was inconsistent throughout, and while his offensive line didn’t give him much of a pocket, he seemed to have an instinct to take off before the play had developed.
Many Hokie fans were worried about Jackson after this performance, but you can’t lay the blame solely at his feet. His offensive line was porous all day, and while his throwing was erratic at times, his receivers dropped a couple of key passes early in the game.
Jackson was pretty conservative, and with this defense playing the way it did, it is hard to blame him. As he did last week, Jackson threw it away or took off at the first sign of trouble. In the future, it will be interesting to see Jackson take a few more shots and stay in the pocket longer when there’s one there.
The running game was non-existent against Delaware. There is just no other way to say it. When you can’t run any better than 2.9 YPC against the FCS team on your schedule there is going to be cause for concern.
McClease, Peoples, and McMillian (or McMillion as commentator Drew Fellios calls him) just were not getting it done. Until the 4th quarter came along, the leading rusher was once again, Josh Jackson. A lot of this was the fault of an offensive line that was failing to open up holes, but against a team like Delaware, less than three yards per carry is not going to cut it.
With that being said, the coaching staff found it worthwhile to put true freshman Jalen Holston in to close it out. His eight carries for 32 yards led the Hokies. Now, this was garbage time, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see more of Holston in the future.
Read our recruiting profile of true freshman Jalen Holston here.
The receivers did all they could against Delaware. The Blue Hen secondary was surprisingly good, but the Hokies still played decently. A couple of early drops by James Clark and Sean Savoy kept Virginia Tech from taking the lead very early on.
Savoy and Cam Phillips were the main targets for Jackson. Phillips is obviously the known commodity, but Savoy has really surprised as a true freshman. It is clear that Savoy has a good on field chemistry with Jackson, and we can expect to continue to see big things from that connection.
This receiving core that started out as a question mark has turned into a strength for the Hokies.
The offensive line is the most glaring weakness for the Hokies. Never was that more evident than on Saturday. The running game, as stated earlier, was non-existent. I think it was mostly bad O-line play combined with a lack of a truly skilled runner. This line is going to have to open some holes if the offense is to be successful.
The pass blocking was slightly better, but Jackson still wasn’t working with a clean pocket very often. Some of the defensive lines in the ACC will eat Jackson alive if that is the level of protection.
There is definitely work to be done on the line, and it may even be time for the coaching staff to revisit the position battles that were taking place in the offseason.
Overall Grade: C
The offense felt like it was running in place for a majority of the game on Saturday. Josh Jackson will be just fine, but if this team doesn’t find a running game, it is going to be hard to beat some of the tougher opponents on the schedule.