Nothing has come easy for the Virginia Tech football team in 2023. Offense, defense, special teams, you name it, it hasn’t been easy. That trend continued in Saturday’s 24-17 loss to Marshall on the road.
Things started out well for the Hokies, driving the length of the field on the game’s first possession to take a 7-0 lead with 62 of the 75 yards of the drive coming on the ground. After that? Well, let’s say the Thundering Hurd were the more “discipline” team and that ended up being the difference. Just look at what Marshall’s coach, Charles Huff, had to say following the game.
“Discipline,” said Huff. “We told them it was going to come down to discipline and the more disciplined team was going to win. When we say ‘discipline,’ everybody thinks of penalties, but it’s everything. It’s penalties, it’s turnovers, it’s missed opportunities, missed tackles, missed fits.”
Virginia Tech has lacked “discipline” through the first four weeks
Huff is right, his team was more disciplined and they won the game. Through the first four weeks, Virginia Tech has been far from a disciplined team. You can make the case against Old Dominion in their season-opening win, they were not disciplined the whole game. The difference was three second-half turnovers they forced on the Monarchs.
Saturday, they were called for nine penalties for 90 yards, compared to just three penalties on the Thundering Hurd. A lot of those penalties were on the defensive side of the ball, pre-snap ones by being offside. That can’t happen, especially on the road. The biggest penalty on the offense happened on the game’s final drive and it was a big one.
They faced a 4th-and-1 with 47 seconds left in the game and were called for a false start, which put them in a 4th-and-6 hole. After a timeout, quarterback Kyrn Drones threw an incomplete pass that forced a turnover on downs and ended the game. I don’t need to tell you the difference between one yard and six.
Another area where the Thundering Hurd had more “discipline” was with opportunities where they cashed in more than the Hokies. Leading 7-0 in the first quarter, Virginia Tech got an interception from Keli Lawson near midfield and had an opportunity to go up by two scores early, but turned the ball over on downs on 4th-and-3 when Drones threw a pass into triple coverage that fell incomplete.
Penalties, turnovers, missed opportunities, you name it, the Hokies are lacking it through the first four weeks. Unless something changes, it’s going to continue to happen and the 2023 season is quickly spiraling out of control. Even though he was not directly calling out the Hokies, he summed up the difference between the two teams Saturday and the difference between Virginia Tech and their opponents in their three losses.