It was not the way that the Virginia Tech football team wanted to send out their seniors on Saturday afternoon. North Carolina State jumped out to a 35-14 lead in the third quarter and held off a fourth-quarter Hokies rally for a 35-28 victory to improve to 8-3.
With the loss, the Hokies fall to 5-6 and now must win next Saturday’s game at Virginia to become bowl-eligible in 2023. Following the game, Virginia Tech coach Brent Pry spoke to the media, and here is what they had to say, with a comment and opinion on the quotes.
What did Brent Pry say after the Hokies loss to NC State?
Pry spoke about the Hokies first-half struggles against the Wolfpack.
"“We didn’t play well enough in the first half, particularly on defense. We got behind far too much. I’m proud of the way the guys continued to fight and battle … resilient effort. We’ve got to do some things better as coaches and players. The first part of the game, they were able to control the ball and kept us off balance defensively.”"
He’s right, NC State dominated ball control in the first half, but to the Hokies’ credit, they battled in the second half and made things very interesting, but just ran out of time. The slow start cost Virginia Tech and three second-quarter touchdowns by the visitors, including the final one with 18 seconds left in the half, and then NC State used up nearly six minutes on the clock to begin the second half scoring on a fourth straight drive for a 28-7 lead. That was a huge part in the Wolfpack building a big lead.
Pry spoke about regrouping and getting ready for Virginia next weekend.
"“We can’t hang our heads and feel sorry for ourselves. It hurts. We didn’t play our best. We’ve got to watch the film and correct the things that need correcting. We’ve got to be better at winning our one-on-one battles. We have to be an improved team when we go over there Saturday.”"
If there is one thing that Pry can point to after the loss and preparing for next weekend is how the Hokies handled things after losing to Louisville, then regrouping and going to Boston College to put together their best road performance of the season seven days later. They’ll need to do it one more time.
Pry spoke about Bhayshul Tuten only getting two carries in the game.
"“They had too many points on the board. We were behind too much. Felt like we had to throw the ball.”"
Tuten did provide a spark in the second quarter when he returned a kickoff to the Wolfpack 47 after the Hokies fell behind 14-0. It led to a Xayvion Turner-Bradshaw touchdown to cut the deficit in half. Pry was right, they were behind too much and had to abandon the run, and quarterback Kyron Drones did a very job nice in the second half throwing the ball and moving the Hokies downfield. The formula for Tech this season is simple, establish the run and everything else takes care of itself.
This is a big week for Brent Pry, his staff, and players as getting win No. 6 against the Cavaliers will do nothing but wonders for the program to take the next step heading into 2024.