There can be many different reasons as to why the Virginia Tech football team was able to turn their season around once ACC play began after starting the season 1-3. The Hokies won five of their eight conference games to become bowl-eligible at 6-6 following a pair of road wins at Boston College and Virginia.
The defense was dominant in their five conference wins and they finished tied for first in the ACC in sacks with 9.5. Add in the ability to get off the field on third down and create timely turnovers, it was a recipe for success for Virginia Tech.
Offensively, things started trending upward after Week 4 when offensive coordinator Tyler Bowen was able to get the running game going, as well as opening up the playbook with some timely gadget plays. However, the biggest turnaround happened when an injury forced a backup quarterback under center.
Kyron Drones provided a spark at QB for Virginia Tech
First and foremost, you never want to see a player get hurt. Starting quarterback Grant Wells went down in Week 2 against Purdue with an ankle injury. Baylor transfer Kyron Drones replaced him on the game’s final drive, then took over the following week.
It took Bowen, head coach Brent Pry, and Drones two weeks to get him comfortable under center, but once he did, the offense took off. Drones finished the season with 1,993 passing yards and 15 touchdowns with only three interceptions. He rushed for 642 yards on 146 rushing attempts and four touchdowns.
According to Pry on the ACC Network, Drones won the team MVP award this season and it’s hard to argue with that choice. He brought a different dynamic to the offense with his ability to scramble when plays broke down and he proved to be tough to tackle after the first level of defense with his size.
Was everything all roses once ACC play began? No, however, as the season went along, you could see how comfortable he was getting and things started taking off. He started throwing the ball with confidence and formed a good connection with his wide receivers, despite not having transfer Ali Jennings after he was injured against the Boilermakers in Week 2 with Wells.
Is Virginia Tech getting extra practices and a bowl game solely on Drones? No, but it’s hard to ignore how well the offense played in the final eight weeks with him under center. There is a reason why he was the 2023 MVP.