If you live anywhere from the DC area – and south of there, be prepared this weekend for autumn to return full blast lol. There will be no more of this 80 degrees stuff in the DC area haha.
So, yeah, I was in Blacksburg for Virginia Tech’s Thursday night game with the Miami Hurricanes – and that atmosphere was amazing.
I took off two days of work from my day job to fully emerge myself into Blacksburg and the game day environment. I left the DC area at 8:30 PM on Wednesday night, October 19 – and arrived in Blacksburg at 2:30 AM (there were some accidents on some of the major highways that caused delays – and damn I was happy when I arrived in the New River Valley lol). When I make these trips to Blacksburg, I stay at my uncle and aunt’s home (which is beautiful).
Sometimes you can tell when you’re going to be part of a special night in Blacksburg, VA and the greater Virginia Tech football environment. I woke up on Thursday morning and had a quick breakfast – and the decided to go downtown to the Kroger grocery store on South Main Street in Blacksburg. The visit there was a little before noon – I was stopping at the Cook-Out Restaurant (we don’t have any of those in the DC area haha) – and I noticed that traffic was already loading into town at a frantic pace (The Kroger grocery store was already packed with people). I quickly got out of there – and drove to the down town main street area – and all of the restaurants and bars were packed by 2 PM. Hokie Club were already packing the university parking lots tailgating at 2 PM. I could tell that we were going to have a L-I-V-E crowd at Lane Stadium that night – those nights are special. Several years ago, Lane Stadium was such a feared road environment, it was known as “the terror dome” and I thought it might return on game night (more on that in a moment).
Personally, I had a chance to catch up with some Hokie Twitter brothers and sisters – brethren – and it was really fun. They are really good people. A huge thank you to @Mr_WhistlePig (and his father) and @HokiePugs for hosting me at their tailgate and allowing me to sit with them at the game. When you get your bison at Sharkey’s, @Mr_WhistlePig and @HokiePugs, make sure you ask for it to be cooked no more than medium well. Bison is very lean – and if you cook it well done, it’s like a potato chip At the tailgate of @Mr_WhistlePig and @HokiePugs, I finally met @MoreVT82 (who is very funny – I think I laughed every 5 seconds he was talking) and @VLOHokie – terrific people. True story – I met them in an elevator at the Virginia Tech Inn (at 2 AM) the night of Virginia Tech’s win over #1 Duke – but I don’t think we realized at the time. I also had a chance to meet @vtktorg who is a really nice person (I didn’t get the chance to see @HokieHack or @ChadWillis on this trip – but I will when men’s basketball season starts. Trust me guys.). We tailgated for about 2 hours and then headed over to the stadium.
So, last night, was the loudest I’ve heard Lane Stadium in many, many years. How loud was it?
— Dave Lackford (@Rivals_DLack) October 21, 2016
— Steven Swenson (@ctigeek) October 20, 2016
Well, it was earthquake loud. Yes, it was earthquake loud. And it was loud like that on many, many defensive snaps. Justin Fuente told that press that he was happy with Virginia Tech’s knowledgeable fans – who knew when to be loud. The Student Section hasn’t been filled in as much in recent years, but you saw Dave Lackford’s video up there – they brought it last night. They were off-the-chain L-O-U-D.
Virginia Tech has the most balanced offense I’ve seen in many years; 272 yards passing and 251 yards rushing (h/t @DavidTeelatDP). And as @DavidTeelatDP points out, Jerod Evans has put himself into some special company.
But as is often the case: It’s all about the quarterback. Evans’ 19 touchdown passes are five shy of Tyrod Taylor’s school record for a season and one behind Clemson’s Deshaun Watson in the ACC. He’s thrown a meager two interceptions – there’s a degree of luck in that stat – while passing for 1,605 yards, about halfway to Don Strock’s Hokies record of 3,243. Oh, and the running. He’s rushed for 417 yards and three touchdowns, and his late 34-yard scoring dash Thursday ended any doubts. But as with any quality player, there’s more here than raw numbers. Evans has been effective throwing from the pocket or on the move. He’s comfortable running read-options, more traditional perimeter options and even scrambling. In short, this rugged, 6-foot-3, 238-pounder is versatile and dynamic.
Tech passed for 272 yards and rushed for 251 — the 523 being the most allowed by Miami this season. The Hokies have gained at least 400 yards in every game except the monsoon craziness at North Carolina, where they still scored 34 points. Tech is averaging 35.9 points and 435 yards per game. The last Hokies team to average more points for a complete season was 2000 (40.3). The last Tech team to average more yards was 1999 (451.8). And lest you need reminding: The Hokies went 22-2 in 1999 and 2000 with Michael Vick at quarterback. In replacing Frank Beamer, Fuente was hailed for the offenses he produced as Memphis’ head coach and Texas Christian’s coordinator. Thus far he’s delivering the same in Blacksburg, and in concert with Foster’s D, the results are emphatic.
As Travon McMillian started on a sweep to the left, a blocker flattened cornerback Corn Elder, paving the way for a 20-yard gain. The blocker was Jerod Evans.
Miami (4-3, 1-3) never had a chance Thursday to generate that kind of momentum against Tech. Quarterback Brad Kaaya was forced to deal with a ferocious pass rush all night. Tech logged eight sacks, its most since 2013, when it also had eight against Pittsburgh.
Defensive tackle Woody Baron had a team-high 2 1/2 sacks against Miami. Defensive end Vinny Mihota played through a right shoulder injury sustained late in the second quarter and added two sacks of his own. “I thought it was implied that all six of us that were in the rotation (on the defensive line) had to have a big game,” Baron said. “With me being the most experienced, I knew that some of the younger guys were going to follow my example, like they have from myself, Nigel and Ken.”
Hokies defensive end Trevon Hill, who started for the first time in place of Ekanem, had 1 1/2 sacks to highlight an emotional evening for him. Tech defensive coordinator Bud Foster said Hill flew back Tuesday after practice to his Virginia Beach home after the death of his grandmother before rejoining the team Wednesday night.
Also, Joey Slye’s, the kicker and field goal kicker, was amazing last night – he gave Miami no chance to return kickoffs – and that’s a spot where they can do damage. Aside from one blocked 42 yard field goal kick on 4th and 1 in the third quarter (that I think we should have gone for), he was perfect – and was my MVP of the first half. It was one of the more special nights I’ve experienced in Blacksburg at Lane Stadium in many years. Do I think some things need to be improved? Yes – our DBs got burned on a couple of deep balls in pass coverage – and we have to do better there. All, in all, I was happy – because the ACC is better and more fun – when Virginia Tech is better.
@hokiesmash Hokies played very well. ACC is better when VT is good.
— RichardChinnis (@rchinnis) October 21, 2016