Postgame Observations: Hokies Handle Their Business Against FCS William and Mary

Virginia Tech’s 62-17 win was somewhat boring. The Hokies handled the game from start to finish, despite allowing William and Mary to score two touchdowns. It was exactly what you’d expect to see when a ranked Power 5 team hosts an FCS program.

Because William and Mary simply is not good, we can only take so much away from this game. Here are my postgame observations from Saturday’s win.

The Hokies handled business

Virginia Tech had five days to prepare for the Tribe. Even though William and Mary is an FCS team that beat Bucknell by just seven points, that’s a really short turnaround for college kids.

The Hokies could have easily dealt with a hangover from their convincing win vs. Florida State. Instead, Virginia Tech did what they were supposed to do — easily defeat a lesser talented team in their own stadium. No overly impressive, but solid.

Wheatley isn’t going anywhere

Virginia Tech needs some explosive athleticism at running back. Terius Wheatley gives them that.

Wheatley’s one of the fastest players on the team and is probably the best athlete at the position. He’s not a back that needs to pound the rock between the tackles, but is best when allowed to break outside and get into open space. He’s done that so far, rushing for 80 yards on just nine carries.

He might not be Tech’s No. 1 option, but Wheatley can make an impact. But if the other backs remain inconsistent, maybe Wheatley’s usage will increase. Speaking of inconsistent running backs…

Hold on to the ball, McClease

Not only did Deshawn McClease fumble vs. William and Mary, he ran for just 35 yards on 10 carries. Yes, he scored, but so did several other players.

McClease looked like the clear-cut No. 1 running back after his performance at Florida State. Now, McClease looks like another guy in a crowded room of backs. He’s got time to rebound, but Saturday’s performance left a lot to be desired. He’s got a heck of a matchup this week against East Carolina, who is one of the worst teams in FBS.

The secondary will hold this defense back

Virginia Tech’s front seven has played very well through two games. The Hokies are third in the nation in tackles for loss (23) and tied for 28th in the nation in sacks (six). Despite two newcomers at linebacker, Tech’s has had little problems against the run.

The team’s secondary has been a different story. With two new starters at cornerback and an inexperienced free safety, the Hokies’ performance against the pass has been expectedly poor. Virginia Tech is 82nd in the country against the pass, allowing 232.5 passing yards per game.

Shon Mitchell, William and Mary’s freshman quarterback, played better than one would expect a freshman quarterback to play against a Bud Foster defense. Mitchell threw for 208 yards and a touchdown on Saturday, converting 10 first downs through the air.

Virginia Tech has already allowed seven pass plays for 20-plus yards. The Hokies can hold up against the run, but can they improve against the pass? They need to start this coming Saturday vs. East Carolina.

Kickers continue to impress

Replacing Joey Slye isn’t easy, but Tech’s doing a solid job so far.

Brian Johnson is 3-3 on field goals this season and he hit a career long of 45 yards on Saturday. He doesn’t have the strongest leg, but if Johnson can extend his range into the 45 or 50-yard range, that’s more than serviceable.

On kickoffs, Jordan Stout is getting the job done. After banging four of his five kickoffs against Florida State for touchbacks, Stout registered 11 touchbacks vs. William and Mary on 11 kickoffs. That’s exactly what Slye did while he was in Blacksburg and fans underestimate how important that is when trying to win the field position battle.

2 thoughts on “Postgame Observations: Hokies Handle Their Business Against FCS William and Mary”

  1. Not only have I not been impressed with the corners in coverage, I think they’ve been pretty bad at tackling in space as well. Farley may have had the 2 picks against FSU, but I think that papered over a relatively poor performance in that game. Both him and Watts need to improve in coverage and in open field tackles

    1. They’re barely out of diapers. They’re learning on the fly. Farley had besides the 2 picks, a sack too. Don’t be too critical.

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