Tech Takeaways: Hokies’ GRIT Not Enough in Loss to Miami

Vegas knows. I don’t know how, but Vegas knows.

The betting line on Virginia Tech’s noon tilt with No. 9 Miami rested at Virginia Tech (-2), which was shocking. The Hokies were bordering on freefall and had just lost to Liberty, while Miami was still in contention for an ACC Championship berth.

Sure enough, that line was pretty close. Virginia Tech fell to Miami 25-24 in a game that could’ve gone either way in the fourth quarter. The Hokies battled all game long against a superior opponent, but they failed to close the deal.

The players haven’t checked out

Even if much of the Virginia Tech fanbase has checked out on the 2020 season and the current coaching regime, the players haven’t quit just yet.

The Hokies had every reason to get throttled by the Hurricanes. Miami is playing for an ACC Championship, even if it is unlikely. Virginia Tech is far away from that, and they have bigger issues to worry about.

But Virginia Tech showed up. The Hokies struck first and led the game until late in the fourth quarter.

The defense deserves credit for defending their pride. They’ve been rightly criticized for most of this season and with one of the better offenses on the opposing sideline, Virginia Tech’s defensive unit turned in their best performance of the season.

Fans have many reasons to be upset about Virginia Tech’s football program, but they can appreciate the players not packing it in. Not yet, at least.

Wins matter

Justin Fuente made a key point in his postgame press conference to praise his players’ will and determination.

Fuente is right for praising his players. But eventually, you have to start winning football games.

The Daily Press’ Norm Wood noted after the game that Virginia Tech has now lost seven straight games against top-10 teams. Since becoming the Hokies’ head coach, Fuente’s group is 5-11 vs. ranked opponents.

Bringing it back to 2020, Virginia Tech has lost three of their last four games. The Hokies have three games remaining — at Pittsburgh, vs. Clemson and vs. Virginia.

Now the NCAA waived the six-win requirement for bowl eligibility this season due to COVID-19, so it’s almost impossible for Virginia Tech to not extend their bowl streak. But at 4-4, the Hokies are dangerously close to capping yet another losing season under Fuente’s leadership. And for a program that hadn’t had a losing season since 1992 before Fuente arrived, another one will have dire consequences.

Playing losing football

Good teams find ways to win. Bad teams find ways to lose.

Virginia Tech had a firm grasp on this game in the third quarter. The Hokies had scored 10 straight points, taking a 24-13 lead with 6:14 left in the period.

Here are the Hokies’ next several drives…

  • Eight plays, 37 yards, punt
  • three plays, five yards, punt
  • one play, zero yards, interception
  • five plays, five yards, punt
  • 11 plays, 34 yards, downs

For an offense as productive as Virginia Tech’s, that finish to a game is unacceptable. Let me focus specifically on those middle three drives…

  • Hendon Hooker rush for one yard, incomplete pass (pass interference), Khalil Herbert rush for one yard, pass to Nick Gallo for three yards, Hooker rush for minus-1
  • Incomplete pass, Tayvion Robinson rush for minus-5, incomplete pass
  • Interception

Virginia Tech’s only first down on those drives came on a penalty. That cannot happen.

The Hokies aren’t playing winning football, and their final few drives vs. Miami put that on full display.

One thought on “Tech Takeaways: Hokies’ GRIT Not Enough in Loss to Miami”

  1. I stated in the beginning of the year it comes down to QB play! The best defense is an offense that stays on the field! Sadly what we have learned is that we currently have 3 QBs that can’t on a consistent basis throw an accurate pass over 10 yards! Other teams have learned this and it has showed up in our recent win/loss record! This team needs to win 2 of the next 3!

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