Virginia Tech earned an emotional victory on Saturday in Miami, knocking off the Hurricanes 42-35. It was a game full of errors and mistakes on both sides, but a win is a win.
Let’s be honest — Saturday’s win vs. Miami doesn’t instill a ton of confidence in the Hokies. Consider these notes…
- Virginia Tech forced five turnovers and totaled six sacks in this game and nearly lost.
- Tech led 28-7 at halftime and nearly lost.
- Hendon Hooker turned in three touchdowns and zero interceptions in his first career start, and Tech nearly lost.
Virginia Tech defeated a bad team on Saturday. Miami’s offense is perhaps the most inconsistent unit in the country, scoring 35 points despite turning it over five times and benching entrenched starter Jarren Williams. Miami committed 10 penalties for 75 yards, including an unsportsmanlike conduct flag that gave the Hokies beneficial field position on their game-winning drive.
Miami stinks. There’s no denying that. And Virginia Tech’s narrow victory over the Hurricanes gives Tech at least some hope that they can be competitive for the rest of the season in the ACC. But Tech has their own problems, including an erratic and unpredictable defense and an offense trying to find an identity with a new quarterback.
We’ve covered these problems ad nauseum. Tech’s defense might have forced five turnovers, but the unit allowed 28 second half points and gave up 21 of those points in the fourth quarter. Backup quarterback N’Kosi Perry tossed three touchdowns for 305 yards while running back DeeJay Dallas broke approximately 42 tackles on his way to a 62-yard touchdown run that should have put Miami in the lead. Instead, kicker Bubba Baxa missed the extra point.
The offense produced with the newly minted Hooker in the game, but the unit is still clearly limited. Hooker scored four total touchdowns and took advantage of Miami’s many mistakes, but he missed open throws regularly and completed just half of his passes. The offense largely went into a shell in the second half, save for Hooker’s masterful throw to Damon Hazelton that set up the go-ahead score.
Virginia Tech is a flawed team and we all know this. The offense may be on the verge of figuring something out, but the defense is leaky, and Tech barely won a game when they won the turnover margin by five. The Hokies have a long way to go to right this season’s ship, but that doesn’t mean Tech fans can’t appreciate the win.
The Hokies failed to respond in many situations on Saturday, but showed up when it mattered most. Hooker and the offense punched Miami directly in the mouth en route to a game-winning score, and the defense held on just enough at the end after getting run for much of the second half.
There are still plenty of negatives to worry about. But given how hellish of a week it’s been for the players, the coaches and the fans, it’s okay for all parties involved to take a moment to celebrate. That especially goes for head coach Justin Fuente, who seemed to thoroughly enjoy this win. For the first time all season, there’s finally reason for slight optimism.