In a critical Coastal Division matchup, Virginia Tech quarterback Logan Thomas finished 19-25 through the air for 221 yards leading the Hokies to a 17-10 win over the Jackets, their fourth consecutive victory in the series. The Jackets drop to 3-1 (2-1 ACC) and the Hokies improve to 4-1 (1-0 ACC). Thomas completed his first nine passes of the game and also added 76 yards on the ground.
“It was a tough game. Clearly you have to give Virginia Tech. They played better than we did. They probably coached better than we did,” Coach Johnson said. “I’ve never seen so many mistakes. It seemed like every series that we had the ball on offense we either jumped offside or had some sort of penalty. We had a hard time picking up the blitz. It was a comedy of errors.”
The Hokie’s defense kept the Jacket offense in check all night, allowing only 129 rushing yards and 273 total yards. Vad Lee rushed for 52 yards, an average of 1.9 yards per carry. Senior B-back David Sims rushed for 37 yards and scored the lone touchdown for the Jackets.
“They had a good defensive scheme. Virginia Tech has always had good defense. For the most part, we were killing ourselves with the penalties. We were killing ourselves and you can’t do that,” Lee said.
The nine penalties committed by the Jackets tie for the most since Paul Johnson has coached at Tech. It was also the first time since the season opener in 2011 that Georgia Tech threw for more yards than they rushed for.
It wasn’t the start the Jackets envisioned when quarterback Vad Lee fumbled on just the fourth play of the game. The Hokies recovered on Georgia Tech’s 27 and scored two plays later, a 21 yard pass from Thomas to DJ Coles.
Georgia Tech’s second drive was hindered by three false start penalties and eventually ended in another turnover, this time an interception at the Virginia Tech 13, intercepted by Virginia Tech true freshman cornerback Brandon Facyson.
“The scheme is not any different then what most people play against us. The players are pretty good, but for whatever reason, it seems like we self-destruct,” Coach Johnson said. “The first series we fumble the ball and we practiced that 8 million times with that guy coming in there. Then on the second series we’re moving the ball fairly well, but then we have to receivers who are on the back side of the play who are offsides – just a total lack of concentration. We also had a right guard who jumped two or three times on 3rd and 2 or 3rd and 3. We’ve got to do a better job coaching.”
Both teams were unable to get anything going on their next possession, but Virginia Tech was able to add to their lead early in the second quarter when Logan Thomas scored on a five-yard run to increase the lead to 14-0.
Georgia Tech finally scored with 7:21 remaining in the second quarter when freshman kicker Harrison Butker made a 49-yard field goal.
The Jackets had two more possessions before the half, but were unable to put anything on the board.
The Jackets gained some momentum when senior linebacker Brandon Watts sacked Logan Thomas on third and 16 forcing the Hokies to punt on their first drive of the second half.
On the following possession, Lee hooked up with Robert Godhigh on third and eight from their own 20 to move the ball to the Hokie’s 40. The drive would end in a David Sims touchdown to cut the lead to 14-10.
“We had made a little adjustment on the sideline based on how they were playing. Vad [Lee] threw a good ball and I was trying to make a play for the offense,” Godhigh said.
Virginia Tech would extend the lead to 17-10 with 10:25 remaining in the fourth quarter, keeping it a one score game.
On the following possession, Georgia Tech would come up short when they went for it on fourth and two from their own 33 with eight minutes remaining. Luckily for the Jackets, Virginia Tech was unable to capitalize on the great field position when kicker Cody Journell missed on a 25-yard field goal attempt.
“That was probably not the smartest decision in hindsight. It was pretty dumb. But we got out of that unscathed because they missed the field goal. It was 4th and 2 and I thought we had a play that would work. It didn’t,” Johnson said.
The Jackets would get two more possessions after the missed field goal, but were unable to put any points on the board.