NCAA

Hokies rebound with 28-13 win over NC State: 5 takeaways

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Hokies rebound with 28-13 win over NC State: 5 takeaways

Brenden Motley had his best game as a starter with three touchdown passes and Travon McMillian ran for 96 yards and a touchdown as Virginia Tech rebounded from an awful loss to Pittsburgh to defeat NC State 28-13.

Here are five takeaways from the Hokies' first ACC win of the season:

Flipping the switch: After gaining only 100 yards of offense last week against Pittsburgh, the Hokies offense needed a rebound in the worst way. Things did not start off well as Virginia Tech managed only 29 yards in the 1st quarter, punting on their first three possessions.

Then everything changed.

Down 10-0, Virginia Tech took their next three possessions for a combined 191 yards and three touchdowns.

What was the difference? One factor was Isaiah Ford who capped off each of those three scoring drives with a touchdown catch becoming the first Hokies player to catch three touchdown receptions in one game since Ernest Wilford in 2002. He is also the fastest player to reach 10 touchdown receptions under Beamer. It took him just 19 games.

Another factor was likely the loss of safety Hakim Jones. Jones is viewed as the leader of NC State's secondary and his absence showed you wh. He suffered a lower body injury in the second quarter and did not return. His impact on the secondary was immediately evident and the defense never looked the same.

Bottling up Brissett: Virginia Tech has struggled against mobile quarterbacks since...well, forever seemingly. Jacoby Brissett has been run sparingly this season, but it was clear early on that this was part of NC State's offensive game plan for Friday. After rushing for 40 yards on his first four carries, however, the defense bottled up the quarterback for -1 yard.

Brissett finished with only 39 rushing yards for the game.

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Curious call: Down 21-10 in the 3rd quarter, NC State took to the ground on offense. The Wolfpack ran the ball on 10-straight plays, marching the ball from their own 30 down to Virginia Tech's 14.

On 3rd and 2, Brissett lined up in shotgun formation and attempted a pass that fell incomplete. There was no play action, no fake, it was just a straight pass out of the shotgun.

NC State had found success running the ball on that drive. Of the 10 plays prior to the 3rd and 2, none of them went for less than three yards. Why the Wolfpack did not attempt a run on this critical 3rd down made absolutely no sense. Why they did not at least run a play action pass made absolutely no sense.

The Wolfpack had spent the entire drive establishing the run and setting up the play action and they took advantage of neither when they really needed to.

Give him the rock: If there was any question who the top running back on this team was, that question was answered Friday. McMillian is a stud and he needs to keep getting the ball.

For some reason, the team's reluctance to continue feeding one running back the ball continued as McMillian had only 11 carries, but he made the most of his opportunities turning those carries into 96 yards and his first career touchdown. The touchdown came in the 4th quarter as he took a sweep to the left 59 yards to the house, putting the game away for the Hokies.

Punching bag: One reason McMillian needs to keep getting the ball is so they can take it out of the hands of Motley who is taking way too many hits every game. Though he was only sacked once on the night, he took a lot of hits as the offensive line continued to struggle to give the Hokies quarterback time in the pocket. That was further compounded by offensive coordinator Scot Loeffler's insistence on having Motley run the ball.

More than once, Motley struggled to get to his feet after taking a big hit. He could be seen favoring his arm or his knee after a play and yet, there he was tucking the ball and running on the very next play.

If you see your quarterback getting beaten up, maybe it's not a good idea to put him in a position to get hit even more by calling a quarterback draw. Motley had nine carries on the night. It's a miracle he had to come out of the game only once considering the number of hits he took.

Having watched this offense all season, Motley does not seem integral to the team's rush attack. If anything, he's hindering the offense by taking carries away from McMillian. That's not to say he hasn't run the ball well, he has at times, but I do not believe this offense would take a step back if McMillian was getting 15-20 carries a game and Motley was getting only two or three.

At this point, it's obvious that Motley is taking too much punishment each game and I'm not sure he needs to be.

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Future NBA prospect Omer Yurtseven transfers to Georgetown from NC State

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USA TODAY Sports

Future NBA prospect Omer Yurtseven transfers to Georgetown from NC State

The pieces are starting to come together for Patrick Ewing.

On Monday the Georgetown Hoyas picked up perhaps the biggest (literally and figuratively) target of the transfer market, Omer Yurtseven.

From North Carolina State, the transfer from Istanbul Turkey will have two years remaining of eligibility. Due to NCAA transfer rules, he is not allowed to play for the 2018-19 season.

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Standing at 7-0, the center helped power the Wolfpack to an NCAA tournament bid this past season. Averaging 13.5 points, 6.7 rebounds, and 1.8 blocks a contest, Yurstseven earned All-ACC Third Team honors in the 2017-18 season. He also touted a 58.3 shooting percentage and was not afraid to pull it up from deep either (22 made three-pointers).

NC State lost in the first round of the NCAA Tournament to No. 8 Seton Hall, but he was limited due to foul trouble with only two points and two rebounds in 14 minutes of play.

Initially, he is the option to fill the void that Jessie Govan will leave, whether that is during this offseason or next. Already the team has lost power forward Marcus Derrickson

Yurtseven will just be another frontcourt talent for Ewing with the Hoyas.

It was widely reported that he was considering playing options, both in the United States and abroad before this announcement. Easily he has the talent to go in first round of the NBA Draft whichever year he declares.

On the same day, the Hoyas also announced the signing of four-star guard James Akinjo.

After historic season, Virginia's Tony Bennett named AP Coach of the Year

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USA TODAY Sports

After historic season, Virginia's Tony Bennett named AP Coach of the Year

SAN ANTONIO -- Virginia coach Tony Bennett isn't going to waver from his foundation, whether it's the philosophy that built the Cavaliers into a contender or the big-picture perspective that helps him handle the sting of a historically improbable loss.

Both ends of that approach are fully on display now as he is named The Associated Press men's college basketball coach of the year.

Bennett won the honor Thursday after his Cavaliers set a program single-season record for wins, dominated the Atlantic Coast Conference and reached No. 1 in the AP Top 25 for the first time since the Ralph Sampson era. Yet that wildly successful season ended abruptly in the most unexpected way: with the Cavaliers falling to UMBC to become the first No. 1 seed to lose to a 16-seed in NCAA Tournament history.

"They experienced things a lot of guys don't," Bennett said in an interview with the AP. "That kind of success? Oh my gosh. And then that kind of loss? ... But again, their body of work deserves to be celebrated.

"And then so much of what society looks at -- it begs the question -- is it just about how you do in March? Or is it about the whole thing? It's a fair debate (on) what matters. But I told them: I wouldn't trade this team for anything. Even the experiences, as hard as they are, this is part of the process."

Bennett was the runaway winner for the award, which is being presented at the Final Four. He earned 50 of 65 votes from AP Top 25 writers with ballots submitted before the start of the NCAA Tournament.

Tennessee's Rick Barnes was second with five votes after leading the Volunteers to 26 wins and an NCAA bid despite being picked to finish 13th in the 14-team Southeastern Conference. First-year Ohio State coach Chris Holtmann was third with four votes.

This marks the second time Bennett has won the award, the other coming in 2007 when he was at Washington State.

In Bennett's ninth season, the Cavaliers (31-3) went from being picked to finish sixth in the ACC to winning the regular-season race by four games -- the first to win the ACC by that wide a margin since 2000. It then won the ACC Tournament to complete a 20-1 run against league opponents.

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Virginia also reached No. 1 in the AP Top 25 for the first time since December 1982 and stayed there the final five weeks of the regular season, the last two unanimously.

And yet, the 48-year-old coach knows much of the focus will be on how things ended: that 74-54 loss to the Retrievers while playing without ACC sixth man of the year De'Andre Hunter.

Dealing with a roster of players in pained disbelief, Bennett said he has told them that they have "an unbelievable captive audience" waiting to see how they would handle it.

"I said how you respond to this will matter to your mom and dads, to your brothers, your sisters, your friends," Bennett said. "If they see that you're not fake about it, that yeah, of course you're going to be discouraged and down after a loss like that, but that you're OK. You can live with it.

"I said: you don't know the power that that's going to have in their life and in your life."

Bennett said he appreciated other coaches offering support, which included Syracuse Hall of Famer Jim Boeheim noting: "If I could hire a coach in this country and I could get Tony Bennett, there would be nobody in second place."

He said he's still reviewing what worked and what didn't, but "certainly you don't overreact" by changing everything that had brought the Cavaliers to this point.

This is, after all, a program that has been a 1-seed three times in the past five seasons with three ACC regular-season titles.

And Bennett won't be deterred from chasing more, even if it means stumbling a few more times on the way to reaching his goals.

"You better have something beyond the opinion of man or just how you feel, because this stuff is fleeting," Bennett said.

"So that's where obviously my faith is everything to me. You hear people talk about their faith in the lord and the relationship with the people that they care about, their family and their trusted friends. Those things stand the test of time. And that's what you have to draw from. And then you move on."