NCAA

Former Minnesota coach Jerry Kill joins Hokies football staff to help Justin Fuente, not replace him

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Former Minnesota coach Jerry Kill joins Hokies football staff to help Justin Fuente, not replace him

Virginia Tech is coming off a come-from-behind victory over FCS opponent Furman, they have an opening loss against Boston College which was just blown out by perennial punchline Kansas and, because they are playing two FCS opponents this year, they have to find a way to earn five more wins this season to keep the vaunted bowl streak alive. That was the background for Monday’s announcement from head coach Justin Fuente.

Former Minnesota head coach Jerry Kill has been added to the Virginia Tech football staff as a special assistant to the head coach, Fuente announced. With the lackluster start to the season, Monday’s announcement led to plenty of speculation from Hokie nation as to what this meant for Fuente’s future.

Make no mistake, however, Kill is headed to Blacksburg to assist Fuente, not replace him.

"Jerry Kill will serve as a tremendous resource for our football program," Fuente said in a statement. "Coach Kill possesses over three decades of expertise and will be great addition to our staff. In addition to over 20 years of experience as collegiate and high school head coach, he's served as a coordinator on both sides of the ball. He can dissect the game from virtually every angle and will be able to provide his unique perspective on everything from recruiting, to personnel and facilities.

"After Coach Kill spent some time with our staff during preseason camp, it was apparent that he possesses a passion for being involved with a football program on a daily basis," Fuente continued. "I have all the respect in the world for Coach Kill. I'm excited that he'll be an integral part of our program at Virginia Tech and can't wait for him to get on campus."

Kill was the head coach of Minnesota from 2011 to ‘15 and took the team to three bowl games. He also was named the Big Ten Coach of the Year in 2014. His epilepsy, however, forced him to step down. The rigors of coaching consumed Kill to the point that he was not taking care of himself or adequately managing his condition. He suffered multiple seizures while at Minnesota, many of which came during games.

Since then, Kill has served as an associate athletics director at Kansas State, the offensive coordinator at Rutgers and the athletics director for Southern Illinois.

During this time, however, the desire to coach and be involved with a football team never went away. That was really the genesis of how he ended up at Virginia Tech.

According to Andy Bitter of The Athletic, Fuente invited Kill to watch a few of the team’s August practices and Kill provided feedback on what he saw. Originally , his relationship with the Hokies was not expected to go beyond that and Fuente did not intend for a job to come from that, but Kill’s desire to get back into football was enough for him to leave his job as an AD to join Virginia Tech.

"While it was a difficult decision to leave so many wonderful friends and colleagues at Southern Illinois, I am thrilled for the opportunity to join Coach Fuente and his staff at Virginia Tech," Kill said in a statement. "I've long appreciated and admired Justin as a coach and teacher of the game. I respect his penchant for identifying talent and helping young men reach their potential. He has assembled a fabulous coaching staff and roster of talented players at Virginia Tech. I can't wait to help the Hokies in any way I can."

The timing of this announcement may lead to speculation, but Kill’s health will not allow for him to get back into coaching. This is just a situation in which Fuente had the opportunity to help a fellow coach follow his passion and, in turn, Kill will help the Hokies.

Week 12: Virginia Tech reaches bowl eligibility while Navy's Cotton Bowl hopes take a hit

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Week 12: Virginia Tech reaches bowl eligibility while Navy's Cotton Bowl hopes take a hit

Virginia Tech dominated Georgia Tech to reach bowl eligibility for the 27th straight season, Penn state rebounded from last week's loss to Minnesota and Navy got no luck against Notre Dame.

Here's a recap of the week's local college football action.

Penn State 34, Indiana 27

The Good

Penn State's pass attack was largely inconsistent, but quarterback Sean Clifford still accounted for three touchdowns for the Nittany Lions, one through the air and two on the ground. The ground game was the saving grace for Penn State which got more rushing yards (192) than passing (179).  Running back Journey Brown gained 100 yards on the dot on 21 carries with one touchdown.

The Bad

The strength of the Nittany Lions this season has been the defense but that is two shaky games in a row on that side of the ball. Penn State had not allowed a first-quarter touchdown heading into last week's game against Minnesota. In the last two games alone, the Lions have given up four.

Indiana was able to effectively move up and down the field and outgained Penn State 462 to 371.

Star receiver KJ Hammler left the game in the first quarter due to an injury he suffered on a kickoff return. He would not return. Cameras saw Hammler celebrating the win with Clifford in the endzone tunnel.

With the Ohio State game looming next week, Hammler will be key to Penn State's hopes of pulling off the upset. Head coach James Franklin told the media afterward that he was "hopeful" Hammler would be ready to play.

The Crazy

When a team lines up to punt and calls a timeout, warning bells start going off in the heads of the opposing coaches. If you're planning on faking a punt and you need to call a timeout to make sure everything is set, you should just scrap it altogether. It's not going to work.

Indiana was on their own 44-yard line with a fourth and one upcoming. They lined up to punt and took a timeout. They returned from the timeout and this happened:

It didn't help that Peyton Hendershot bobbled the direct snap, but even if he hadn't you can see Penn State was just waiting for that fake punt. Two players later, Brown ran the ball 35 yards to put Nittany Lions up 27-14.

Notre Dame 52, Navy 20

The Good

After getting obliterated in the first half, Navy rallied somewhat to make the score more respectable, scoring 17 points in the second half. Receiver Mychal Cooper caught three passes for 73 yards

The Bad

Malcolm Perry averaged 130.2 rushing yards entering Saturday's game, but was held to 117 on 25 carries by the Irish. Notre Dame forced three first-half fumbles from him.

Notre Dame quarterback Ian Book torched the Midshipmen's defense with five touchdown passes, four of which went to Chase Claypool. Navy was allowing 310.6 yards per game, but gave up 300 by halftime and 410 total.

This loss hurts Navy's chances for earning the Group of 5's bid to the Cotton Bowl this year a bit. While it does not hurt their chances of winning the AAC, this loss will likely knock the Midshipmen out of this week's College Football Playoff rankings.

The Crazy

Saturday's game was the first non-sell out at Notre Dame Stadium since Thanksgiving Day in 1973. That is a streak of 273 games snapped. That is disappointing considering it came in a rivalry game that has been played every single year since 1927.

Virginia Tech 45, Georgia Tech 0

The Good

The Hokies came into Saturday's game with a chance to earn bowl eligibility for the 27th consecutive season, the nation's longest bowl streak, and they left the outcome in no doubt.

Quarterback Hendon Hooker scored three total touchdowns as Virginia Tech improved to 5-0 in games he has started.

The Bad

Tayvion Robinson took a helmet-to-helmet hit in the second quarter from Georgia Tech safety Christian Campbell. Campbell was ejected from the game for targeting.

The Crazy

Down 31-0 at the half, Georgia Tech elected to go for the onside kick. It failed and Virginia Tech got the ball at the Yellow Jackets' 49. 

Georgia Tech dominated Virginia Tech 49-28 last season. It was a role reversal on Saturday as Bud Foster did a masterful job with the defense. The Yellow Jackets were outgained 299-48 in the first half and held to just 134 total offense for the game. This game marks the first time Georgia Tech has been shut out since Oct. 18, 1997.

Freshman Landers Nolley II hits seven 3-pointers to led Virginia Tech over Lehigh

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Freshman Landers Nolley II hits seven 3-pointers to led Virginia Tech over Lehigh

BLACKSBURG, Va. -- Redshirt freshman Landers Nolley II is making up for lost time.

Nolley made seven 3-pointers and scored 27 points Saturday, leading Virginia Tech to a 79-53 victory against Lehigh.

"I'm one of the most impactful freshmen in the country," he said, adding that being forced to sit out last season allowed him to get better. "I got more knowledgeable, skill. I got in better shape, my mind (got) better. It prepared me for the moments I'm in now."

Nolley started slowly, "but in the second half I just started to let it come to me. I just started hitting shots and caught a streak and racked up some quick points."

The Hokies' 4-0 start in their first year under coach Mike Young is their second 4-0 start in as many years. It seemed fitting, too, that they honored former coach Charlie Moir with a moment of silence before the game. Moir, who died Friday, won a school-record 213 games at Tech from 1976-87, and was the coach in 1981 and 1982, the last time Virginia Tech began two seasons in a row by winning their first four games.

P.J. Horne added 14 points and Hunter Cattoor had 11 for the Hokies. Freshman Tyrece Radford added eight points and 11 rebounds.

Jeameril Wilson and Jordan Cohen each scored 11 for the Mountain Hawks (2-2). Lehigh trailed just 37-32 at halftime but managed just nine field goals and 21 points after the intermission.

Virginia Tech led 46-36 and used a 25-6 run to expand its lead to 71-42 with 5:50 remaining.

"We ended up turning the basketball over, which gave them easy opportunities and run-outs," Lehigh coach Brett Reed said. "The momentum of the gym and the game just kind of changed with our lack of execution and being sloppy with the ball."

BIG PICTURE

Lehigh: The Mountain Hawks committed 19 turnovers and Virginia Tech turned them into 26 points. Lehigh scored 16 points off the Hokies' 10 turnovers.

"They did a very good job of collapsing on the ball," Reed said. "A lot of times our ball-handler was under duress -- led to a lot of turnovers for us. But we also had some unforced turnovers, which ultimately kind of led to them being able to stretch the game."

Virginia Tech: The Hokies made a season-high 14 3-pointers and have made at least 10 in three of their four games this season. Nolley was 7 for 12 from beyond the arc and is 15 for 32 for the season.

UP NEXT

Lehigh has a quick turnaround, playing Misericordia on Monday night at home.

The Hokies remain at home and play Delaware State on Wednesday night.

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