Check back every Wednesday for the Hokies Report to get all the biggest Virginia Tech headlines for each week, a recap of last week's game and a look ahead at next week's contest.
Virginia Tech 3-4, (1-2) in the ACC
In the news
Back under center: Michael Brewer will start for Virginia Tech in their upcoming game against Duke, Frank Beamer announced Monday. Brewer made his first appearance on Saturday since suffering a broken collarbone in the team's opener against Ohio State.
Though he was declared available prior to Saturday's game, the team elected to start Brenden Motley. The decision was criticized after a poor performance by Motley, but it is easy to be critical in hindsight. Prior to the game, however, it made sense. Motley has played reasonably well in place of Brewer, much better than many expected. He was coming off a strong performance against NC State whereas Brewer had spent the week leading up to the Miami game working his way back from the injury. Motley spent the week practicing as the starter. It was not shocking to see him get the nod against the Hurricanes.
With another week of practice under his belt, however, Brewer was the clear choice for this Saturday's game.
Brewer was the team's starter last year and had his struggles, but he looked very strong against Ohio State before leaving the game with the injury.
Newsome suspended: Wide receiver Deon Newsome was charged with driving while intoxicated and public intoxication on Sunday and has been indefinitely suspended from competition, though he is still permitted to practice with the team. The Roanoke Times was the first to report the arrest.
Newsome was also suspended from the Military Bowl last season for violating team rules.
Last week's game: 30-20 loss at Miami
It was not the blowout loss from a season before, but the result was still the same as Virginia Tech fell to rival Miami.
Brewer was declared available prior to the game, but Motley was given the start. It was not Motley's finest day as he turned the ball over three times with one fumble and two interceptions which Miami turned into 10 points.
Motley was replaced by Brewer but he was not able to lead Virginia Tech to the win.
Besides Motley's struggles, it was not a terrible day for the offense. Travon McMillian rushed for 99 yards and Isaiah Ford caught four passes for 76 yards and a touchdown. The bigger concern going forward is the defense which allowed 395 yards to the Hurricanes. The loss of Kendall Fuller in the secondary seems to be taking its toll.
Next game: Virginia Tech vs. Duke, Sat. 3:30 p.m. ET
A ranked Duke team heads to Blacksburg to face an unranked Virginia Tech team that is having issues on defense. Talk about a role reversal.
Duke sits at 5-1 on the season with their only loss coming to the better than expected Northwestern Wildcats. While Virginia Tech is hoping just to keep their bowl streak alive at this point, the Blue Devils have their sights set on winning the Coastal Division for the second time in three seasons.
Brewer returns as the starter this week and should be a bit better prepared with a full week to prepare as the team's No. 1. Brewer helped lead the Hokies to a 17-14 lead over Ohio State before he suffered a broken collarbone and now has an established running back to hand the ball to. The team has got to get tight end Bucky Hodges more involved, but with its starting quarterback back in the fold, this is a game in which the offense could make real strides, that is if they can figure out Duke's defense.
The Blue Devils defense ranks third in the ACC overall and second nationally against the pass, giving up only 131.2 per game. Granted, Duke's schedule has not been all that daunting to this point, but those are still impressive numbers.
One of the bigger keys of the game, however, is the matchup no one is watching: Virginia Tech's defense against Duke's offense. The Hokies have struggled defensively of late and their true Kryptonite may very well haunt them again in this game. Duke's leading rusher is quarterback Thomas Sirk and we all know how much the Hokies struggle against a mobile quarterback.
Sirk is not exactly Michael Vick when it comes to running, but he is averaging over 12 attempts and 53.5 yards per game on the ground. The Hokies must account for him or he could have a big day.
One more critical point is penalties. A David Cutcliffe coached team does not beat itself and Duke is averaging just under five penalties per game. Virginia Tech is dead last in the conference as they cost themselves an average of 71 yards per game just in penalties alone. That has got to change or Virginia Tech will find itself in a 3-5 hole.
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