Virginia Tech fittingly put together a dominant defensive performance to send Bud Foster out a winner in his final game at Lane Stadium. Virginia Tech could be on a collision course with rival Virginia who also won on Saturday. While there was good news in the ACC, the news was not as good in the Big Ten where Maryland and Penn State were both handed tough losses.
Here’s a recap of the week’s local action.
Ohio State 73, Maryland 14
Maryland wasn’t shutout. That’s...something.
Ohio State was without its best player, defensive end Chase Young. Despite that, the Buckeyes still held Maryland to a single yard of offense in the first quarter and 139 yards for the game. Tyrrell Pigrome and Josh Jackson combined for eight total completions for 77 yards. The Terps were held to 62 yards on the ground, including seven yards from Anthony McFarland who torched the Buckeyes for 298 yards last season.
And, again, just in case you forgot, Ohio State did all of this without its best player on the field.
Already up 14-0 in the first quarter, Ohio State dialed up an onside kick which they ran to perfection.
Just Ohio State executing a flawless onside kick while up 14-0 on Maryland.pic.twitter.com/6qi3GdLw07— Eleven Warriors (@11W) November 9, 2019
It was a beautiful play made possible by flawless execution and some great scouting to notice that hole in Maryland’s coverage.
But it still never should have happened.
Yes, the Terps hung tough with Ohio State last year, but it was very clear in the first quarter that this year was going to be different and that the runaway freight train that is the Buckeyes was going to crush Maryland. There was no need to make that call in this game. They didn’t need to do it and now every team still on Ohio State’s schedule, including Penn State and Michigan, is going to be prepared for a play like that.
The Buckeyes won this game by 59 points. They didn’t need to show off a trick play.
This game was so ugly in fact that a Maryland commit actually decommitted during the game.
With all do respect to whom it may concern, my family and I believe that it is in my best interest to Open Up My Recruitment Process and Decommit from The University of Maryland to make sure that I am making the best decision for myself and my future.— Jordan White 5️⃣3️⃣ (@lil_jojo19) November 9, 2019
No further questions please
It should be noted that he did not say he decommitted because of the Ohio State game, that is just a conclusion many have jumped to because it happened while the game was being played and when Maryland was already losing big.
Minnesota 31, Penn State 26
Penn State may have only put up 26 points on the board, but it was a good day for them overall offensively. A team known more for its defense put up 518 yards against the Golden Gophers with Sean Clifford throwing for 340 yards. Both K.J. Hammler and Pat Freiermuth hauled in seven catches each for over 100 yards.
Minnesota came into Saturday’s game undefeated, but many thought that was more of a product of their weak schedule than the quality of the team. And yet, it was Penn State’s defense that looked outmatched on Saturday against the top offense it has faced this season.
Minnesota quarterback Tanner Morgan passed for 339 yards and three touchdowns, taking advantage of a Nittany Lions secondary that is clearly the weakness of the defense.
Still, both offenses were able to move the ball effectively. The real difference in the game was Clifford’s three interceptions. He threw one on the opening drive which Minnesota turned into a touchdown five plays later and which really set the tone for the game.
Minnesota forced another interception in the second quarter and the Golden Gophers again scored a touchdown on the resulting drive. The third interception Clifford threw on Penn State’s final drive to seal the loss.
Clifford had only thrown three interceptions this season prior to Saturday’s game,
Penn State’s last possession was a comedy of errors. The Nittany Lions pulled to within five and forced a three-and-out from the Gophers to give themselves a chance. Hammler was run into by one of his own teammates on the punt and muffed it. Penn State recovered, but had lost 15 yards and started their drive at their own 28. Clifford connected with Jahan Dotson for 49 yards to get the ball down to Minnesota’s 11. A catch down to the 2-yard line was negated by an offensive pass interference call on Daniel George. Clifford missed George on a pass the next play and then threw the game-sealing interception the next play after that.
Virginia 33, Georgia Tech 28
Tavares Kelly had only 10 receptions and three kickoff returns in the first eight games of the season, but he was a big factor in UVA’s win Saturday as he took over kickoff return duties. He returned five kickoffs for 129 yards including a 40-yard return that set up the Cavaliers’ last touchdown drive of the first half. Kelly also caught two passes for 46 yards.
In addition, it was a big game for receiver Terrell Jana who caught nine passes for 108 yards. Virginia desperately needed additional weapons to emerge later in the season to take some of the pressure off of quarterback Bryce Perkins.
Coming into this game, Georgia Tech ranked an abysmal 124th in the nation on pass offense averaging just 141 yards per game. Quarterback James Graham took advantage of an injury-depleted Virginia secondary with 15 completions on 22 attempts for 229 yards and two touchdowns.
Georgia Tech finished the game with 372 total yards. Perkins himself accounted for 364 total yards for Virginia (258 passing, 106 rushing).
Virginia Tech 36, Wake Forest 17
In his last game at Lane Stadium, the Hokies sent legendary defensive coordinator Bud Foster out a winner. Foster had a lot to do with the Hokies' upset win, limiting a Wake Forest team that ranked in the top 10 nationally in both total offense and passing offense to season lows in points (17) and total yards (310).
After a sluggish first-half in which Virginia Tech managed to put only six points on the board, the Hokies came alive in the second quarter, scoring 30 points while allowing only seven.
The win ended an eight-game losing streak to ranked opponents at Lane Stadium that stretched back to 2009. Lane Stadium used to be one of the hardest places in the nation to play and one of the most feared venues for opponents. To think it has been that long since the Hokies were able to beat a ranked team at home is staggering.
When Virginia Tech was blown out by Duke to fall to 2-2 on the season, it felt like the season was spiraling out of control. Now, incredibly, Virginia Tech sits 6-3, one win away from bowl eligibility and in control of their own destiny in the ACC Coastal Division race. That is a remarkable turnaround.
MORE NCAAF NEWS: