Virginia Tech holds off West Virginia 31-24 in thrilling opener
04 September, 2017, 12:05 | Author: Glenda Knight
It seemed as if West Virginia had to keep fighting from behind to stay in the game.
However, Bud Foster has a lot of work to do after the Mountaineers put up 592 yards of total offense. "There was a lot of the, you know, "hello, hello" signs".
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The first quarter was filled with superb defensive play from both teams, but perhaps that was circumstantial.
Redshirt freshman quarterback Josh Jackson threw for 236 yards and a touchdown for the Hokies, while rushing for 101 and a score. Inevitably, it took Jackson a little time to get his feet wet, and it took Grier some time to knock the rust off.
The first quarter was a battle of defenses, with the Hokies taking a 3-0 lead into the second quarter.
West Virginia quarterback Will Grier throws to a receiver in the first half of an NCAA college football game against Virginia Tech in Landover, Md., Sunday, Sept. 3, 2017. Somehow, the best player on the Virginia Tech offense got left all alone in the West Virginia secondary, and he capitalized. The game ended with Grier throwing two balls in the end zone that might've forced overtime. Jackson then hooked up with Hokies top wide receiver, Cam Phillips, near the goal line on the very next play.
Momentum remained fleeting, though, as Joey Slye's missed field goal set up one of Grier's best sequences. "Not just on the field, but off the field".
"Everybody knows we're going to try to run the ball", Holgorsen said.
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4 - Sunday's game will represent the FOURTH time in series history both teams are nationally ranked while playing each other.
Virginia Tech is to receive the second half kick. The combination of those two factors made for an explosive third quarter.
Virginia Tech would open the second half with the football stating at its own 32-yard line but the Mountaineers defense held to a three and out giving the football back to West Virginia at its own 25-yard line. Their first season was in 1892.
That last game, played in Morgantown in 2005, resulted in a 34-17 Virginia Tech victory - West Virginia's lone blemish on the way to an 11-1 season and a Sugar Bowl victory over SEC champion Georgia.
But like Fuente said, offensive fireworks began to go off for both teams in the third quarter. Hokies coach Justin Fuente used a timeout before the last two plays because he was anxious his defense was getting gassed chasing the quarterback.
But with the spotlight pointing directly at Jackson, the young QB pulled off arguably the biggest play of the game, as he scrambled for 46 yards down the field to put the team within striking distance.
"The thing I was surprised about, though, was the way (Jackson) ran the ball tonight", Phillips said. "So, I think he's going to have a great season". The Hokies defense was No. 3 in third-down stops a year ago and 20th in 2015.
"That word 'finish, '" defensive lineman Trevon Hill said. A lengthy drive that overlapped the end of the first, and beginning of the second, quarters ended in an interception on a gamble on fourth down. They marched 71 yards and retook the lead at 17-10 when Deshawn McClease found a crease off-formation to the right and dove into the end zone for a 12-yard touchdown run.
McElwain admitted as much about the offensive line following the game, emphasizing the unit needs to be more physical. Lavert Hill really stood out out to me, as did Brandon Watson who had a critical pass breakup in the fourth quarter.
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