Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Schaible: Hokies deliver with their trademark defense once more

Photo Credit: Joe Robbins- Getty Images

By: Brian Schaible

There are not too many places that can replicate the atmosphere of Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee. There were over 75,000 fans in attendance for a Monday night showdown between the Virginia Tech Hokies and the Florida State Seminoles. The tomahawk chop was at a echoing, deafening pitch along with a torrential late summer downpour. So, it wouldn’t have surprised anyone to see the visitors from Blacksburg swept away in the deluge.

But that’s not at all what happened.

Legendary coaches Bobby Bowden and Frank Beamer were on the field along with countless alumni from both schools and all eyes were on new Seminoles coach Willie Taggart.

By the end of the second quarter, the boo birds were out in full force.

“We played a sloppy game and that’s on all of us, starting with me,” Taggart said.

The stats were ugly. Five turnovers for the Seminoles compared to none by the Hokies.

The second half drives for Florida State showcased an ineptitude that would be difficult to replicate. The first four possessions combined for minus three yards. The last four times Florida State had the ball well, how does fumble, fumble, interception and interception look on the stat sheet?

Virginia Tech defensive coordinator Bud Foster loved every moment of it.

“This was always the team, the program you are chasing. I’m not saying we have caught them, but it’s gratifying tonight to come down here with a group of no names and we stepped up,” Foster said.

This was the first time in a decade that the Seminoles failed to score a touchdown at home. Quarterback Deondre Francois tried to put into words the enormous disappointment felt throughout the locker room.

“Little mistakes here and there, missed assignments, bad execution by me. It seemed like we just took turns making mistakes,” Francois said.

It was all smiles for Hokies quarterback Josh Jackson who tossed two touchdown passes in the 24-3 victory over the Seminoles. Jackson talked about this being a complete team effort.

“That just showed you Virginia Tech football, Beamer Ball I guess you could say,” Jackson said. “It was great play by special teams, our defense made plays and it was great to see.”

Virginia Tech coach Justin Fuente summed up the night.

“The fact of the matter is, we have another game in five days and we have to be who we say we are, which is a team that takes it one step at a time,” Fuente said. “They are going to enjoy the way home and then we got to turn the page and get ready to go quickly.”

Next up:

Florida State returns home looking to bounce back against Samford. For what it’s worth, Samford won its home opener against Shorter, 66-9.

Virginia Tech embarks on a three-game stretch of winnable games. They start with William and Mary, then host Eastern Carolina on 9/15 and travel to Old Dominion on 9/22. Could an early top five showdown be on the horizon for Oct. 6 against Notre Dame?