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November 19, 2012

Numbers Don't Lie: VT's Win At BC

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In a game that was decided in extra time, there wasn't much room for error in winning or losing the battle. Fortunately for Virginia Tech fans, senior tight end Randall Dunn caught a game-winning touchdown in overtime to defeat the Boston College Eagles on Saturday.

It was the Hokies first road win, and we will dive into the stats to see just how Virginia Tech was able to come out on top.


WHY VIRGINIA TECH WON

One stat that clearly gives the Hokies a big advantage is in total yards. Virginia Tech was able to out-gain Boston College 401-296, including having a 118-yard advantage through the air. It's hard to lose games when you do that.

While there can be numerous critiques about junior quarterback Logan Thomas' day, he was able to distribute the ball to eight different receivers. Because the Eagles had to concentrate on so many targets, it may have helped a little bit to get Dunn open for the game-winning touchdown. Thomas was also not sacked on the day on top of not turning the ball over.

It's hard to ignore the fact that Eagles senior quarterback Chase Rettig threw for just 129 yards and not compliment the defense. He had thrown for at least 247 yards in each of the past four weeks, and Rettig's performance earned him the worst quarterback-rating of the season at 83.5. It should also be noted that the Hokies sacked Rettig a season-high seven times.


WHY BOSTON COLLEGE LOST

On top of shutting down Rettig, Hokie cornerbacks (namely junior Antone Exum) were brilliant in eliminating Eagles junior wide receiver Alex Amidon from the game. Amidon came into the contest with four straight games of at least six catches and had 100 yards in three of those contests. He had two catches for 18 yards (one TD). It's still hard to imagine the Eagles had a great chance to win considering their best playmaker was essentially a non-factor.

Completing 3-of-16 third down attempts isn't going to win you many ballgames. Simple as that.

The Eagles didn't capitalize when receiving short fields either. Of the four drives that Boston College started on at least its own 40-yard line, the Eagles produced only six points. Speaking of not taking advantage of opportunities, the Hokies put the ball on the ground three times. Boston College wasn't able to recover any of those fumbles.


NUMBERS THAT DON'T MAKE SENSE WITH THE RESULT

The Virginia Tech defense had allowed three running backs to record more than 100 yards in a game before Saturday. The Hokies were 0-3 in such scenarios. Although Eagles junior Rolandan Finch was able to register 138 yards on 26 carries, defensive coordinator Bud Foster's unit was able to limit the damage through the air.

When your quarterback has a 48.5 completion percentage while also throwing 33 passes, you don't really expect to win. But Thomas did just that. It was the third time it has occurred this season (first since Bowling Green), but the junior was able to make enough plays to win the game.


WHAT VIRGINIA TECH COULD IMPROVE UPON

While the Hokies were able to outgain their opponent by more than 100 yards, they once again gave a chunk of those yards back in penalties. Virginia Tech had eight infractions for a total of 67 yards, the second straight game with over 60 penalty yards. For a team that is supposed to be disciplined, this aspect will have to be cleaned up by next week.

Scoring first is perhaps an overused pet-peeve, but it truly has a big impact on the game. It was the third consecutive game Virginia Tech fell behind, but the Hokies were fortunate enough to come out with a comeback victory.

After the running backs combined for five catches for 49 yards against Florida State, I thought the group would be used more in the passing game. However, freshman running back J.C. Coleman had just one catch (for 14 yards), and none of the other backs were thrown to. With the speed and ability of Coleman and junior Tony Gregory in open space, dump passes could prove to be very effective against Virginia.


TRENDS

Wouldn't you know it, but Thomas ended his eight-game interception streak against Boston College. Even though he missed his fair share of throws, it's hard to argue Thomas didn't have a huge impact on the Hokies' victory. He recorded three total touchdowns for the fourth time this season, the first since Clemson.

Though the Virginia Tech defense was unable to record a sack against Miami, the unit has now registered at least five sacks in four of the last five games. That's pretty darn good for a group that was criticized early on. The defense also intercepted a pass for the fourth time in five games.

It was brought up in the chat room, but opponents' field goal kickers have been phenomenal against the Hokies. With a 3-for-3 performance, Eagles' kicker Nate Freese extended a streak of 13 straight field goals made against Virginia Tech. The stroke of unfortunate luck has lasted for six games.


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