Last week seemed like a lot of overlap between this and Sunday’s “5 thoughts” post, so I’ll try to keep this one as newsy as possible, with notes and quotes from the game, then opine a little bit more in tomorrow’s post.
Here’s the game story from Virginia Tech’s 45-3 win against Western Carolina. A lot of the meat from the day is in that story, so I’d read that before perusing through the rest of this.
Now for other notes and quotes from the post-game …
– A fourth quarter announcement that the attendance for Virginia Tech’s home opener against Western Carolina was only 61,355 officially ended the third-longest active sellout streak in the country.
That’s more than 4,000 less than capacity at the 65,632-seat Lane Stadium. The Hokies had sold out 93 straight home games, dating back to the 1998 Virginia game.
“I really thank the ones that were here,” Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer said. “That thing was pretty well full. I know there were a few seats up there, but there’s a lot of good Hokies here, and I appreciate the ones that showed up.”
Virginia Tech’s crowd was still bigger than the 58,502 that showed up for Virginia’s game against No. 2 Oregon in Charlottesville, something Hokies running backs coach Shane Beamer couldn’t pass up, offering thanks to Tech fans and taking a dig at rival UVa on Twitter.
“It wasn’t a sellout but we still had the largest crowd in the state of VA today,” he tweeted. “By far.”
– Virginia Tech unveiled its new videoboard. The 4,275 square foot monitor is the 11th largest on-campus board in the country. The Hokies had more involved graphics throughout the day, particularly during the pre-game starting lineup announcements, with each Tech player having pre-recorded a brief animated intro.
It wasn’t all just for looks.
“I was watching it the whole time,” linebacker Jack Tyler said. “It’s nice for us, because we’re not the NFL, we don’t have iPads on the sideline, so if we ever have a problem, sometimes we can just go look up at the scoreboard. It’s a lot easier now.”
It wasn’t without its glitches. The videoboard went out for a good portion of the third quarter.
“I remember looking over and going, ‘Oh, I guess HokieVision is a lot like Hokies [fans] getting blacked out today,’” Tyler joked.
– Tight end Kalvin Cline became the 10th true freshman to play this year for the Hokies, the most the school has had under Beamer. The previous high was nine in 2002.
Cline, an under-the-radar prospect from Florida who signed late in the process, didn’t travel for the Alabama game and assumed he’d redshirt. But with Ryan Malleck out for the year with a shoulder injury, Tech used Kline quite a bit Saturday.
Kline gives the Hokies a long, athletic tight end that they lack. He caught four balls for 46 yards, although he dropped what would have been a touchdown pass in the fourth quarter.
“He brings a bit of a mentality that, I’m not afraid of anything; I’m ready to go get it,” quarterback Logan Thomas said. “That’s the way he is, and we really appreciate that as older guys.”
The other true freshmen who have played this year are: Woody Baron, Chuck Clark, Brandon Facyson, Kendall Fuller, Mitchell Ludwig, Jonathan McLaughlin, Carlis Parker, Sam Rogers and Jerome Wright.
Tech got the second-team offensive line in late but did not play freshman tackles Wyatt Teller or Parker Osterloh, preserving their redshirts.
– I asked Kline if people ever make fun of his name.
“It’s never making fun. It’s more, ‘Yo, you know your name is Kalvin Cline?’” he said. “You get the same thing. It’s a good laugh for everybody, but once you hear it, you remember it. So I try to use that as a positive.”
How many spell it correctly?
“That’s another thing, they like spelling it wrong,” he said. “But hey, it’s part of it. It makes me unique in a different way.”
– Thomas threw two picks, both in the end zone on passes to Demitri Knowles.
“Coach thinks I should have put it to the back pylon in both situations,” said Thomas, grading his 17-for-31, 200-yard performance as a B. “On the first one, I couldn’t see it, but he said I didn’t throw it far enough. On the second one, I thought the defender was over the top, but I should have known the personnel and just tried to throw it to the back pylon. But it wasn’t stupid decisions. It’s stuff I can clean up.”
– Receiver Willie Byrn had a big role after not playing much in the opener. The junior had four catches for a team-high 58 yards. He had one career catch entering the day.
One was a juggling catch that he dove for near the sidelines, a play the officials ruled a catch and then took the replay booth (somewhat similar to Danny Coale‘s Sugar Bowl catch/non-catch). The refs upheld this one.
“I know I bobbled it a little bit, but I felt my foot on the ground when I got control of it, so I thought I had it,” Byrn said.
How much did Tech spread it around Saturday? Tech’s three leading receivers – Josh Stanford (4 catches, 46 yards), Byrn (4 catches 58 yards) and Cline (4 catches, 46 yards) — combined for one catch against Alabama last week.
– Both freshman cornerbacks continued to make plays for the Hokies. Facyson notched his first career interception on the second play of the game, going low to snag a fluttering pass from Western Carolina’s Eddie Sullivan. Later in the quarter, Fuller tipped the pass that Detrick Bonner intercepted and returned for a touchdown.
Bonner had two picks, the first Hokies player to do so since Jayron Hosley had two interceptions against Arkansas State in 2011.
The last time Tech picked off three passes in a game was against Duke in 2011.
– Right guard Andrew Miller sprained his ankle in the first half and had his foot in a walking boot for the second half. X-rays were negative.
Brent Benedict took his place. Before that, Benedict also got some work at right tackle in place of Laurence Gibson, a look the Hokies hadn’t shown at all during open parts of practice this year.
– Both A.J. Hughes and Hunter Windmuller had punts downed near the goal line. Hughes’ was downed at the 1 in the first quarter; Windmuller’s at the 2 in the fourth.
– Western Carolina didn’t muster a lot of offense, gaining only 162 yards. But the Catamounts used the spread option quite a bit and pushed tempo occasionally, a look the Hokies will be seeing more of in upcoming weeks.
“It’s nice to get that going and get our wind behind us, because that’s the biggest thing with those offenses is getting your wind back and feeling good,” Tyler said.
– Your leading tacklers Saturday: Tyler with 11, DT Derrick Hopkins with 8 (all assists) S Kyshoen Jarrett and LB Chase Williams with 7. J.R. Collins had Tech’s lone sack, although the Hokies had nine pressures.
– Chris Mangus‘ 76-yard touchdown run came a week after Trey Edmunds‘ 77-yard touchdown run against Alabama.
The Hokies have had four touchdown runs of 75 yards or longer in the last 10 years. Two, obviously, came in the last two weeks. Another, J.C. Coleman‘s 86-yard run against Duke, came last year. All three of those touchdowns were by freshmen.
Tech spread the wealth Saturday on the ground, giving it to Mangus (5 carries, 84 yards, TD), Edmunds (15 carries, 68 yards, 2 TD), Coleman (7 carries, 38 yards) and Joel Caleb (6 carries, 36 yards, 1 TD).