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FCS Frustrations Return in Hokies' 21-10 Win Over Richmond

Like many times before, Virginia Tech was presented with an opportunity Saturday to polish its strengths and address its weaknesses against a lesser opponent.

And like many times before, the Hokies came up short in trying to do those things.

(Photo Courtesy Of Virginia Tech)
Virginia Tech's Amare Barno

Tech’s 21-10 win over Richmond isn’t maddening in the sense that the Hokies nearly lost the game. But it was frustrating that once again, Virginia Tech failed to do what they should do against an FCS team — run them into the ground.

For some reason, Justin Fuente’s teams in Blacksburg tend to play down to their competition, especially against FCS opponents. I can go through the list, in case you might’ve forgotten.

It started in 2017 with Tech’s 27-0 win over Delaware. Two years later, Tech went to the wire with Furman after trailing by two scores at halftime. Later that season, Tech slogged through three quarters of football vs. Rhode Island before winning 34-17.

Those instances are just against FCS teams. I didn’t even include the 2016 losses to Syracuse or Georgia Tech, the 2018 stunner against Old Dominion or the 2019 Duke Debacle.

It’s fine to lay an egg vs. FBS teams once in a while. But when your opponent doesn’t play in the same percentile of college football as you do, you need to run them off the field more often than not.

Fuente’s teams aren’t doing that.

Saturday should’ve been a chance for Virginia Tech’s offense to build momentum heading into the bye week before the Hokies’ tussle with Notre Dame Oct. 9. Instead, Tech’s offense squandered its fast start and scored just 14 points. The Hokies’ averaged 3.2 yards per rush and if it weren’t for some dramatic plays by Tre Turner and Tayvion Robinson, who knows how Saturday’s game would have finished.

Virginia Tech now enters the bye week with the same issues and few solutions on the table. The defense is fine — while the pass rush has slowed significantly, Tech’s secondary has been quite good all season long. But the offense is a bit of a mess, and that’s going to hold this team back for the rest of the year. The Hokies are barely inside the top 100 in scoring offense and are outside the top 100 in total offense.

That’s not going to get it done.

It’s a shame, too, since the ACC is so wide open this season. Clemson may not even represent the Atlantic in the conference championship and in the Coastal, not a single team has played consistent football through four weeks. Everyone in the Coastal is a mess.

Virginia Tech better get their mess situated soon. Despite sporting one of the nation’s worst offenses, the Hokies still have an opportunity to win the Coastal division.

Let’s hope they don’t spoil this opportunity, too.

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Thursday, 02 December 2021
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