No. 15 Virginia Tech fell to West Virginia Saturday, losing 27-21 in an “upset”, though the degenerates in Las Vegas knew better as the Hokies were three-point road underdogs.
It was as demoralizing of a loss as a fan will ever see, and we’ll try into get into those reasons below.
Cornelsen’s Decision-Making Is Still In Question
As the play-caller, you really begin to shine in the red zone. How you score points when the field shrinks like that shows a lot about your ability to get players open.
Virginia Tech ran 12 plays from the 10-yard-line or closer against the Mountaineers and registered zero points from those plays.
That doesn’t include the Hokies’ decision to chase points in the second quarter from West Virginia’s 25-yard-line, when Virginia Tech failed on a fourth-and-one conversion attempt.
By now, you’ve all seen the plays and how Cornelsen squandered opportunities to score. You’ve seen Tayvion Robinson’s catch that wasn’t. You’ve seen John Parker Romo’s inexcusable miss from 24 yards.
The issue at hand is this: since arriving in Blacksburg, Brad Cornelsen’s offense has been wildly inconsistent. His ability to scheme players open and cash in when close to the goal line has been questionable at best.
Never mind his inability to develop quarterbacks, which I’ll save for another date in time.
This Hokies’ offense is limited in personnel. Khalil Herbert isn’t walking through the door anytime soon and James Mitchell won’t suit up until 2022. The right side of the offensive line is facing injury issues.
But as the offensive coordinator, it is your responsibility to put your players in the best possible opportunity to score points. Robinson, Jalen Holston and Raheem Blackshear have shown the ability to make plays, but the coordinator has to give them opportunities when it counts.
Cornelsen didn’t do that Saturday.
Virginia Tech’s Defense Will Continue To Be Competitive
There was plenty to not like about the Hokies’ defensive performance against West Virginia. Getting punched in the mouth on their two opening drives is a good place to look.
But the Hokies’ bowed their necks on defense and gave their offense plenty of chances to take control of the game. West Virginia’s offense totaled only 89 yards and scored just three points after halftime.
Virginia Tech’s gap integrity was much better in the second half and their secondary bottled up Jarret Doege’s receivers as the game progressed. The Hokies’ didn’t generate the kind of pressure that I am accustomed to seeing, but the defense largely controlled the second half.
Saturday wasn’t a banner performance for Justin Hamilton’s unit, but Tech fans can take solace in the possibility that the Hokies’ performance vs. West Virginia may be one of their worst.
The Season Isn’t Over
It might feel that way, but Tech’s loss against West Virginia means more about the program’s long-term future than it affects this particular season.
Virginia Tech is still 1-0 in the conference with a huge win over North Carolina, who seems to have finally figured things out on the offensive end. Miami opens their ACC schedule in 10 days against Virginia, but the ‘Canes have played horrid football thus far. Virginia just got blown out and Pittsburgh lost to Western Michigan.
This is a down year for the ACC, which is good for Virginia Tech. The Hokies might be able to afford one more conference loss and still win the Coastal Division. Even three losses wouldn’t knock them out for sure.
So as deflating of a loss as Saturday against West Virginia is, the Hokies are still contenders for the divisional title.
It’s a long season, so strap in and get ready.