There’s a reason Frank Beamer scheduled lowly Bowling Green after a road game in Pittsburgh.
He knew it would be a perfect tonic for a damaging early season loss, as the team looked great in their 37-0 shutout of the Falcons.
Granted, the offense looked shaky early on, and the defense definitely had its ups and downs, but it was still the team’s best performance since the final minutes of the Georgia Tech game.
The most important part about this win was the fact that Logan Thomas actually played like the quarterback we saw in the Miami game last year. The reason people drool over Thomas’ pro potential is because of his penchant for bowling people over when he runs the ball and his insane arm strength, and, for the first time all year, both were on display Saturday.
His numbers weren’t dazzling, as he completed 11 of 26 passes for 144 yards and two touchdowns to go with 86 yards and a score on the ground, but the game was encouraging all the same.
Whether he was breaking tackles, dragging defenders with him, or even simply knocking a Falcon out of his shoes, Logan ran with a tenacity that seemed absent from his games this season. Although he started off a little tentative, he became progressively more physical as the game wore on, which is an excellent sign for the future.
People have speculated that he has some sort of injury on the right side of his body, given his confusing propensity to not step through his throws and his skittishness in the pocket, so I’d like to hope that we’re seeing the start of his healing process. It would be depressing if he was only able to return to form given the quality of the opposition, but I’m going to give him the benefit of the doubt and say that this is the beginning of his comeback.
Although Thomas played well, his receivers didn’t exactly help him out. For all his talk about wanting to be more consistent this season, Marcus Davis is still infuriatingly unreliable. He only had two catches for 29 yards in the game, but he could’ve at least three or four more, but kept dropping easy passes, and almost lost a fumble to top it all off.
Davis is the offense’s most explosive player, yet he can’t seem to get out of his own way. Dyrell Roberts had his first impact game of the season, catching a 42-yard touchdown, but he’ll need to be more consistent to help take some of the burden off Davis.
Besides Thomas, the running game had the biggest improvement of any facet of the team. The coaches said they were going to re-evaluate the running back rotation this week, and that resulted in Tony Gregory getting a lot more carries, which seemed to work wonders.
Gregory looked fast and physical, turning his 11 carries into 69 yards, good for an average of 6.2 yards a rush. He was able to turn the corner on several pitches and sweeps, and I’m optimistic that he can figure into the run game more frequently going forward.
Michael Holmes also scored and picked up a 40-yard run, the longest of the season for the Hokies, but both of these figures are deceptive. Take away that long run, and he only carried three times for 11 yards, and I think Gregory’s play justified abolishing Holmes’ title as “starter.”
J.C. Coleman played well in limited snaps as well, carrying four times for 45 yards and catching a 10-yard TD pass, and I’m anxious to see the coaches continue to find innovative ways to use him in the offense.
Overall, the Hokies did exactly what they needed to in this game; leave no doubt they were the better team on the field and build confidence after the Pitt loss.
Cincinnati will be no pushover, and playing in NFL stadiums never seems to go well for the Hokies, but hopefully this game helped them build the necessary momentum to pick up another win next week.