In loss to Boston College, Virginia Tech and Justin Fuente had no answers


Raheem Blackshear made one of seven Virginia Tech catches on Friday. (Virginia Tech sports photography)

In previous games of the 2021 season, Virginia Tech looked shocked, but continued to fight until the end. But Friday night at Chestnut Hill, Justin Fuente & Co. had no response and quite honestly appeared to give up near the end of the 17-3 loss.

The Hokies were plagued with injuries. Tre Turner, who recorded a career-high seven catches for 187 yards at Georgia Tech, was unavailable. Mario Kendricks didn’t play, limiting Tech’s defensive tackle depth. Center Brock Hoffman fell during the game.

And with 3:22 left in the first quarter, quarterback Braxton Burmeister kept football on a read option and took a heavy hit. He didn’t come back.

Still, Virginia Tech only put the ball in the air once during the entire first quarter of 14 games. The eight-game and six-game drives both ended with punters, and the Hokies acted timidly offensively.

The return of Phil Jurkovec sparked good news for the Eagles. With him under center, they moved the ball a total of 346 yards, although 234 of them fell to the ground. But as Fuente said, his presence shouldn’t have impacted the racing game.

Tech struggled at times to tackle, couldn’t get saves (BC was 6-13 on the third down) and when on offense couldn’t muster anything. It was a very uninspiring team performance behind a coach who, quite simply, looked defeated after the game.

The Hokies defense made duo Jurkovec and running back Patrick Garwo look like West Virginia’s Pat White and Steve Slaton. Garwo notched Tech for 116 yards and a score, while Jurkovec had a carry or two where he looked like broken tackles from Michael Vick.

But as good as Boston College was offensively for their red bandana play, Virginia Tech couldn’t muster anything on this side of the ball. Never mind the injuries. Fuente and his team appeared to be afraid of letting quarterback Knox Kadum feel comfortable going on offense. He threw just 16 passes, completing seven.

Tayvion Robinson was the only receiver with a catch (four) while tight end Nick Gallo (two catches) and running back Raheem Blackshear (one) contributed.

Virginia Tech didn’t sound inspired and, frankly, Fuente seemed to be running out of answers.

“They [Boston College] ran the ball really well, ”said Fuente. “We ran the ball well. Basically no game has been played in the passing game.

When asked if he expects more from the passing game even with the injuries, Fuente said: “Yes, we have to be better if we are to win games.”

Virginia Tech was one for seven in the first half in the air. Kadum completed six of his ten attempts in the second half, but even when the wheels ultimately began to turn for the team, problems arose.

In the first half, Dorian Strong eliminated Jurkovec. He tried to return it, however, and was stripped. The Eagles recovered, gaining 22 yards in passing.

The Hokies’ sole trip to the red zone also resulted in a fumble. Early in the fourth quarter, wins of 22, 11 and 16 moved the ball into BC territory. Robinson was turned on on a screen on the second and 15th, however, and the ball was hit. Ball of the eagles.

Then, in the most peculiar decision, Virginia Tech faced a fourth and six on its own 25 with about five minutes left. Down two scores, instead of going, Fuente kicked. After the match, he cited the turning of the pitch, stopping and recovering the ball.

Peter Moore, who was spectacular all night kicking the ball, knocked the pitch down. But the Hokies didn’t do either of these, as Boston College ran out of time and ended the game.

John Parker Romo kicked a 47-yard field goal to keep Virginia Tech’s goal streak alive. (Virginia Tech sports photography)

John Parker Romo had a 47-yard field goal to keep Virginia Tech’s 342-game streak alive, the second longest in the FBS and a record dating back to 1995. It was the first time the Hokies had failed. scored from the famous Wake Forest, regulation 0-0, in 2014.

However, Virginia Tech finished with 73 total passing yards, the least of the Justin Fuente era. The previous low was 75 in North Carolina during the 2016 hurricane.

It’s also the second fewest passing yards in a game in the past decade. That low is 59 yards against the No.1 Alabama in 2013.

This Crimson Tide team finished 11-2 and lost to Oklahoma in the Sugar Bowl. Heck, that Tar Heels team went 8-5 and lost in the Sun Bowl.

This Boston College team was 4-4 (0-4 in the ACC) at the start of Friday’s game. For the second time this season (the first time was Syracuse), the Hokies were the opponents’ first conference win of the year.

Here’s another stat to put it in perspective:

Earlier this year, after the “unreactive” 28-7 loss to Pitt, it sounded like the same old story, and Fuente spoke like a coach who knew he might not be at Blacksburg after the end of the game. the season.

In this game and every other in 2021, the Hokies fought to the end, which Fuente praised. On a cold November night in Boston, this did not appear to be the case.

Despite praising his squad’s efforts, as he always does, the head coach and his players looked genuinely defeated. Maybe for good this time.

And if this really is the end of Fuente’s tenure at Virginia Tech, there is an interesting parallel.

There are a lot of questions for Justin Fuente and Virginia Tech, but on Friday he looked like a man with no answers. (Virginia Tech sports photography)

On a Friday night in Blacksburg in September 2019, the Hokies were crushed, 45-10, by a Duke team that Tech could have beaten. 770 days later, on a Friday night in November in Boston, the Hokies were beaten in another winnable game that didn’t go their way.

After that 2019 loss, Virginia Tech rebounded with responses, winning six of his next seven games. This time, the Hokies don’t seem to have any.

Full box score: Link


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