Hendon Hooker, Alan Tisdale Are The Hokies of the Game Against Rhode Island

By: Tim Thomas | @TimThomas1996 | Oct 13, 2019
Photo Credit: Harley Taylor

Virginia Tech took care of business Saturday beating Rhode Island 34-17 with a strong offensive performance, but a shaky defensive, bend but don't break, defensive performance. There were a few standouts in this game, but a pair of Greensboro natives, Hendon Hooker and Alan Tisdale, stood out the most to be this week's Hokies of the Game.

Offensive Hokie of the Game: Hendon Hooker

In his second career start, Hendon Hooker put on a show for the Hokies with an impressive passing display and a solid rushing performance. Overall, Hooker went 16-27 for 261 yards and 3 touchdowns while rushing for 43 yards on 15 carries which includes losses from a pair of sacks.

One of the biggest things for Hooker is the fact that he could have had a much more impressive game had it not been for multiple drops from Damon Hazelton on very accurate deep balls. Additionally, there wasn't a single near interception for Hooker for the second-straight week, something that continues to be a significant improvement from Ryan Willis.

That combined with Hooker appearing to have lots of composure and great ball placement on his passes has made the Hokies' new QB a significant upgrade and helped Virginia Tech to their 2 highest scoring outputs of the season.

Next week will provide a major test for Hooker against a North Carolina team that has been the biggest, positive surprise in the Coastal. With it feeling like a must-win game for the Hokies, it'll be interesting to see if Hooker can rise up to the challenge and help lead the Hokies to a third-straight win ahead of the final five-game stretch where VT's season could go in a multitude of directions.

Deshawn McClease garnered considerations for this honor as well after the veteran running back played quite well with 124 yards and a touchdown on 12 carries. Damon Hazelton had a good game as well with 5 catches for 93 yards and 2 touchdowns, but a few drops prevented him from having what could have been a career day. Dalton Keene also was a major factor once again with 4 catches for 53 yards and a touchdown.

Defensive Hokie of the Game: Alan Tisdale

There were a few defensive players in the running this week, but Alan Tisdale did enough to earn this week's honor.

The redshirt freshman backer has been improving week to week and while this may not have been his best performance, he showed again that he may be VT's best option at backer. Tisdale had 4 tackles on the day including a pair for loss, one of which was his first career sack.

The athleticism that Tisdale provides at backer has made a big difference both in how effective Tisdale can be in coverage for a linebacker and with his ability to blitz and close down quickly on a scrambling QB. Going forward, it's more than reasonable to wonder if Tisdale will be the primary backer over Dax Hollifield with Hollifield being used more as a third linebacker who can either backer or mike.

Rayshard Ashby had a solid game in his own right as the Hokies' mike linebacker led Virginia Tech with 8 tackles. Chamarri Conner was productive as well with 3 tackles, including a sack, along with 2 pass breakups. Caleb Farley had 2 tackles and 1 pass breakup as the one Virginia Tech defensive back who appeared to have a strong game in coverage against Rhode Island.