Photo Credit: Harley Taylor
Virginia Tech showed lots of toughness and determination bouncing back from a shocking 45-10 loss to Duke to win at Miami 42-35 in a roller coaster of a game. The Hokies had plenty of high and low moments with a +5 turnover margin on the game but also a blown 35-14 fourth quarter lead that required a late drive to avoid what would have been a painful loss.
The Hokies found a way to get the victory in Miami and while several players stood out, Chamarri Conner and the Hokies' tight ends were this week's Hokies of the Game.
Offensive Hokies of the Game: Dalton Keene and James Mitchell
The lack of tight end usage has been one of the most nonsensical things about the Hokies' offense given the talent that we've seen from Dalton Keene and James Mitchell. Today, VT made their two talented tight ends offensive priorities and the duo stepped up with a great performance.
Keene and Mitchell were the only two receivers with more than one receptions as Keene had 5 catches for 73 yards and 3 touchdowns in what was a career day for the junior TE. Meanwhile, Mitchell was also impressive with 3 receptions for a team-high 75 yards along with a one-yard touchdown carry.
Not only were Keene and Mitchell set up to succeed fairly well at times with plays that cleared out the area of the field their route took them, but both players were consistent and didn't fail to make the plays they needed to make. Going forward, the Hokies would be smart to do what they should have been doing for a while and use these two TEs as major parts of the offense.
Hendon Hooker wasn't perfect in his first career start, but Hooker was productive and made some big plays throughout the day including leading the game-winning touchdown drive. The redshirt sophomore finished the day going 10-20 for 184 yards and 3 touchdowns along with 76 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries. Deshawn McClease also had another solid performance with 14 carries for 57 yards and a touchdown.
Defensive Hokie of the Game: Chamarri Conner
If there was a defensive play to be made, Chamarri Conner appeared to be there most of the time. The sophomore nickelback was impressive today and though he wasn't credited for one of the defense's five turnovers, Conner was consistently making plays both in defending the pass and playing around the line of scrimmage.
Conner finished the game with 5 tackles including a sack while also having 3 pass breakups that seemed to always come in big moments. While it likely doesn't count since the play ended in an interception, Conner also made the tougher play of breaking up the pass that became the Hokies' first interception of the day after Jermaine Waller tracked down the Conner deflection.
Conner is emerging as a playmaker for the Hokies who not only is effective in the box, but is continuing to improve in coverage. Additionally, Conner has shown that not only can he be a heavy hitter, but he also can do it with great tackling form, a combination that isn't found too often.
Overall, Conner was once again impressive as he continues to emerge as one of Virginia Tech's top defensive players.
The cornerback play from Caleb Farley and Jermaine Waller has been improved this season and today was a day where it was on full display. Both Farley and Waller ended the day with 2 interceptions each with Waller recording 0.5 sacks and 5 total tackles while Farley had 2 tackles of his own. Rayshard Ashby also played well making some big play including a big sack where he moved a Miami offensive lineman to the side as he finished with 11 tackles including 2 tackles for loss, one of which was his aforementioned sack.