September 24, 2012

Monday Morning QB: Week 4

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Virginia Tech - Bowling Green Thoughts

- The Falcons aren't a bad team, so holding them scoreless was certainly impressive. The defense, while it didn't do a complete 180-degree turn from last week, it was obviously much more impressive and played with more determination and tenacity. While it might not seem like much, pitching a shutout gives a team a lot of momentum moving forward.

- Many Hokie fans are still waiting for quarterback Logan Thomas to make his mark on the 2012 season. The final drive in regulation against Georgia Tech was clutch, but he hasn't resembled the top NFL prospect that many have said he is. Completing 11 of 26 passes was average, while throwing an interception against a defense that has had trouble recording them. But there were a few dropped passes that he put on the money. His touchdown pass to junior Dyrell Roberts was a beauty. Solid, but short of spectacular.

- The running game came to life, but it wasn't because of J.C. Coleman, Michael Holmes or Thomas. Tony Gregory, the almost 'forgotten man,' put on a nice display with 68 yards on 11 carries, including a long of 24 yards. He certainly earned himself some more carries moving forward with his performance and may be sharing the wealth more going forward will see a solid running game develop for the Hokies.

- Getting Coleman into space is so, so dangerous, evident on the touchdown catch from Thomas to open the scoring. So much speed to the edge, some more designed passes to the freshman will certainly be in the books moving forward. A four-star prospect, he is making an immediate impact.

- The fourth downs weren't ultimately going to be proven crucial in this game, but holding Bowling Green 0 of 3 on fourth down conversions was a nice victory for this defense coming off a thrashing against Pittsburgh.

- Thomas getting 15 carries was a big change in the team's offensive philosophy from this season. He had 15 carries against the Yellow Jackets, some of which were very effective. Then, seven a piece in the following two games saw the running game struggle. Need to give the big guy the rock.

- For the first time this season, Virginia Tech has won the time of possession battle.

- Nine penalties for 60 yards, the most of the season, isn't pretty by any standards. The team simply has to be more disciplined moving forward. It's something that can be corrected though, so there should be no worries in that regard.

- Plenty of people have already written off the Hokies against Cincinnati. The Bearcats are 2-0 and handled the Panthers and some think it's logical to think that Cincinnati should have no problem with Tech. It may prove to be a close game and I believe the Hokies take the victory, but the last time the Bearcats played was Sept. 15. It's clear who has the advantage from a rest standpoint.

ACC Rewind

- Surprised to see Maryland competitive against West Virginia. Freshman quarterback Perry Hills was fantastic. Entering the game not having surpassed the 200-yards passing mark, he threw for 305 with three touchdowns and one interception, completing 20 of 29 passes. If the Terps get this kind of play from Hills, combined with star freshman Stefon Diggs, they could pull a couple upsets this season.

- Virginia is likely to fall to 2-3 this season and lose its third straight game when it hosts Louisiana Tech next Saturday. Despite moving the ball well, the Cavaliers couldn't produce when it mattered most in a 27-7 loss at TCU on Saturday. Now, the 3-0 Bulldogs head to Charlottesville, fresh off a 52-24 win over Illinois. The team is averaging 54.6 points per game, led by quarterback Colby Cameron, who has 11 touchdowns and zero interceptions this season.

- Miami nearly choked yesterday after going up 19-0, allowing Georgia Tech to storm back with 22 points in the second quarter. A huge 42-36 win for the Hurricanes, who outscored their ACC Coastal Division rival 14-0 in the fourth quarter before winning in overtime. The race in the division appears to be between the Hurricanes and the Hokies. Miami's three toughest conference games remaining, Virginia Tech, Virginia and Florida State, are all at home.

- How many of you are believers in Florida State after last night's big comeback against Clemson? A 49-37 win sees the hype around the Seminoles increase as they are the clear-cut favorites to take home the conference title and get to the BCS. They had 35 points in the second half and 667 yards of offense in the game, FSU appears to be the 'real deal,' but as always, only time will tell. The defense allowed a touchdown for the first time this season against the Tigers and was a bit exposed, but this athlete-filled team sure looks good.

ACC Power Poll

1. Florida State - The conference's top dog takes out the second best team. Obviously, the Noles are No. 1 after knocking off last year's champions.

2. Clemson - It looked like the Tigers had the game under wraps before falling apart. Tajh Boyd was so good and so calm early, only to lose his touch late.

3. Virginia Tech - The team bounced back nicely with a comfortable win, but a big test looms next week. For now, the team is on the rise.

4. Miami - Wow, can't say enough about the victory against Georgiq Tech, knocking the Yellow Jackets essentially out of the division race. The team has plenty to fix, but all that matters are the wins and losses. 2-0 in conference, the team certainly has a lot of momentum moving forward.

5 Wake Forest - Had to pick somebody for this spot. The Demon Deacons are 1-1 in conference and has very winnable games coming up with Duke at home, then at Maryland and Virginia. Grab all three of those ahead of a showdown with Clemson on Thursday, October 25th and watch out.

Conference Awards Section

Player of the Week - FSU quarterback EJ Manuel - The Virginia native went 27 of 35 for 380 yards and two touchdowns in the win against Clemson. More impressively, he was so clutch when it mattered most. His team was 8 for 13 on third downs, and many came off the arm of the star quarterback, who was quick to release the ball and find the open receiver to keep the chains moving. In addition, he ran for 102 yards.

Five National Thoughts

1. Oregon made another big statement, winning 49-0 against a ranked Arizona team. It's unbelievable how fast this team is, and the defense finally showed up after some iffy performances to start the season against inferior opponents. Right now though, most teams appears to be inferior against the Ducks. The favorites to win the Pac 12, it could be another national title appearance for them if they keep this train rolling.

2. How about Bill Snyder going into Norman to guide Kansas State to a 24-19 win over Oklahoma? What a victory, one that may boost the Wildcats into the top 10 nationally. If you haven't see K-State quarterback Collin Klein play, you need to. What a player. A dual-threat guy, he didn't have his best game from a statistical standpoint, but he was darn good, going an efficient 13 of 21 for 149 yards while rushing for 79 yards and a touchdown on 17 carries. Did you think Logan Thomas was a touchdown machine on the ground last year? He wasn't even close to this guy. Klein had 27 rushing touchdowns last season from under center and has five already this season.

3. I'm still not convinced by Notre Dame or South Carolina. Both teams have played well this season but have major holes. Both will get some tests in the coming weeks. The Irish have Miami, Stanford and Oklahoma in three of their next four games, while the Gamecocks, after an easy game against Kentucky next week, have top 5 teams Georgia and LSU before traveling for Florida.

4. What a start to the season by Oregon State. Wins over ranked teams Wisconsin and UCLA will see the Beavers jump into the top 25. Coach Mike Riley is at it again.

5. Huge props to Old Dominion quarterback Taylor Heinicke. He had a game that most of us couldn't even dream of in a video game. The sophomore threw for an FBS-record 730 yards in a 64-61 win over New Hampshire. He completed 55 of 79 passes, both records. He also threw five touchdowns. Stunning.

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