Virginia Tech (7-3, 4-2 ACC) snapped their losing skid in a big way. After putting together their best effort of the season by blowing away Miami (7-2, 3-2 ACC) by a score of 42-24, the Hokies started to take control in the ACC Coastal division and could now be the team to beat to get to Charlotte to take on Florida State.
Or maybe Duke is the team to beat? Or maybe it is Georgia Tech? Or maybe it’s still Miami? At this point, nobody really knows for sure.
As it stands, a potential four-way tie in the ACC Coastal Division could make for a very complicated tiebreaker procedure at the end of the season, but there is still some time to sort it all out and perhaps let the games play out to make things a bit more clear before figuring out who gets the right to challenge the Seminoles in the ACC Championship Game. Miami, Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech and Duke all have two losses in ACC play.
For the first time all season though, Virginia Tech truly looked like the team to beat in this messy division. The Hokies have struggled on offense throughout much of the season, so go figure that their best offensive performance of the season came in a constant down pour in Miami. Virginia Tech had a season high in total offensive yards and scored over 40 points for just the second time of the year. Logan Thomas had a masterful performance throwing the football, completing 24 of 30 pass attempts for 356 yards and two touchdowns. Running back Trey Edmunds had four rushing touchdowns, including three in the first half to capitalize on Miami’s special teams mistakes. Willie Byrn had his second 100 yard receiving game of the year. The Hokies defense frustrated Miami all night with the Hurricanes clearly suffering without the injured Duke Johnson, erratic play from quarterback Stephen Morris and a special teams unit that had a rough night. Miami may have also been in a bit of a slumber after getting a sleeper hold put on them a week ago by Florida State.
Of course, Virgina Tech was coming off two straight losses to Duke and Boston College.
Of the ACC Coastal teams still in the mix, Virginia Tech may have the most favorable schedule the rest of the way. The Hokies play Virginia and Maryland to close out the regular season while Georgia Tech gets plays at Clemson in their final ACC game next Thursday. Duke and Miami square off next week and the Blue Devils end the season with road games at Wake Forest and North Carolina. Miami has Virginia and Pittsburgh after playing Duke as well.
Things look good for Virginia Tech at this point, if they can just avoid a major letdown.
The focus in Miami’s preseason camp has been on the budding battle to be the starting quarterback but Mark Richt might have bigger concerns after an injury to another star offensive player.
The Hurricanes head coach confirmed to reporters on Saturday that receiver Ahmmon Richards missed the practice after he pulled his hamstring earlier in the week. Safe to say that’s not the kind of injury you want a burner like that to suffer right before the season starts.
The Palm Beach Post reports that senior Braxton Berrios stepped up in Richards’ absence during the scrimmage with six catches for 107 yards but things figure to be a little different against real opposing defenses this fall if his running mate can’t go full blast down the field like he potentially could.
Richards averaged 19 yards a catch last season and racked up nearly 1,000 yards through the air as a true freshman. He was expected to play a pivotal role in an offense that is breaking in a new signal-caller but, given the tricky nature of hamstring pulls and wide receivers, it could be a few weeks into the year before he trots out onto the field for the ‘Canes.
John Franklin III has had a ton written about him for a player going on his fourth program in five years but here’s a little more.
The quarterback-turned-wide receiver recently gave an interview to Matthew DeFranks of the Florida Sun Sentinel on his decision to transfer to Florida Atlantic for his senior season and seemed to lob a subtle shot at his former coaching staff at Auburn while doing so.
The not “having too much fun” line will probably draw most of the attention but don’t discount the issue Franklin has with playing every snap. While he arrived on the Plains as a signal-caller, he gave way to Sean White as the starter last year and was moved all over the field in a variety of packages. This spring he changed positions to wide receiver full time as a result but decided to transfer before catching passes for the Tigers.
The former ‘Last Chance U’ star will now head to Boca to play for former coach Clint Trickett with the Owls. It’s not super clear what exact role he will have in the offense but hopefully for Franklin he can have a little more “fun” this season along the way.
A running back is on the loose in Tuscaloosa and no, that’s not as good as it sounds for the Crimson Tide.
Beat reporter Alex Byington noted on Saturday that star tailback Bo Scarbrough was noticeably absent from Alabama’s practice on Saturday when it came time for media viewing periods, the second straight time that he’s been out of sight on the field.
The Tuscaloosa News followed up on the matter and reports that Scarbrough’s attendance (or lack thereof) was “nothing serious” and Nick Saban confirmed as much later in the afternoon by saying the running back was sick with an illness that kept him out.
Sophomore Josh Jacobs also missed the viewing period on Saturday.
Scarbrough has had a light work load the past several months as he recovers from a broken leg he suffered in the national championship game. The presumed starter is still expected to be good to go for the season opener against Florida State but the absences at practice will at least make things interesting in the next two weeks at a crowded position on the depth chart.
The state of Louisiana’s top recruit will not be playing for the state’s top football team this fall.
Four-star defensive tackle Tyler Shelvin will enroll at LSU next week, according to the Baton Rouge Advocate, but will not be eligible to play in 2017 following a ruling from the NCAA on his status. The news is a big blow not only to Shelvin, but to the Tigers who are thin on the interior defensive line and were hoping to rotate in the 380-pounder this year.
Shelvin’s high school coach told the paper that the NCAA “partially denied” the defender’s eligibility, forcing him to redshirt in his first year on campus. He reportedly took several classes over the summer in order to meet requirements but apparently fell short of hitting the association’s standard to be cleared.
The loss of Shelvin’s services is a tough one after he turned into one of the center pieces of head coach Ed Orgeron’s top 10 recruiting class from February. The Tigers have had a history of talented defensive tackles running into eligibility issues in the past but the rather thin depth chart in the middle of the defensive line made bringing in Shelvin a priority.
That is not to be the case however, as LSU will move forward sans the big defender just two weeks out from the start of the season.