Old Big East rivals Virginia Tech and West Virginia are locked in an entertaining defensive battle in Landover, Maryland. After one half of play, the No. 21 Hokies hold a 10-7 lead on the No. 22 Mountaineers thanks to a touchdown run from freshman quarterback Josh Jackson.
West Virginia’s Will Grier has been given some good protection from his offensive line in his first start with an FBS program since being suspended by Florida in 2015. Grier isn’t lighting up the Hokies defense, which very few players and teams are capable of doing anyway, so it has been a smart and steady evening of work so far for Grier with 15-of-24 going for 105 yards and a touchdown, and 13 rushing yards. Justin Crawford leads all players with 85 rushing yards for West Virginia, which is more rushing yards than Virgina Tech has as a team (68).
Virginia Tech has also broken in new quarterback Josh Jackson, who has had flashes of solid play as well. Jackson has also had to play efficiently for the Hokies rather than break open many big plays, but he has had his moments.
The story of the first half, however, has been the defenses. The hitting has been fierce at times, and the Mountaineers have exhibited something rarely seen from a Big 12 team by forcing three consecutive three-and-outs after Grier tossed a poor interception to Virginia Tech’s Trevon Hill. It wasn’t one of Grier’s finer moments.
But he did make up for it later in the first half with a touchdown pass to David Sills to give the Mountaineers a 7-3 lead.
Jackson led the Hokies on a nice touchdown drive to close out the first half, finishing the drive himself with a nice run up the middle of the West Virginia defense to reclaim the lead.