This one was not one of Virginia Tech’s finer moments on defense. The Hokies (4-3, 3-1 ACC) were run over at home Thursday night by Georgia Tech (4-4, 2-3 ACC), 49-28, and the Yellow Jackets did all of their damage on the ground.
Every one of Georgia Tech’s 465 yards of offense came on the ground, with Tobias Oliver leading the attack with 215 rushing yards and three touchdowns. Jordan Mason (82 yards) also scored three touchdowns and Jerry Howard (76 yards) added one more. The 465 rushing yards is the most allowed in a game by Virginia Tech since 1973, and this was the first time the Hokies had given up more than 300 rushing yards in a game since giving up 309 rushing yards on November 12, 2016 against… you guessed it, Georgia Tech.
Adding to that dominant rushing performance, Oliver attempted just one pass in the entire game for Georgia Tech. It fell incomplete, giving the visiting team zero passing yards. Georgia Tech also became the first team to win in three consecutive trips to Virginia Tech’s Lane Stadium since 1992.
It took a while for Georgia Tech to gain control of the game with its running game, as Virginia Tech held a 21-14 lead in the second quarter before things spiraled out of control for the Hokies. A muffed punt by Sean Savoy gave Georgia Tech a short 12-yard field to work with for a game-tying touchdown midway through the second quarter, and a three-and-out by Virginia Tech on the ensuing possession was followed by a go-ahead touchdown drive by Georgia Tech. Georgia Tech also ran a 10-play touchdown drive covering 75 yards to open the second half and take a 35-21 lead, and the Hokies offense was nowhere to be seen for much of the remainder of the night until it was too late.
The loss by Virginia Tech, their second in a row at home, drops the Hokies into a tie for first place in the ACC Coastal Division with in-state rival Virginia with identical 3-1 ACC records. Miami and Pittsburgh are each 2-1 in the conference and will have opportunities to move into a first-place tie this weekend. Miami is at Boston College and Pitt is home against Duke. Virginia is hosting North Carolina this weekend as well.
Virginia Tech can take solace in knowing they will get three of their final four games at home, but they have just suffered two straight home losses by a combined 43 points against Notre Dame and now Georgia Tech. The home-field advantage of playing in Lane Stadium has not helped them in big spots midway through the season. Virginia Tech will look to bounce back next week at home against Boston College. Georgia Tech can continue to play spoiler in the Coastal Division in a couple of weeks, but will remain on the road next week for a game at North Carolina.
When it’s all said and done, Josh Allen is going to need a bigger trophy cabinet — or at least significantly expand his current one.
Monday, it was announced that the Kentucky senior was named as the 2018 recipient of the Jack Lambert Award. That trophy is handed out annually by the Touchdown Club of Columbus (OH) and given to the national linebacker of the year.
Previously this awards season, Allen had been named as the winner of the Bronko Nagurski Award (HERE) and Chuck Bednarik Award (HERE) as well as the recipient of the Ronnie Lott IMPACT Trophy (HERE). He also earned unanimous first-team All-American honors.
Allen’s 14 sacks this season set the football program’s single-season record, while his 28.5 career sacks are the most ever for a member of the Wildcats.
For the second time since the 2018 regular season came to an end, Kyle Whittingham has seen one of his assistant coaches leave for a head-coaching job.
Exactly a week ago, Utah State announced that Utah associate head coach Gary Andersen was returning to again lead the Aggies. Monday, Sacramento State announced that Troy Taylor has been hired as the FCS program’s next head football coach.
Taylor, who spent two seasons as Whittingham’s offensive coordinator, was the starting quarterback at Cal in the late eighties after playing his high school football in the state of California. He also began his coaching career at the high school level near Sacramento.
“I am thrilled to be the new head football coach at Sacramento State,” Taylor said in a statement. “My family and I are excited to move back home and take on the challenge of building the Hornet Football program into something the city can be very proud. I want to thank President Nelsen, Mark Orr and the rest of the search committee for giving me this opportunity.”
With bowl season left, Utah is sixth in the Pac-12 and 67th nationally in scoring 28.7 points per game. In Taylor’s first season in charge of the offense, they averaged 29.5 ppg.
Whittingham has already replaced Andersen with former Ute football player Sione Po’uha.
One of the biggest storylines leading into the 2018 College Football Playoff is the health of this year’s Heisman Trophy runner-up. With Alabama’s date with Oklahoma less than two weeks away, the signs are pointing in a positive direction for Tua Tagovailoa.
The sophomore quarterback suffered a high-ankle sprain in Alabama’s SEC championship game win over Georgia two weeks ago and underwent surgery shortly thereafter to help aid the healing process. Monday, Nick Saban sounded decidedly optimistic in giving an update on the status of his starter, who has participated at least partly in all four of the Crimson Tide’s practice session since the title game.
“He’s doing well,” the head coach said by way of ESPN.com. “I think he’s probably ahead of schedule. He’s been able to take a lot of reps. He’s been able to throw the ball from the pocket. He can run. …
“I don’t think he’s 100 percent in terms of change of direction yet. But he’s already going 100 percent on the gravity treadmill. So he’s been able to practice and he’s made really, really good progress. So we’re encouraged by that.”
Tagovailoa had been bothered by knee issues for a sizable chunk of the regular season before hurting his left ankle earlier this month.
Top-ranked Alabama will face Heisman Trophy winner Kyler Murray and Oklahoma in the Dec. 29 Orange Bowl, which this season is serving as one of the two playoff semifinals. The winner of that game will face the Notre Dame-Clemson in the national championship game next month.
Maybe the future quarterback situation in Athens isn’t as straightforward and black and white as it seemed earlier in the evening.
Monday night, it was reported that Justin Fields has notified Georgia of his intent to transfer. Subsequent to that, ESPN.com reported that “Fields is exploring the possibility of transferring, though he hasn’t yet told the Bulldogs’ coaching staff that he’s leaving.”
Additionally, at least one member of Fields’ family told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that a decision hasn’t been made one way or the other.
Asked if she could confirm reports that her son intends to transfer from Georgia, Fields’ stepmother said she could not. But she also didn’t deny them.
“I’m not at liberty to discuss anything,” Jo Ann Claudrick Fields said via telephone Monday night. “We’re not confirming or denying anything. We haven’t made a decision.
Fields’ mother also told the Journal-Constitution to talk to the quarterback’s father, Ivant Fields, as “[h]e handles everything involving football.”
If the transfer were to come to fruition, ESPN reported that Florida State, Ohio State and Oklahoma would be potential landing spots. That website also reports that Fields is expected to play in the Sugar Bowl for the Bulldogs.
Fields was rated by 247Sports.com as the No. 1 player regardless of position in the Class of 2018. He spent his true freshman season as the primary backup to sophomore starter Jake Fromm.