This is certainly an odd development that, given the plethora of transfers that only continues to rise, could actually become the norm.
Tuesday night, a pair of Virginia Tech football players, including second-leading receiver Eric Kumah, took to Twitter to announce that they had decided to transfer/enter their name into the NCAA transfer database. A day later, it’s being reported that Josh Jackson, who, after going through a tumultuous offseason, began 2018 as the Hokies’ starting quarterback only to suffer a season-ending injury, has placed his name in the transfer database as well.
Given all of the abrupt roster upheaval, Tech head coach Justin Fuente issued a statement Wednesday afternoon somewhat addressing the developments over the last 24 hours or so.
Virginia Tech scratched their way into a bowl game by scheduling an emergency 12th game at the end of the regular season, and the Hokies made sure to take advantage of their bowl eligibility right at the start of the Military Bowl in Annapolis this afternoon. Virginia Tech marched right down the field on the game’s opening possession against Cincinnati, and the Hokies and Bearcats are knotted at 14-14 at halftime in Annapolis, Maryland.
Ryan Willis completed a 21-yard pass to Eric Kumah on Virginia Tech’s opening possession for a touchdown at the end of a 10-play drive. The instant replay booth had to take a look at the catch to verify the result on the field before the Hokies could officially enjoy their early lead. The lead did not last for long, however, as Cincinnati responded with a touchdown drive of their own on their first offensive series. On 3rd & 8 from the Virginia Tech 38-yard line, Desmond Ridder dumped off a screen pass to Charles McClelland who followed some key blocks down the field as he found an open path for a long touchdown to even the score at 7-7.
Cincinnati lost Ridder at quarterback to a right leg injury late in the first quarter, with Hayden Moore stepping in to guide the offense. Ridder returned to the Cincinnati sideline later in the second quarter but was seen with a boot on his leg, thus ruling his return out of the question for the Bearcats.
Despite playing with Moore at QB and after some initial rhythm issues as he first entered the game, Cincinnati would take the lead early in the second quarter in somewhat bizarre fashion. Virginia Tech forced a fumble by Cincinnati running back Michael Warren II. The loose ball was recovered in the end zone by Kahlil Lewis of Cincinnati for a Bearcats touchdown.
Virginia Tech tied the game with a goal-line push of their own, without the aide of a fumble recovery, when Steven Peoples pushed across the goal line on a second down play. The Hokies had a chance to take a lead just before halftime, but a long field goal try by Brian Johnson slipped just wide of the goal post despite having the distance.
As expected, Matt Wells‘ first Texas Tech coaching staff will have a decidedly Utah State look to it.
Not long after he was hired away from the Mountain West program to replace Kliff Kingsbury, it was confirmed that Wells would be bringing USU offensive coordinator David Yost and defensive coordinator Keith Patterson along with him to Lubbock. Wednesday, the Red Raiders confirmed that Wells has added five more Aggie assistants to his initial Tech coaching staff: outside receivers coach Jovon Bouknight, defensive backs coach Julius Brown, offensive line coach Steve Farmer, running backs coach DeAndre Smith and tight ends/inside receivers coach Luke Wells. The latter assistant is the brother of the new Red Raider head coach.
Additionally, Dave Scholz has been brought along as the football program’s new strength & conditioning coach.
With the additions, Wells still has three on-field openings on his initial 10-man coaching staff. It appears unlikely that Wells will retain any of Kingsbury’s assistants.
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.
It has not been the sharpest half of football for the Auburn Tigers, but the home team finds themselves up 17-13 against a Tennessee team looking to score an upset this afternoon. The Tigers lost two turnovers, the second of which quickly led to a game-tying touchdown at the time, but a big touchdown play of their own has given Auburn the lead after one half of play.
Bryce Thompson‘s interception of Jarrett Stidham early in the second quarter led to a game-tying touchdown by the Volunteers five plays later. Jarrett Guarantano completed a 42-yard pass to Ty Chandler for a touchdown./
Auburn wasted no time opening the scoring in the game by driving down the field for a touchdown on the game’s opening possession, but the Vols responded with a field goal on the ensuing possessions. Auburn added to their early lead with a field goal on their next offensive series and remained up by seven when the special teams blocked Tennessee’s second field goal attempt.
Tennessee’s defense came up with a big play with the Thompson interception but the defense got burned by the speed of Anthony Schwartz on Auburn’s next possession late in the second quarter. After catching a short route, Schwartz broke a tackle and took off down the right sideline for a blazing fast 76-yard touchdown.
Stidham has passed for 182 yards, 76 of which came on that long touchdown catch and run by Anthony Schwartz, his lone catch of the game. Tennessee has managed to hang around but still has to capitalize a little bit on any opportunities given to them by Auburn in the second half. This one is still anyone’s game, but the Vols have struggled to win these types of battles.