It may not surprise fans that a Virginia Tech team struggling to post a winning season and save head coach Frank Beamer’s job—for the year or two more he desires—managed a 16-point win over an ACC opponent winless in conference play.
But, the one school that needs to take notice of the Hokies’ 26-10 win over Boston College (3-6, 0-6 Atlantic) on the road Saturday at Alumni Stadium is North Carolina. Virginia Tech (4-5, 2-3 Coastal) can still play a spoiler role.
The Hokies scored 26 points on a team that leads the ACC and is ranked third in the nation in scoring defense at 11.8 points.
Boston College led the ACC and nation with 62.13 rush yards given up a game, but Virginia Tech ran for a net 81 that included running back Travon McMillian carrying 33 times for 105 yards (The Hokies had a number of negative rush yards).
The Eagles led the ACC and were second in total defense at 217.4; Virginia Tech finished with 275. The Hokies passed for 194 of their 275 total offensive yards while also managing 17 first downs and leading time of possession with 34:43.
“I’m just proud of our organization and what we’re all about and how we came into a tough place and handled it,” Beamer told the media after the game. “It wasn’t an easy thing for us to do. I’m proud of them.
“We’ve talked a lot about it (bouncing back), and we practiced great this week. I can’t tell you how proud I am of this crowd. After a gut-wrenching day last week and the way these guys came back … it doesn’t happen every day.”
Virginia Tech benefitted greatly from four turnovers and field position, but that has been Beamer’s style throughout 29 seasons in Blacksburg. In Virginia Tech’s three previous wins, the Hokies were plus-six in turnovers. In the five losses they were minus-4.
The Hokies took a 7-0 lead as quarterback Michael Brewer hit wide receiver Cam Phillips with a 27-yard touchdown pass to finish a four-play, 47-yard drive.
It was 10-0 by the end of the first quarter on Joey Slye’s 47-yard field goal.
The Hokies pushed their lead to 20-0 by halftime with a second-quarter fumble return to set up a touchdown. Not even Brewer’s interception in the end zone thwarted the Hokies. The fumble return came after the interception.
Brewer also led a nine-play, 55-yard drive that finished with a 38-yard field goal as time expired before intermission.
In the second half, Slye hit the third of what would be four field goals for the day for a 23-0 lead midway through the third quarter with a 32-yarder. His fourth field goal also was from 32 yards.
VT A Potential Stumbling Block
North Carolina (7-1, 4-0 Coastal) is feeling good about itself – and it should be – after beating No. 23-ranked Pittsburgh (6-2, 4-1 Coastal) to control its destiny in the Coastal race. The Tar Heels will likely crack the Top 25 by in next week’s AP poll after gaining 46 votes to equal No. 27.
They have already sold out Kenan Stadium for their next game Nov. 7 against No. 22 Duke (6-1, 3-0 Coastal), which is at home Saturday night against Miami (4-3, 1-2 Coastal). If North Carolina beats Duke, the Tar Heels will hold head-to-head tiebreakers over Pitt and Duke for a berth in the ACC Championship game.
But even with that advantage, Virginia Tech is still a stumbling block on Nov. 21 in Blacksburg. The Tar Heels play Nov. 28 at N.C. State. UNC has a home game Nov. 14 against Miami, but the Hurricanes will need a spark from interim head coach Larry Scott to be a threat.
If North Carolina loses to Duke, the Tar Heels will need to beat Virginia Tech while also hoping the Blue Devils stumble in their final three games against Pitt, Virginia and Wake Forest.
Virginia Tech, which snapped a two-game losing streak, now has a bye week while seeking two more wins for bowl eligibility against Georgia Tech, North Carolina and Virginia. A late season push for bowl eligibility translates to more of the same for those who want to see Beamer retire. Virginia Tech was 7-6 in 2012, 8-5 in 2013 and 7-6 in 2014.
And if you want any more evidence there is no magic in Boston College’s 2015 season, look no further than a change at quarterback. Troy Flute, nephew of the magical Doug Flutie, who won the 1984 Heisman Trophy, started the game but was replaced by walk-on freshman John Fadule.
Legendary coaches such as Beamer often times have one final upset up their sleeve, but that’s usually if they have announced their retirement. Beating Boston College probably allows Beamer another week to delay such a decision forced upon him.
Beamer may be losing his edge over a 12-week season, but he’s a future Hall-of-Fame college football coach. He didn’t get his team up for Coastal losses to Pitt, Miami and Duke, but he rallied his team against Atlantic members North Carolina State and now Boston College.
North Carolina isn’t in a position to let down.