Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

College Sports

September 21, 2012

Hokies look to get back on track vs Bowling Green

BLACKSBURG, Va. —  Virginia Tech’s player can show on Saturday if they learned a lesson last week about under estimating an opponent.

Several Hokies say they took then-winless Pittsburgh lightly last Saturday, and they paid for it in a big way. Their 35-17 loss to the Panthers sent them tumbling out of the Top 25.

They hope to start rebuilding their resume Saturday when Bowling Green (1-2) comes to Lane Stadium, and coach Frank Beamer needs no convincing that the Falcons are dangerous. If not for missed field goals of 29 and 31 yards, Bowling Green would have led Florida in the second half. The Gators won, 27-14.

“They’re for real. They got good players and they coach them up and they play hard,” Beamer said.

The Hokies didn’t even do that at Pittsburgh, defensive end Derrick Hopkins said, and are eager for another chance to show what they can do. The Panthers gained 537 yards and ran the ball at will.

“We’re energized. We’re ready to play next week and kind of prove ourselves,” Hopkins said.

Like the Hokies, Bowling Green is coming off a hard loss. The Falcons fell 27-15 at rival Toledo, but coach Dave Clawson said with a few tweaks to their execution, good things will start happening.

Making them happen in a venue like Lane Stadium would be a good start, he said.

“It’s another great opportunity for our program, similar to Florida, to go into one of the premier stadiums in the country against one of the best teams in the country over the last decade” Clawson said.

Beamer’s team needs to improve in all facets to live up to Clawson’s lofty praise.

“I think we have the makings of being a good team,” he said. “We’re not a great team right now and I think we’re continuing to work on that. I think it’s yet to be determined where this team goes.”

It would help for the Hokies to get their running game going. They managed just 96 yards against Pittsburgh, in part because they quickly fell behind 21-0, but the problems go deeper than that.

One of the solutions might be getting quarterback Logan Thomas to look for some openings. the 6-foot-6, 260-pounder has been compared by some to Cam Newton for his size and running ability, but said he is more inclined to stay in the pocket looking for receivers downfield than to tuck it and run.

“If there’s a hole that opens wide open and I don’t see anything there, obviously I’ll take it,” he said when asked if he might be persuaded to do what opponents fear he will do. “If it comes down to me having to scramble for a first down, I’ll do it. There’s nothing that’s set in stone. There’s nothing that says I’m not going to run the ball more. I guess we’ll just see as the year goes on.”

The Hokies suffered defensively last week when cornerback and team leader Kyle Fuller left the game early with an injury and did not return. It caused younger players to try to take on his communication responsibilities, and resulted in several blown assignments. But Fuller will be back this week.

The loss made it unlikely the Hokies still have a chance at their ultimate goal, a national championship, but they still have an early leg up on a spot in the ACC’s championship game.

“I guess we’re out of the (national) hunt, as they say,” Thomas said. “But it doesn’t matter. We still have a lot to play for. We still have ACCs to play for. I guess that’s the big thing on our to-do list.”

The quest, the Hokies hope, begins anew on Saturday.


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