It only took a single play in Virginia Tech’s 38-10 win over North Carolina State Saturday night to show just how much separates the two programs.
Leading 24-10 midway through the third quarter, freshman running back Ryan Williams took the ball off the left side, where the Pack’s Earl Wolff grabbed him from behind.
That did not stop Wiliams, though, who carried Wolff 12 yards and into the end zone for his career-best fourth touchdown of the game.
For the eighth time this season, Williams put the Hokies on his back (a la Wolff) and carried them to a big victory. He finished the day with 120 yards on 32 carries.
The Wolfpack sputtered out of the gate, fumbling on three of its first four offensive plays, losing two of them. Both turnovers led to Tech scores, giving the Hokies a 10-0 lead halfway through the first quarter.
Tyrod Taylor continued his superb play against the weaker defenses of the ACC, completing 9-of-17 passes for 197 yards and a touchdown.
The Hokies have been an episode of Wiley Coyote and the Road Runner all season long. Everyone knows that the Road Runner escapes Wiley’s evil plan at the end of every episode. When the Hokies have played the worst of the ACC, they have cleaned house in 20-point plus beat downs.
It’s the same old song and dance when those cellar-dwellers face the Hokies. Williams is nearly impossible to tackle, Taylor looks like a poised quarterback, and the defense is a run-stuffing machine.
Unfortunately for Tech, the latter two only seem to occur against the bad teams.
Marshall, Boston College, Maryland, and State have made Tech look like a top-10 team. Where was the poised Taylor on a Thursday night in Blacksburg against North Carolina? Where was that run-stuffing defense when Georgia Tech gauged the Hokies for nearly 300 yards on the ground?
Tech has all the talent they need on both sides of the football to be sitting at 10-1 right now. It’s the motivation or focus they lack. When facing the mid-level to upper-echelon teams in the conference, Tech has failed to step up to the challenge, save for a rain-soaked evening against Miami.
Next week, Tech will probably walk into Scott Stadium and let Williams run wild against a beleaguered Cavalier defense for 120-plus yards and a few scores to finish the season 9-3.
This program has been missing excitement on game days. Williams has been the saving grace this season, but he is the first player to electrify Lane Stadium in three years.
Where are guys like Eddie Royal, Xavier Adibi, Jimmy Williams, Bryan Randall, DeAngelo Hall, Jeff King, or Chris Ellis?
Those players saw Virginia Tech through the most exciting years of the program, when Lane Stadium truly was one of the most five feared stadiums in America. While its still up there in the ranks of vaunted venues, the feeling Lane carried through every game five years ago doesn’t seem to be there now.
It needs to come from the motivation of the players; to buckle up and drive right through the UNC’s of the world. They need to bring that energy back to Lane. Starting with the final minute of the Nebraska game and running through the Miami game, it seemed that Lane was once again the “Terror Dome.”
As this season’s home schedule comes to an end, here’s hoping for a rejuvenated program next year with more than just another 10-win season as the result.