Virginia Tech’s best performance on its schedule came against the then-ranked No. 11 Miami (FL) Hurricanes, winning 42-24 on the road. The Hokies posted its best offensive performance, racking up 549 yards against the Miami defense. When this team could move the ball effectively, it excelled. But as most Tech fans already know, points didn’t come easy in 2013.
Regardless of how shaky the offense could be, this was still a winning season for Beamer and his team. Let’s take a look at how Virginia Tech graded out this year:
This grade could have ranged anywhere from a D to a B+, all depending on how senior quarterback Logan Thomas performed. But Thomas never really broke out in a big matchup, other than a 336-yard, two-touchdowns output agains the Canes. Thomas was also a key aspect of the Hokies’ running game, carrying the ball 162 times for 344 yards (team’s second leading rusher). Speaking of the running game, that’s what a Beamer-coached team is expecting to excel at. Virginia Tech was uncharacteristically ranked 109th in the country in rushing yards per game (119.8). But even with a better ground attack, this offense was only going as far as Thomas was going to take it. I’m sure the Hokies will focus on getting in the end zone in 2014—as the offense only scored 22.5 points per game this past season (ranked 101st in the FBS).
Virginia Tech finished fourth in the country in total defense (283.2 yards a game), and that’s quite impressive. As great as that ranking was, it doesn’t necessarily surprise anyone. Defensive coordinator Bud Foster is arguably one of the top defensive minds in college football today. Foster did have quite a bit of talent to work with in 2013. Named the ACC Defensive Rookie of the Year, cornerback Kendall Fuller was a ball hawk for this defense’s secondary. Fuller acquired six interceptions in 2013, which ranked ninth in the country. Senior linebacker Jack Tyler was all over the field for the Hokies, compiling 100 tackles and five sacks on the year. As good as this defense was, it did struggle to stop mobile quarterbacks. Both C.J. Brown (Maryland) and Brett Hundley (UCLA) got the best of Virginia Tech, with the two quarterbacks accumulating for 283 yards and fourth touchdowns on the ground! Both of these games accounted for two of the Hokies’ five losses this season.
Virginia Tech did finish second in the ACC Coastal Division, but the team ultimately wasn’t very impressive in some of its wins. It took the Hokies three overtimes to defeat Marshall (29-21) and it barely beat East Carolina, 15-10. They also suffered losses against Maryland and Boston College, games that were expected to be won by Tech. It also hurt to lose to UCLA 42-12 in the Sun Bowl. But overall, it was a solid season for Beamer and the Hokies. If the offense could begin to match the defensive production, the Hokies could play with anyone in 2014.