There is a plethora of story lines that can summarize why the Hoos fell for the twelfth time in a row to the Hokies. From the nine penalties for 65 yards to the big plays that set up or scored touchdowns, Virginia played well enough to win, but ultimately didn't. In case you missed it, here was what we were looking for going into the game, and here is how the game played out, From the Upper Deck.
1) Make the Hokies outscore you - Of all the keys to the game, this one stands out as the most obvious reason for the loss. Virginia out-gained Virginia Tech 433 to 304. They dominated time of posession 34:37 to 25:23. They almost doubled their foes number of first downs 21-12. They didn't however dominate the scoreboard. And that is all that matters, right? Virginia Tech was able to capitalize on a couple big plays and turned each of their opportunities into points. Virginia's defense dominated early, providing the Virginia offense plenty of chances with the ball, but despite the ability to move the ball very easily, they just couldn't score. As I said in the preview, if the game is low scoring, advantage Hokies. In the end, that's exactly how it played out.
2) Contain the tight end - This key is a bit mixed in that for the most part, Virginia was able to hold the Hokie tights ends in check all day. It didn't look like that at the beginning though as Bucky Hodges caught three balls for 34 yards on the Hokies first two drives. However that would also equal his final stat line as the Hoos kept him catchless the rest of the way. They also had similar success against Ryan Malleck, holding him to only two catches on the afternoon. The kicker being that Malleck's 71 yard catch over the middle at the end of the third quarter could be seen as the play that turned the game. After scoring the game's first touchdown and with Virginia's defense dominating, it looked to be more than the Hokies could handle. That was until Malleck caught a ball over the middle, bounced of a Quin Blanding attempted tackle, and scampered 71 yards before being tackled on the Virginia four yard line setting up Virginia Tech's first touchdown. To add insult to injury, it was Hodges who made the block that sprung Malleck for his huge gain. So, on day when Virginia limited the duo to five catches for 100 yards and no touchdowns, it's a shame that wasn't enough for the victory.
3) Pound the rock - This key was clearly the most successful. On the day, Virginia rushed for 262 yards highlighted by Albert Reid's 57 yard touchdown run late in the third quarter that looked like it might be all the Hoos would need to get the win. Reid finished with team high 103 yards on the ground and even Matt Johns got in on the action rushing six times for 58 yards. Add to that, Olamide Zaccheaus appeared to have the "end around" any time he wanted on his way to 50 yards for the day. Unfortunately, the only part of Virginia's running game that wasn't a "success" was Taquan Mizzell's quest to record 700 rushing yards and 700 receiving yards on the season. While the receiving yardage was there with 721, he fell 29 yards short on the ground. However, the feat was nothing short of amazing and you'd be hard pressed not to have him in the conversation for team MVP.
The loss is the culmination of another frustrating and disapointing season. One that will be remembered for too many close calls and "could have beens." The season will likely cost Mike London his job as on the year, Virginia finished 4-8 overall, 3-5 in the ACC.