The first real weekend of college football is over.
On Labor Day The Hokies held FSU to their worst offensive output in Tallahassee since 2008.
Florida State’s offensive line had more trouble blocking the Tech front seven than a secretary might have blocking out an accoutant’s schedule on the week leading up to Tax Day.
Despite several opportunities in the game where the Noles could have created a comeback, they merely threatened and VT locked up the game with an impressive second half to win 24-3.
Meanwhile, in Charlottesville the Bryce Perkins era got off to a laughable start. He threw a pick-6 for the first score of the game as Richmond linebacker Dale Matthews took it 72 yards to the house. Things immediately got better for UVA as they would then score touchdowns on their next four drives to blowout UR 42-13. People laughing at Perkins after the interception started to realize he might be legit.
Down in Raleigh, NC the Dukes of JMU played a tight contest falling to NC State 24-13. Ben DiNucci looked like the real deal. The Madison defense also looked legit facing the #1 QB prospect (Ryan Finley) in the 2019 NFL Draft. The Wolfpack receivers were dangerous and Mike Houston’s club was without top defensive back Rashad Robinson, who is out for the entirety of the season.
Perhaps the biggest under the radar story was the Liberty Flames. I boldly stated that ODU was the 3rd best team in the state last week. Liberty proved that was a terrible take. Turner Gill has a QB in Stephen Calvert, two backs in the form of Kentory Matthews and Peyton Pickett and a game breaking receiver in DJ Stubbs.
With all of that in mind let’s get to some observations…
Gamer of the Week – Caleb Farley
Each week I’m going to pick a local player who just balled out.
This week it was Caleb Farley. The former wide receiver turned defensive back is a baller. He missed all of last season due to injury but showed up big for the Hokies in their win Monday. Farley had two picks and a sack on a cornerback blitz.
The stats aren’t why he gets this accolade. His vision and tenaciousness are my justification.
Farley ran a better route than the receiver for the first pick.
He read the pass like an NFL safety on the second pick.
His corner blitz was textbook. Lineup like you’re about to play bump and run man coverage, then attack the angle to the QB a little wider than the left tackle.
Brilliant gaming, Caleb.
Let Down of the Week – JMU
Alright hear me out on this one….
Yes, NC State will likely finish in 2nd in the ACC Atlantic and will have as good a shot to beat Clemson as anyone if they live up to the hype.
Yes, JMU was without their best defender in a game where they honestly needed him to win.
BUT, both James Madison field goals were inside the NC State 20.
To me, someone who treats the Dukes like an FBS school, with high expectations, I have to believe while the Dukes’ coaching staff was proud of the way they played, they would have liked to punch both of those possessions in the endzone.
I agree, this is hyper criticism. I get that this is a bit harsh, I have high standards for legit contenders and JMU is one. If you want to be a champion you have to finish and you have to maximize opportunities. JMU played at a very high level and it may have been unfair for me to expect them to win this game. But I did, and they didn’t, and at the very least it was a let down knowing this talented offense couldn’t close things out in the Redzone.
On a side note, the DiNucci/R. Stapleton connection is one that should scare the CAA.
JMU will be fine and should still win 10 games and be a playoff contender.
Big Picture Concern – ODU
Where is this program headed? Last season they did not qualify for a bowl. This year they open up their slate losing to Liberty in embarrassing fashion.
Bobby Wilder is a good coach. Yet, this team doesn’t appear to be headed on a good trajectory. Is C-USA so bad that the Monarchs can bounce back and contend? Or will they continue to trend downward?
Congrats – Jimmye Laycock
The legendary Tribe coach kicked off his final season with a 14-7 win over Bucknell.
On the Radar – UVA@Indiana
VT has William and Mary this coming weekend, which should be a straight forward win for the Hokies. UR and JMU should both be favorites. Liberty isn’t a favorite, Army currently is a 10 pt favorite but I’d take the Flames.
So with all that in mind, the biggest immediate question is can UVA start 2-0?
It’s a road game, but the Hoosiers are without their top two runners from last season.
Can Bryce Perkins continue to prove he is legit? Will Ellis/Zaccheaus keep posting video game numbers? Is the defense going to improve enough to be ready for a rough November slate?
Lot’s of questions for the ‘Hoos and all our local teams, but one thing is for sure, Texas might not be back, Miami might not be back, Michigan might not be back, BUT college football is back!