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September 21, 2013

Impact Analysis: VT Over Marshall

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Talk about a monsoon. It wasn't quite the hurricane that Virginia Tech played in against Texas A&M years ago, but the Hokies withstood a torrential downpour at Lane Stadium today.

They also withstood a seven-point deficit, the loss of their senior starting kicker and three missed field goals by his replacement. But in the end, it was Virginia Tech's senior quarterback and defense getting it done in triple overtime for a 29-21 win over Marshall.

Beamer Ball looks to be back. The Hokies' special teams still needs work, but they put in their best effort of the young season. First, senior Kyle Fuller blocked a Thundering Herd punt that was scooped up by Derek DiNardo and returned 11 yards for a touchdown. It was Virginia Tech's first blocked punt against an FBS team since Boise State in the 2010 season-opener.

Junior Kyshoen Jarrett almost nearly had a punt return for a touchdown, instead being run out of bounds in the third quarter. The play was negated though, on a block in the back penalty. Finally, in the first overtime, the Hokies blocked a field goal that kept them in the game after missing one of their own.

It was more struggles at kicker, with Ethan Keyserling missing three field goals on the day. Senior Cody Journell was suspended for the game for an undisclosed violation of team rules and in his place, Keyserling battled a tough snap on the first miss and later, wind and heavy rain.

The nation's No. 2 team in total defense entering the game, Virginia Tech's defense struggled in the first half. Marshall had a 21-14 lead on 205 yards of total offense, but didn't score after that, while the Hokies picked up four sacks and a pair of interceptions in the second half.

And offensively, the Virginia Tech running game got back in order for the most part, with 230 yards, 110 coming from redshirt freshman Trey Edmunds. Senior quarterback Logan Thomas also had a pair of rushing touchdowns, as well as a two-point conversion in the third overtime.

But it came down to the Hokies keeping calm, even as the wind gusted, the rain fell heavier and they trailed by seven.

Virginia Tech probably won't play in too many rain-drenched games. For them to remain cool under pressure though, says a lot.

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