While the scoreboard is perhaps the only statistic that matters, it's hard to deny that the result is due to a combination of smaller stats and trends within the game. Some stats have a direct correlation to the final score, others don't tell the entire story, and there are some that just flat-out don't make sense.
As many of you noticed in the live chat, I'm extremely passionate about stats. In my column debut, I'll be breaking down all the numbers from the Florida State battle. Those stats will be filtered through five categories, and will give you a different outlook of how Florida State defeated the Hokies 28-22.
The Hokie defense produced a great performance, but it's tough to win when FSU junior quarterback
Five penalties seems like a lot, but the Seminoles only lost a total 26 yards on those infractions. The crowd was able to force a few procedure penalties, but ultimately Florida State played a very disciplined ballgame.
The Seminole defense was able to force three turnovers, including a game-ending interception of junior quarterback
Naturally, it all starts with the running game. If Thomas can't get going on the ground (10 carries for 16 yards), the Hokies are always in trouble. Freshman running back
As mentioned, Florida State played disciplined football; however, Virginia Tech racked up 62 yards of penalties on just six infractions. While the Hokies out-gained the Seminoles by 74 yards, they lost the penalty yardage battle by 36 yards. It's not much, but that surely had an impact in a game that came down to the final seconds.
Kickoffs have also continued to plague the Hokies. Freshman
Obviously the one stat that makes zero sense is the -15 rushing yards Florida State was able to accumulate. The Seminoles came into the game with the 14th best rushing attack in the nation, but averaged -0.7 yards per rush against the Hokie D.
As mentioned before the game,
Senior wide receiver
The stats showed just how well Virginia Tech played on defense. The Hokies tied a season-high with five sacks, and also set a new season-high of 12 tackles for loss. Junior linebacker
As much as the Hokies struggled on kickoffs, Freshman
While the running backs produced abysmal stats on the ground, they opened up a new facet of the offense that will hopefully be built upon. Coleman and Gregory were able to get the ball in space on short dumps, resulting in a combined five catches for 59 yards. Each produced a reception of at least 14 yards, and Gregory's third-down conversion paved the way for junior kicker
Not to the surprise of many Hokie fans, Thomas extended his interception streak to eight games. This includes three straight multi-pick games, and he hasn't thrown for multiple touchdowns since Duke. Thomas has also failed to throw for three touchdowns (unlike his counterpart Manuel) in every game thus far.
Although the defense played well, Manuel's 326 yards was the third time the unit has given up at least 300 yards passing this season. To put that in perspective, the Hokies had only allowed two opponents to record 300+ yards through the air in the previous four years.