College Football Corner: Navy moves forward; Virginia Tech’s strong finish

Virginia Tech quarterback Hendon Hooker got his first start of 2020 and made up for lost time with an incredible performance over Boston College.(Courtesy NBC Sports Washington)

It is often said that while the most important position on a college football team is the quarterback, the second most important position is the backup QB.

All three D.C. area schools have had to use second stringers this fall, with Virginia and Navy delivering in-game promotions due to injury and Virginia Tech needing help due to coronavirus concerns.

While the backup doesn’t often win you games, he has to play well enough not to lose them.

Tyger Goslin gave Navy a boost Saturday when called upon, but Dalen Morris remains the best option at that position when he gets healthy.

And while the combination of Braxton Burmeister and Quincy Patterson II was good enough for Virginia Tech in their first two games, they looked a world better with Hendon Hooker at the controls.

Virginia’s passing game seems a shell of its former self without a healthy Brennan Armstrong, and don’t even get me started about Maryland’s quarterback carousel: The Terps have had to start multiple quarterbacks in 13 of the last 14 seasons.

Navy (3-2) improved to 3-0 in the AAC by holding off East Carolina 27-23. The game began with Pirates quarterback Holton Ahlers not suiting up because of coronavirus protocols and continued with Navy QB Dalen Morris getting knocked out of the game by a late hit.

While ECU understudy Mason Garcia may have put up better numbers than Morris and his backup Tyger Goslin, the Mids were able to make plays when it mattered for the second straight week.

Midshipman Medals: Nelson Smith rushed for a career high 157 yards and two touchdowns while Tyger Goslin rushed for 27 yards after taking over the offense in the second half.

Diego Fagot, after missing the game against Temple with injury, tallied 12 tackles as the defense held the Pirates to 3 of 13 on third down while recovering a pair of fumbles.

Midshipman Miscues: The offense had issues early, losing an interception and fumble in the first quarter. Bijan Nichols missed an extra point while Daniel Davies averaged 29.6 yards per punt.

Next: Saturday at home against 1-1 Houston at 3:30 p.m.

Virginia (1-3) appeared as if it had recovered from another slow start, but the Cavaliers faded in the second half of their 40-23 loss at Wake Forest. The key to U.Va.’s improvement over Head Coach Bronco Mendenhall’s tenure has been the development of the defense, and so far this year it appears as if they’ve taken a step back while allowing 35 points per game.

Cavalier Congrats: The offense tallied 218 yards on the ground, with Keytaon Thompson, Wayne Taulapapa and Iraken Armstead each averaging more than 6 yards per carry.

Billy Kemp IV notched nine more catches for 68 yards; the junior’s 36 receptions are second in the ACC to Pitt’s Jordan Addison’s 38 receptions.

Jowon Briggs recorded two sacks while the defense held the Demon Deacons to 4 of 15 on third down. Brian Delaney made three of four field goal attempts.

Cavalier Concerns: Two second-half turnovers led to 10 points for Wake Forest. Lindell Stone checked down early and often, averaging eight yards per completion while the offense moved the chains on just 4 of 15 third downs. The defense allowed touchdown passes of 40 and 75 yards.

Next: Saturday on the road against 4-1 Miami at 8 p.m.

No. 23 Virginia Tech (3-1) recovered two first quarter Boston College fumbles and only had one field goal to show for it, but wound up pulling away thanks to their best defensive effort of the season in a 40-14 rout of the Eagles.

They also avenged last year’s week one loss to BC, not that former Big East foes keep track of that sort of thing.

Hokie Highlights: Hendon Hooker made his first start of the season and ran for 164 yards and two touchdowns while throwing for 111 and another score.

Khalil Herbert rushed for 143 yards on a day where his former team Kansas managed just 62 in a loss at West Virginia.

Chamarri Conner tallied 11 tackles and the defense turned BC over five times. Brian Johnson made two of three field goals while Oscar Bradburn averaged 50.3 yards per punt.

Hokie Humblings: There were issues on third down as the offense moved the chains on 3 of 9 occasions while the defense remained on the field on 9 of 15 opportunities (and BC converted 2 of 3 fourth downs).

Seven penalties didn’t hurt them — this time.

Next: Saturday at 3:30 p.m. at 2-2 Wake Forest.

Dave Preston

Dave has been in the D.C. area for 10 years and in addition to working at WTOP since 2002 has also been on the air at Westwood One/CBS Radio as well as Red Zebra Broadcasting (Redskins Network).

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