No Justin Thomas, no Freddie Burden, no Dedrick Mills, no problem? That looks like a very unlikely formula to me, but it worked extremely well for the Jackets over the weekend in a shocking 30-20 victory over the No. 14 Virginia Tech Hokies up in Blacksburg. Backup signal caller Matthew Jordan took the reigns from the injured Thomas and simply never looked back, disregarding minor mistakes and proving to be the absolute embodiment of “three yards and a cloud of dust” by rushing 32 times for 121 yards (3.8 yards per carry) and a pair of touchdowns. It was a throwback performance for the Jackets, as Jordan completed a grand total of two passes — one to Ricky Jeune and one to Brad Stewart — for 34 yards. How on earth that gameplan worked against Bud Foster’s defense is beyond me, but winning the turnover battle four to one is likely a big reason why. When all was said and done, Tech racked up 343 yards of total offense despite having just six total players touch the ball.
The team even got five sacks, despite coming into the game with a meager seven all season long. Simply put, you won’t find a stranger yet more successful day anywhere in the country. Good on Paul Johnson and the coaching staff for changing things up, although many of those changes were likely the product of necessity rather than desire. They were able to keep Justin Thomas out of the game and get a win, effectively giving us the absolute best-case scenario out of what is always a terrifying trip up to Blacksburg. The fact that we likely saw a glimpse of the future, with Matthew Jordan taking snaps from true freshman Kenny Cooper, made the victory even more fun. Perhaps surreal is the right word, actually. I don’t think anyone saw that coming, but no one around the program could be any happier the day after.
The Hokies even had to dedicate added security to their “T”, posting a security guard in front of it for hours before and after the game. It was just that kind of weekend in Virginia.
Hours after game, Virginia Tech keeping watch over ‘T’ in stadium sign https://t.co/tE1rf6eMcA pic.twitter.com/6oVZJoRDua— Ken Sugiura (@ksugiuraajc) November 13, 2016
Even outside of Lane Stadium, this weekend was one of the absolute strangest in recent memory if not ever. Not one, not two, but three of the top four program suffered losses, as No. 2 Clemson fell to Pitt on -- what else? — a last second Chris Blewitt field goal, No. 3 Michigan fell on a last second field goal from of their own from Iowa, and No. 4 Washington was defeated by USC in hideous fashion. What else went down? Well, top-10 Louisville had to score 34 fourth-quarter points to pull away from Wake Forest, No. 9 Auburn fell to Georgia, and No. 8 Texas A&M to Ole Miss and freshmen quarterback Shea Patterson. Even Japan is reporting on the magnitude of all these upsets! I sincerely doubt — and the CFP voters pray — that we will ever see such a crazy weekend again. Roll Tide, and such.