For those that missed it, the Old Dominion Monarchs upset No. 13 Virginia Tech this past Saturday afternoon, 49-35. According to ESPN, ODU had a 1.8 percent chance of winning and did the unthinkable. Going into the game, ODU was winless with losses to Liberty, FIU and Charlotte. To make matters worse, ODU was blown out by Tech last year 38-0. The Monarchs unbelievable win has caused ripple effects across the entire ACC.
Tech’s loss was one of the biggest upsets in college football and the biggest upset in the ACC in the past 40 years. The Hokies gave up 632 yards to the previously winless Monarchs. This was the most yards allowed under defensive coordinator Bud Foster in his 24-year tenure. A team known for defense was outplayed by the Monarch’s backup quarterback. Blake LaRussa entered the game during ODU’s second drive and went on to throw for 495 yards, four touchdowns and zero interceptions. He also ran for another. Jeremy Cox ran for 130 yards and two touchdowns for the Monarchs. Cox finished with a 40-yard touchdown run to put the game out of reach with 1.30 left.
The Hokies could not stop the combined aerial and run attack by the Monarchs. Missed and broken tackles were a huge problem for the defense all game as were penalties. The Hokies committed seven penalties for 95 yards whereas ODU had two penalties for 10 yards. This dramatic loss has dropped Tech from the rankings and will probably cost them a spot in the college playoffs even if they win out.
Problems continued to plague VT even after the game ended. The Hokies quarterback Josh Jackson left early in the fourth quarter with a leg injury. The team announced earlier today that he suffered a fracture in his left fibula and will be out for an extended amount of time. Yesterday, the team announced they had dismissed star defensive end Trevon Hill due to a failure to uphold team standards. Hill was the team leader in sacks and will be missed for the pressure he could create. The loss to ODU has Tech stumbling out of control and it may be too late to bounce back.
Florida State was thrashed by Virginia Tech 24-3 during prime time back in week one. The match-up was supposed to showcase two top teams in the ACC but instead, it was a one-sided affair. Then this past weekend the Seminoles were thoroughly beaten by Syracuse 30-7.
Tech’s loss to ODU makes Florida State’s loss to Tech look even worse. The Seminoles scored three points, 327 yards of total offense and committed five turnovers. Meanwhile, the Monarchs scored 49 points and had 632 yards of total offense and committed zero turnovers. The Seminoles were totally outplayed by Tech who in turn were dismantled on defense against ODU.
Clemson is the ACC’s saving grace and Tech’s recent upset has put Clemson in a very dangerous position. Tech’s loss has given the Tiger’s zero margin for error. Besides Clemson, the ACC’s top teams have been a disappointment. Virginia Tech, Miami, and Florida State all have losses. With Miami’s loss to No. 5 LSU, the coming weeks will prove if the Hurricanes are for real or not. Similar to Clemson, they have no room for mistakes. Clemson has proven that they are capable of returning to the playoffs but a single loss may cost them their season. With many ACC teams struggling, Clemson’s strength of schedule index has greatly diminished.
The Tigers announced today that they are switching quarterbacks and that freshmen Trevor Lawrence will be starting for week five. Clemson likes what they have seen so far but, the pressure is on for Lawrence as he has to be almost perfect in order to lead the team back to the playoffs. Clemson is the ACC’s only chance at relevance for the season.
Featured Image From The Virginian-Pilot