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September 17, 2012

Big Performers: Pittsburgh Loss

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Saturday's trip to Pittsburgh did not go as planned, as the Hokies were stomped by the Panthers 35-17 amid turnovers, missed tackles, and poor offensive execution. The Hokies now must return home and regroup before next week's noon start against Bowling Green. There weren't too many bright spots, but today we identify the top five individual performers from the game.

5. Ronny Vandyke, Special Teams

You know it wasn't a particularly good day when a player can make the top five based on one example of incredible effort, but that's the kind of day it was for the Hokies Saturday. Their 94-yard punt return was one of the highlights of the day, but it probably wouldn't have happened if not for Vandyke's block near the 50.

Pittsburgh LB Eric Williams and WR Mike Shanahan were both chasing Jarrett down the sideline when Vandyke came out of nowhere and took them straight out the play with a beautiful block. The block sent both Williams and Shanahan flying and left Jarrett to breeze past the punter on his way to the end zone.

4. Corey Fuller, wide receiver

Fuller finished with four receptions for 44 yards and didn't do anything spectacular, although he did catch everything that was thrown his way. Fuller continued his strong start to the season Saturday afternoon and is clearly now the number two receiver on this team.

3. Michael Cole, rover

Cole was forced into action Saturday first because of a gimpy Detrick Bonner and then for good once Kyle Fuller was ruled out with a shoulder contusion. Cole played admirably well in his first major action of the year, flying around and generally showing more aggression and confidence in the open field than anyone else on the defense yesterday.

Cole finished the day with eight tackles and one quarterback hurry (which resulted in the injury to Pitt QB Tino Sunseri). With injuries beginning to pile up in the secondary, Cole's continued development week-to-week is going to be crucial.

2. Marcus Davis, wide receiver

Davis had a huge statistical day Saturday, hauling in four passes for 129 yards and a touchdown. He had an awesome catch and run on his 85-yard touchdown, but his day could have been much bigger.

In the third quarter, quarterback Logan Thomas just through ahead of Davis' outstretched arms, resulting in an incomplete pass. However, if that throw is on the numbers, Davis glides into the end zone for a 64-yard touchdown and Tech pulls within four at 21-17.

1. Kyshoen Jarrett, punt returner

For the second straight week, Jarrett used a big punt return to really wake the Hokies up as to what was happening. This time, it wasn't enough to correct the mistakes being made, but Jarrett's 94-yard return was one of the best returns in Virginia Tech history.

Jarrett fielded a beautiful punt from Pittsburgh's Matt Yoklic at the Virginia Tech six yard-line and immediately headed towards the Virginia Tech sideline. He picked up a few key early blocks from Christian Reeves and Michael Holmes before sprinting up the sideline. Vandyke's block around the 50 gave him the final key block he needed before juking out the punter and coasting into the end zone.


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