October 10, 2011
    Thomas performance against Miami may be the best ever by a Tech QB

    Did Virginia Tech quarterback Logan Thomas just play the greatest game ever by a Tech quarterback?

    The answer, of course, depends on what yardstick you use to gauge such subjective accomplishments, but in scouring the record book, it’s hard to find a better individual performance than Thomas’ on Saturday in the Hokies’ 38-35 win over Miami.

    Logan was 23-for-25 for 310 yards and three touchdowns. He also ran for two touchdowns, including the game-winning dash in the final minute.

    Thomas’ performance against the Hurricanes had it all – tremendous composure, remarkable accuracy and consistency, rugged running (as evidenced by his first quarter ‘trucking’ of Miami’s Sean Spence) and, of course, heroic drama. Thomas scored the game winner on a fourth-and-1 keeper in the final minute after engineering a 77-yard touchdown drive with incredible poise and marksmanship.

    Statistically, Thomas became the first Tech quarterback since Michael Vick in 1999 to have more touchdown passes than incomplete passes in game. (Vick did it twice). His 92-percent accuracy mark for the game was the highest ever for a Tech quarterback with at least 20 attempts in a single game.

    Several other Tech quarterbacks, like Don Strock and Bryan Randall, have had higher passing yards in a single game. Strock threw for 527 yards against Houston in 1972, and Randall had five-touchdown, 504-yard passing day at Syracuse in 2002. Rushing-wise, Vick exploded for 210 yards at BC in 2000, and Bob Schweickert scampered for 204 yards against Richmond in 1963.

    But when you put look at the entire picture of Thomas’ performance against Miami, it’s difficult to find a better game.

    Vick had plenty of terrific outings, of course. Against Rutgers in 2000, he was 11-for-12 for 248 yards and four touchdowns. He also ran for 68 yards and a touchdown in that game. Vick also threw for 225 yards and ran for 97 against Florida State in the 2000 Sugar Bowl game. That’s the best previous singular performance I can recall, considering the stage and the stakes of that game at the Superdome.

    But in researching more than 50 years of games, no other quarterback completed over 90 percent of his passes in a single game (with 20-plus attempts) and put up five touchdowns, including the clutch game winner in the final minute. So Thomas’ effort might be a new standard.

    Regardless, the Hokies hope Thomas’ effort will serve as a great jump-start for his career, and not just a one-day, statistical anomaly. When you look at Thomas’ makeup and skill set, he makes it near impossible to envision him as a ‘one-hit-wonder,’ although there have been plenty of big leaguers who have hit for the cycle in one game and then find themselves in the minor leagues the following season.

    It’s also impossible to expect him to top – or even duplicate – what he did against Miami again. As we know, those days don’t happen very often for any quarterback.

    At the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter. What’s important is that his performance against Miami can serve as a great launching point for Thomas and his personal growth as a quarterback.

    He’s replacing a guy in Tyrod Taylor who won more games that any other Virginia Tech quarterback, so he has big shoes to fill. And in his sixth start, Thomas showed toughness, poise, tremendous passing skills and Tyrod-esque leadership in bringing the Hokies from behind in the final minute to win.

    Best game ever for a Tech QB? Perhaps.

    That is certain: Thomas is going to be one exciting player to watch over the next few years.

    Bill,
    No one is a bigger Hokie football fan than I. But I've got to say the crowd at the Clemson game disgusted me. Booing the punter was just no-class behavior. He is a “KID” attending college and works every day for your university. It is just poor form to boo him in front of the whole nation. I'd be willing to bet everything I own that no one feels worse than he does.

    Can any of the boo birds do better? Got any eligibility? I'd be willing to bet most of them do because they weren't and aren't good enough to smell the grass of the practice field.

    I hope you'll bring this up on the radio show. Don't we have a Hokies Respect campaign or some such? Well, that behavior was not respectful of anyone: Demler, the university or the rest of the team.
    Go Hokies
    John Reilly, Staunton, Va.

    John,

    Well stated. I would think that most fans would agree with you.

    Bill,

    Great piece on Syracuse and Pitt joining the ACC. Two questions: 1. Do you feel the 27-month waiting period will be either shortened or eliminated? and 2. Assuming the ACC does expand to 16 schools, do you anticipate UConn and Rutgers being invited to join? I agree that the ACC can now become the premier Eastern seaboard athletics/academics conference – not that it’s not already there. Great work, Bill. Best regards, Howard Pardue, Fontana, Calif.

    Howard,

    The conference shuffling is too fluid to predict. However, I’d be surprised if Syracuse, Pitt and the Big East don’t reach an agreement for an earlier departure. I think UConn and Rutgers could be options down the road, but the situation is just too fluid to make a solid prediction.

    Bill,

    Great article about ACC expansion. I could not agree more. As someone you grew up an ACC basketball fan and now living in the Northeast, I'm pumped. I miss those biannual road trips to the Carrier Dome for the VT-Syracuse Big East games. But there is nothing better than watching the Hokies play Duke or UNC in basketball. Now we can have both.

    My question has to do with the ACC divisions. Do you think the Atlantic and Coastal Divisions will get rearranged to allow Syracuse, Pitt and BC to be in the same division? Also, do you think the ACC will start divisional play for basketball like the SEC? Thanks, Bill. James Thompson, Philadelphia, Pa.

    James,

    Great questions. Too early to know for sure, but there are various models to consider in terms of divisions, scheduling, tournaments and such for the different sports. For example, is an eight-team baseball tournament right for a 14-team league? Should there be two basketball divisions (like the SEC) or one (like the Big East)? Should divisions be based on geography (like the SEC) or based on balance (Big Ten)?

    My hunch is the Coastal and Atlantic stay intact in football and baseball, and there’s one division for other sports. However, the scheduling matrix will have to change maybe based on pods, or perhaps a second permanent crossover opponent is included, to ensure Pitt, Syracuse and BC all play each year. There are a lot of models to consider here, and it’s too early to truly know how it will evolve. I would suspect the basketball schedule will increase to 18 games and wouldn’t be surprised to see the number of football game increase from the current eight conference games per year.

    Bill,

    I enjoyed your article on the ACC addition of Pitt and Syracuse, and I agree with you that it is a great addition. One comment in your article that I do not understand or agree with is the Big East handling by Mike Tranghese. I felt he cared little about the football schools, and in particular, Virginia Tech. He was forced to try and satisfy them to keep the ones with good basketball happy. He let the conference become so disjointed that the present decaying situation they are in now is a result of his actions or non-actions. Luckily, Dave Gavitt is not around to see the destruction of the Big East that started under Mike Tranghese. And, as a VT graduate and fan, who watched Tranghese treat the Hokies like dirt, I smile when I think about us in the ACC now and the conference getting other fine universities that wanted out of the Big East. Tom, Roanoke.

    Tom,

    You’ve painted Mike Tranghese is a really bad light here, and that’s grossly unfair. In fact, your comments are hurtful and misguided. Mike pushed for Virginia Tech’s inclusion in Big East football when the league was originally formed in 1991. As you recall, there were several other independent schools that could’ve been included back then, and Mike was a very vocal proponent for the Hokies.

    Secondly, remember that Mike served three constituencies: The basketball-only schools, the football schools and Notre Dame. That’s a tough job, and he had to answer to a group of presidents who wanted to keep the Big East together, even in its hybrid state. It was the presidents of the Big East schools, notably the basketball-only institutions, who made the decision to exclude Tech in the league’s 1994 expansion, not the commissioner. It was the presidents who insisted on staying together then, and again in 2003, when a split seemed inevitable. Mike had to navigate a very difficult playing field here, and his job was to answer to all those presidents who insisted on staying together despite the hybrid nature of the conference, and its diverse membership.

    I talked with former Tech AD David Braine about your e-mail this week. His response: “If it wasn’t for Michael Tranghese, Virginia Tech would never have been in the Big East for football. Mike and Sam Jankovich (Miami’s AD from 1983-90) were the two biggest proponents for getting Tech in back then (in 1991). Without Mike Tranghese, Virginia Tech never gets into the Big East.”

    I also asked Dave about the Big East’s 1994 expansion, which excluded Tech, even though the Hokies were members of Big East football. “Mike had nothing to do with that,” he said. “That was 100 percent the basketball schools who didn’t want Virginia Tech at that point. The presidents and the AD’s of the basketball schools made that decision.”

    Tom, I appreciate your passion toward Tech, but your angst toward the Big East is totally off base. I’ve heard similar comments from others, too, which is baffling. The Big East was a tremendous home for Virginia Tech, and Mike Tranghese was – and, to this day, is – a friend and supporter of Tech. We should all be appreciative of the positive impact he had, and the Big East had, on Virginia Tech athletics.

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