Written by Adrian Beecher
Tallahassee, FL – FSU won the toss and elected to differ to the second half, giving the Hokies possession to start the 2018 season and they didn’t wast any time.
Quarterback Josh Jackson would lead Virginia Tech on a 75-yard 10 play drive to open up the game, capping it off with a 10-yard passing TD to Damon Hazelton. This made it 7-0 with only 4:26 expired off the clock.
Then it was the Noles turn to get to work, and on the third play of the drive, Deondre Francois hit Keith Gavin for 24 yards to pick up the first down. However, on the ensuing play, Nyqwan Murray caught a shovel pass for a loss of eight yards and then Murray fumbled the ball and it was picked up by Tech defender Khalil Ladler at the Noles 35 yard line.
Va Tech would capitalize on the turnover as Deshawn McClease rushed to the left for 23 yards. This set up what would be a 29-yard field goal from Tech’s Brian Johnson to put the Hokies up 10-0 with 7:52 left in the 1st quarter.
On the Noles 2nd drive of the game, penalties killed their drive with one negating a 13 yard first down run from Jacques Patrick. The drive would end in a punt, which the Noles were able to down inside the five, flipping field position. The Noles would force a punt from the Hokies and then got to work.
Francois hit running back Khalan Laborn out in the left flat, then Laborn cut back across the field, picking up some blocks for a 37 yard gain. Then two plays later, Francois connected with Gavin in the middle of the field for a 21-yard completion to make it 1st and 10 at the Hokies 23 yard line. The drive would end up in a 32-yard field goal try from Ricky Aguayo that sailed just wide left.
Virginia Tech would be forced to punt again after a 15-yard unsportsmanlike foul on Hezekiah Grimsley put the Hokies into a 1st and 25 after a 1st down pickup on the first play of the drive.
FSU then got to work, putting together their first scoring drive of the night. Despite getting down to the 1-yard line on a 30-yard connection from Francois to Nyqwan Murray, the drive would stall out as the Noles settled for a 22 yard Aguayo field goal to make it 10-3 Hokies with 7:26 left in the half.
The Hokies and Noles would then trade punts, however, Tech would block the FSU punt. Chris Cunningham caught the punt and walked into the end zone for a TD. This made it 17-3 Hokies with 3:57 left in the 1st half.
Things would then get worse for FSU as Francois would be picked off on their first play of the drive. The FSU defense was able to stand tall and force a punt, preventing any further damage and getting possession back with 3:30 left in the half.
Big plays on the ensuing drive from FSU, including a 32-yard connection with Francois to Tamorrion Terry would set the Noles up deep in Hokies territory. However, on 4th and 3 from the Tech 21 yard line, the Noles elected to go for it. The pass from Francois, intended for Cam Akers was tipped, forcing a turnover on downs.
FSU’s defense would again step up and force a 3 and out, giving the offense the ball back with 35 seconds left in the half. They were not able to get anything going ahead of the end of the first half.