Midseason report: Virginia Tech

Are the Hokies truly back as a perennial top 25 team? The first half of the year makes last season look like a mirage. Through seven games, Virginia Tech is already bowl eligible and back in the rankings, thanks to a stellar defense and improvement from quarterback Logan Thomas. It is the defense that has been the story so far, ranking No. 4 in the nation in total D, No. 7 in scoring D, No. 12 in rushing D, No. 4 in passing defense efficiency, No. 1 in interceptions and No. 2 in sacks. Louisville is the only other school in the nation to rank in the top 12 in those six categories.

Given the returning starters among the line and linebackers, Virginia Tech expected improvement this season. But watching true freshmen Brandon Facyson and Kendall Fuller step in like veterans has made this the best overall defensive group in the ACC.

As for the offense, there is still much room for improvement. Thomas has gotten better, but Virginia Tech still has no running game to speak of midway through the season, ranking No. 11 in the ACC with 117.6 yards per game. That’s worse than a year ago. Virginia Tech also ranks No. 13 in the ACC in total offense, which is why this season has not been picture perfect to watch.

It has been downright ugly at times. Virginia Tech had to survive one slog at East Carolina, and a three-overtime game against Marshall just to get to this point. The Hokies have not beaten any of their FBS opponents by more than 10 points. But with a defense that is playing as well as Virginia Tech's right now, the offense is not going to need to get into shootouts to win. This is a formula that has worked for the Hokies to this point. And it’s one they will continue to rely on as they make their push to win the Coastal.

Offensive MVP: Logan Thomas, QB. Thomas started off shaky this season but has been much improved over the last three games, throwing five touchdowns to zero interceptions while completing 66.6 percent of his passes. You can tell he is growing more comfortable in the offensive system and gaining more confidence in his receivers.

Defensive MVP: Kyle Fuller, CB. The entire defense has been the MVP of this team but since we have to choose one player, we are going with Fuller. He leads the ACC and ranks in the top 10 nationally in passes defended. He also has been a big-time leader for this group, especially working with the young players in the secondary to bring them along without much transition time.