Season recap: Virginia Tech

Nobody could have ever predicted Virginia Tech’s 0-2 start, which included a loss to FCS school James Madison, but to those within the program, what followed came as no surprise. Virginia Tech became the only program in FBS history to follow an 0-2 start with 11 straight wins. The season-opening loss to Boise State immediately shut Virginia Tech out of the national title conversation, but with their 44-33 win over Florida State in the ACC title game, the Hokies have now won four league titles in seven seasons. They also became the first team in league history to beat nine ACC opponents in the same season. They did it with one of the deepest and most talented backfields in the country, averaging 35.5 points per game. ACC Player of the Year Tyrod Taylor’s measureable improvement in the passing game has made him a legitimate dual threat quarterback. The rotating trio of Darren Evans, David Wilson and Ryan Williams has the Hokies ranked No. 18 in rushing offense. And the defense, which had to replace seven starters, has improved throughout the season and recorded 14 interceptions in the past six games. Together they became the first undefeated team in league play since 2000.

Offensive MVP: Quarterback Tyrod Taylor. With three touchdowns against FSU in the title game, Taylor set the school single-season record for touchdown passes with 23. He was the game’s MVP for the second time in his career, and will leave as the winningest quarterback in school history. He leads the ACC in passing efficiency and is fourth in total offense.

Defensive MVP: Cornerback Jayron Hosley. He leads the ACC in passes defended with 15, including a league-high and nationally-best eight interceptions, and he is second in the conference in punt return average. He also leads the nation in interceptions per game (.73), and is one pick shy of setting the school record.

Turning point: Before the game against East Carolina, the seniors called a players-only meeting in the team auditorium. Each senior stood up and talked about how much work they had put into their collegiate careers and how much the season meant to them. Virginia Tech hasn’t lost since.

What’s next: The Hokies will have another chance to make a national statement when they face No. 4 Stanford in the Discover Orange Bowl. The rest of the ACC will be counting on the Hokies to help improve the league’s 2-10 record in BCS bowls. For that to happen, the Hokies’ defense will have to be at its best against Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck, who leads an offense that averages over 40 points and 200 rushing yards per game.