Even the most ardent Virginia Tech fans assumed senior quarterback Logan Thomas would struggle against the vaunted Alabama Crimson Tide defense in the season opener on Saturday. But no one expected the stat line he put up against the two-time defending national champions.
For the day, Thomas finished an embarrassing 5-26 for 59 yards and an interception. He had a QBR of 1.9. Let that settle in for a second, 1.9. He averaged 2.3 yards per pass attempt, a ridiculously low total. There’s no denying that Alabama is tremendous on defense, but Thomas’ performance has to be alarming for a team with aspirations of getting back to the ACC Championship game.
Thomas looked antsy against the array of pressures that Nick Saban dialed up all day long. Early on, however, there appeared to be hope. Thomas found D.J. Coles over the middle for a 34 yard gain midway through the first quarter, but that was the highlight for the day. After that, Thomas looked uncomfortable in the pocket, and even threw the ball away when no defender was really near him.
The low point of the game came early in the second quarter, when Vinnie Sunseri picked Thomas and took it to the house. In reality, the interception wasn’t Thomas’ fault; Coles, his receiver on the play, cut his slant route short, leaving Sunseri alone to make the interception and return. Regardless of whose fault it was, it deflated the Hokies, who had made a mini comeback and all but sealed their fate.
Alabama has a way of making quarterbacks look bad, but Thomas’ effort was particularly brutal. All offseason, Hokies fans had hoped that Thomas would return to his 2011 form, when he was one of the up and coming stars in the college game. After Saturday night’s performance, however, it doesn’t appear he’s headed for a revitalization.
Thomas will have a chance to rebound, especially against the relatively soft schedule they have from here on out, but at this point, the senior quarterback looks defeated. If the Hokies have any chance to contend in the conference, Thomas has to be better.
Lucky for him, he won’t be facing Alabama again.