It was the team’s first meeting as conference foes since 2003, when the Hokies moved from the Big East to the ACC. The two teams didn’t matchup till last season, when the Panthers knocked off the then-ranked Hokies in Pittsburgh by the score of 35-17.
The Hokies avenged that loss with a 19-9 victory on Saturday, led by their senior quarterback Thomas, who threw over 200 yards with a first-quarter touchdown pass that put the Hokies up for good. Coming into the season, expectations were high on Thomas, with some saying he was a potential top-round quarterback prospect in the upcoming NFL draft.
His campaign to show that his name deserved to be up there with the likes of Tajh Boyd and Teddy Bridgewater got off to about as bad a start as possible against the Alabama Crimson Tide. Thomas only completed 19 percent of his passes as his Hokies got blown out 35-10.
In his first four games, Thomas threw six interceptions to four touchdowns and only completed 41 percent of his passes. His team won three of those four games, but he saw his draft stock plummet. Then after the game against the Marshall Herd, the light clicked for Thomas and he has yet to throw an interception since with a 66 percent pass completion rate.
The Hokies currently sit at 6-1 and 3-0 in ACC play. The only team that stands in their way of the ACC Championship game and a potential BCS Bowl game is another former Big East member, the Miami Hurricanes.
The fate of their season will rely on the arm and legs of Thomas, who looks to leave positive final mark on the ACC and use that to send him into the NFL with momentum.