In the first matchup between Virginia Tech and West Virginia in over a decade, freshman quarterback Josh Jackson put his name on the college football map, as well as on the Black Diamond Trophy rivalry.
Jackson was the first freshman to start at quarterback for the Hokies since Michael Vick. He even looked a lot like the former NFL star in his college debut in the 31-24 victory, throwing for 235 yards, rushing for 101, and scoring two touchdowns. Jackson’s first touchdown was a quarterback keeper from five yards out to give Virginia Tech at 10-7 lead. Then, late in an absolutely crazy third quarter, Jackson found a wide-open Cam Phillips for a 32-yard touchdown throw.
The Ann Arbor native consistently made the smart play, not throwing into double coverage and knowing when to tuck it in and run, something rarely seen out of freshmen playing in their first collegiate action. The bright lights of FedEx Field didn’t seem to faze Jackson, as he connected time and time again with Phillips, who finished with 138 yards on the evening. Jackson was efficient, going 15/26 and picking apart West Virginia along the sidelines and underneath. When no receivers were open, Jackson was able to pick up a few key first downs with his legs and keep drives alive.
With the game tied late, Jackson led an impressive six-play, 82-yard drive, highlighted by his 22-yard pass to Sean Savoy and his 46-yard run. The drive was eventually capped off by a Travon McMillian three-yard touchdown run.
He showed mental and physical toughness and poise, despite taking some hard hits over the course of the game and in crunch time.
Virginia Tech’s task gets easier next week, as the Hokies play the Delaware Blue Hens on Saturday, which shouldn’t definitively tell us whether this kid is legit or not, but there shouldn’t be too much to worry about. He is a coach’s son, after all.
Jackson’s mistake free football helped guide #21 Virginia Tech to their first win of the year, and in an open ACC Coastal, Jackson could be the X-Factor that gives Virginia Tech the edge over Miami and Duke.
Cover Photo via PE Sports