BLACKSBURG — Virginia Tech coach Justin Fuente rarely loses his cool on the sideline, but that was put to the test on Saturday in his team's 31-17 win over Old Dominion.
Fuente laid into officials after they failed to call pass interference at the start of the fourth quarter on a deep throw intended for Kaleb Smith with the Hokies facing third-and-8 at midfield.
Old Dominion safety Tobias Moss made early contact with Smith knocking him to the ground as the receiver chased down a pass from quarterback Ryan Willis at the 10-yard line. The Monarchs made it a one-possession game after the Hokies were forced to punt.
“I thought it should have been called,” Fuente said. “Personally, I thought it was pretty clear. They have a tough job. I know that.”
The crowd at Lane Stadium certainly agreed.
Fuente had an animated discussion with officials before finally throwing up his hands in disgust and walking away. Part of the issue was that Caleb Farley was called for pass interference a few minutes on a similar play.
Farley broke up a pass intended for former teammate Eric Kumah in the end zone, but they made contact with each other diving for the ball. Old Dominion scored a touchdown on the next play to cut Tech’s lead to 24-10 with 1:24 to go in the third quarter.
“That’s one of those bang-bang plays,” Virginia Tech defensive coordinator Bud Foster said.
Foster was happy with Farley’s coverage on the play and didn’t have an issue with the official's decision to throw a flag.
“We had good pressure,” Foster said . “Rook (Rayshard Ashby) was coming. The quarterback threw. I mean, you guys saw the video. He chucked and ducked, man, so I didn’t even know if the ball was going to make it, but some of those are going to happen like that. It was just disappointing the one down the field in front of their bench in the third-and-long situation.”
That doesn’t mean Farley got a complete pass from Foster. Foster was less forgiving of the flag Farley drew for pass interference earlier in the quarter on a badly thrown pass intended for Steven William, one of the few mistakes the secondary made in the passing game on Saturday.
Old Dominion quarterback Stone Smartt was 16 of 30 for 122 with only one completion of 20 yards or more. The Hokies limited ODU to 4.1 yards per attempt (down from 10.2 yards per attempt the previous week).
“He didn’t need to be tied up with the guy,” Foster said. “I mean, go play what you’re doing and you don’t need to jockey with that guy down the field as far as putting your hands on the player. That play on the goal line, that’s going to happen.”