MONDAY HUDDLE: Have the Commanders uncovered a gem in Sam Howell?

Hokies plagued by travel troubles, prep standout has big game

DENVER, COLORADO - SEPTEMBER 17: Sam Howell #14 of the Washington Commanders attempts a pass during the second quarter against the Denver Broncos at Empower Field At Mile High on September 17, 2023 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images) (Justin Edmonds, 2023 Getty Images)

Huddle up! Here’s a look back at this weekend on the gridiron, with three key takeaways from the state’s football scene -- and a glimpse at what’s to come next week.

Sam Howell shines for Commanders in win at Denver

It’s been well-documented the revolving door the Washington Commanders have had in recent years at starting quarterback.

The lack of a franchise quarterback has been a big reason why the organization hasn’t won a playoff game since 2005, which is why the start for Sam Howell in the first two games might be gaining the attention of fans.

A fifth-round pick in 2022 out of North Carolina who only appeared in one game last year, Howell won the starting job over the offseason and was terrific in a 35-33 win at Denver on Sunday.

Howell completed 27 of 39 passes for 299 yards and two touchdowns, helping Washington rally from a 21-3 deficit in the second quarter.

Howell led three touchdown drives in the second half and is now 3-0 as a starting quarterback for the Commanders over the last two years.

It’s obviously too early to anoint Howell as the franchise’s next great quarterback, but he’s certainly raising some eyebrows at the very least.

Flight delay beginning of bad road trip for Hokies

Virginia Tech continues to have big problems playing opponents from Power 5 conferences. The Hokies have now lost 10 of 11 against teams from Power 5 conferences after a 35-16 loss at Rutgers, the second straight week Virginia Tech lost to a Big Ten opponent.

It was a road trip that seemed doomed from the start after the Hokies didn’t get to their team hotel on Friday night until 10:30 p.m. following a six-hour flight delay for the 3:30 game on Saturday.

Virginia Tech fell behind 21-3 and never could get its footing.

Returning Player of the Year has big game

Radford senior quarterback Landen Clark, the recipient of our 2022 1st and 10 Player of the Year award last season, showed why he might be a candidate to win this year’s award as well in a brilliant performance on Friday against Galax.

Clark accounted for seven touchdowns, four of them passing and three rushing, and finished with more than 400 total yards of offense by himself in a 56-19 Radford win.

Clark passed for 283 yards and rushed for 135 more yards on eight carries.

About the Author:

Keith is a member of Graham Media Group's Digital Content Team, which produces content for all the company's news websites.