Haig's 39-yarder in overtime was blocked. Holliday had to answer questions about the conservative play calling.
"It was sloppy out there," he said in defense.
Marshall ran nine plays - and as the dynamics changed, only one designed run - for minus-5 yards in the final two overtimes.
This isn't all as gloomy as the game's weather, though.
Virginia Tech is ranked No. 5 nationally in total defense, trailing Michigan State, Florida, Louisville and Southern Cal. Those are all programs from BCS, power leagues. Actually, the top 14 defenses nationally are from those conferences.
Marshall breaks the trend at No. 15.
That should provide a dose of optimism with conference play on the horizon. So should the sudden versatility of quarterback Rakeem Cato, who looked like an awkward version of former Hokies star Michael Vick on Vick's old turf Saturday.
Cato's running numbers were hurt significantly down the stretch, but he finished with 46 yards on the ground. He took a loss of 33 yards on four sacks after gaining 79 rushing yards to flummox Tech a bit early.
"I love when he runs," Herd receiver Tommy Shuler said. "They have to respect him; he's getting like 10 yards a pop."
Opposing quarterbacks combined to rush for minus-78 yards against the Hokies last season.
Cato also passed for 228 yards, making him the first quarterback to throw for 200-plus and rush for 40-plus against Virginia Tech since 2002. That season, Pittburgh QB Rod Rutherford had 208 passing yards and 56 rushing in a 28-21 win at Lane Stadium.
Quarterbacks like Pat White, Andrew Luck, Russell Wilson and EJ Manuel couldn't pull off the pass/run numbers against Virginia Tech that Cato did.
So now the Herd has the nation's leading passer from last season forcing defenses to respect his ability to run, and it has the top statistical defense in Conference USA.
Maybe the Herd should've won. The playcalling definitely got conservative. Understandably, no whistle was safe.
But 10 years and a day after the Herd shocked the nation, the shock here is that it didn't leave with a win on the road against an ACC team.
Contact sports editor Chuck McGill at chuck.mcg...@dailymail.com or 304-348-7949. Follow him on Twitter @chuckmcgill.