Monday, October 06, 2008

3 Key Plays - Western Kentucky

1) With 2:30 left in the 1st quarter of the 6th game of the season, Tyrod Taylor threw his first TD pass! That the Hokies are 5-1 despite this fact is remarkable. Obviously TD passes will have to come in much greater numbers to continue their winning ways against the slate of opponents upcoming, but this was a very pretty ball thrown right on the money to Boone for 27 yards and should help Taylor's confidence going forward.

2) 2nd and 1 at the Western Kentucky 10 yard line with 12 minutes left in the 3rd quarter, RB Kenny Lewis took the handoff planted his foot and immediately crumpled to the ground with a torn Achilles tendon. The Hokies went 10 years with no Achilles' injuries and now have had two in one year (WR Brandon Dillard suffered one during summer practice). This is key for several reasons. First, it deflated the team and they played with little energy the rest of the game allowing Western Kentucky to make the game closer at the end than it should have been. Additionally, it gives the 2nd RB spot to Josh Oglesby who now has the opportunity he complained about not having earlier in the year. I confess to not being a big fan of Lewis as a runner, but he is unquestionably a team leader and it's a blow to the team from that standpoint. He also blocks well and doesn't put the ball on the ground. But if Oglesby can block and keep from fumbling, he has the potential to be an upgrade due to his effective running style. 

3) With Western Kentucky down 27-3 they abandoned their passing game and went strictly to a read option running offense. This offense was tried earlier in the game and was ineffective against the Hokie first stringers - with previously unused Dexter Taylor (a former high school teammate of Hokie RB Darren Evans). However, his first play of the third quarter from his own 20 yard line was against the Hokie backup defensive line and it went for 26 yards. The Hilltoppers proceeded to run the ball against the Hokie backup line for 75 yards until the first string was put back in on the Hokie 5 yard line and they kept the Hilltoppers out of the endzone. This read option play brought WKU back into the game and exposed the enormous dropoff between the first and second string defensive line for Tech. This is the symbolic Achilles' heel of this Hokie defense and the backup guys (Nekos Brown, Steven Friday, Justin Young and Demetrius Taylor) will have to elevate their game or the Hokies will struggle to beat any of their remaining opponents and it's just that simple. We've heard word that there are several nagging injuries bothering Brown and Taylor so let's hope the bye week helps clear that up. 

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