Sunday, October 04, 2009

3 Key Plays - VT vs. Duke

1) In the 1st quarter, Duke had jumped out to a surprising 7-0 lead and the Hokies responded on a scoring drive capped by the 1st key play - a 36 yard STRIKE from QB Tyrod Taylor to WR Danny Coale for the tying touchdown. This was key for so many reasons. First of all, it answered Duke's score to prevent the Blue Devils from getting some momentum. Second of all, it indicated Taylor's confidence in his WR's in man-to-man situations - he gave Coale a chance to make a play despite being covered. That was a key indicator for the rest of the game because prior to the Duke game, Taylor has been hesistant to give his guys a chance to make a play in one-on-one defensive situations with good coverage. In the Duke game, Taylor was willing to let it rip in a variety of situations. The third reason this play was so key is that it was a deep ball to someone other than Dyrell Roberts indicating that Coach Stinespring might finally be planning on using his receivers more effectively. Coale showed why he is one of the players who deserves a shot on deep balls because his ball skills and body position on this play were simply phenomenal, And finally, it was on a play-action roll-out which is a play that this offense has been needing for years. Last week against Miami, Coach Stinespring FINALLY decided to use this play as a way to defeat the blitz. It was really great to see that last week wasn't a one-time fluke in the use of this play.

2) Moving ahead to the 3rd quarter, the Hokies were ahead 17-10 and had Duke pinned deep in their own end on 3rd and 10 when Thaddeus Lewis found WR Conner Vernon on a post route. After a missed tackle, Vernon was off to the races and the tying touchdown......BUT Hokie defensive end Jason Worilds never gave up on the play and finally ran Vernon down to where the receiver had to slow down and cut back giving the rest of the defense (Rock Carmichael) time to get back and tackle him on the 7 yard line. Just to be clear, this is a defensive end running down a wide receiver 74 YARDS DOWNFIELD. Amazing. VT's defense held Duke out of the end zone and only gave up 3 points making this hustle by Worilds worth at least 4 points, not to mention the huge momentum swing it prevented. It should be noted that a crappy play on the ball by Stephan Virgil let this become a big play in the first place.

3) As the Hokies did all day, they answered a score with a score on the following drive, but it's not quite that simple. The Hokies were faced with a 3rd and 34 from their own 16 yard line after a ton of mental errors (including 2 holding calls). On an impossible play, Taylor threw an absolutely perfect ball to Jarrett Boykin that traveled 55 yards in the air and hit Boykin on the dead run for a 62 yard gain to convert the 3rd down. This led to a FG and helped recapture the momentum, giving Tech a 20-13 lead. But beyond that, consider the historical scope of this play. There have probably been (on a complete guess) 400-500 players throughout the history of college football that have converted a 3rd and more than 30 yards in their college careers. I'm willing to bet that only maybe 5-10 players have ever converted two different 3rd and more than 30 yards in their career. And I am also willing to bet that Tyrod Taylor is the first player in college football to convert one 3rd and more than 30 yards on the ground (3rd and 31 against Florida State) and another one through the air (3rd and 34 against Duke). Just insane.

A sloppy win, but it still counts and it counts big against an ACC Coastal opponent.


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