Friday, October 30, 2009

3 Key Plays - VT vs. UNC

1) On the first series of the game, the Hokies gained 45 yards on their first two plays (they would have a total of 26 yards gained on the next 5 SERIES). At the end of the second play which was a 20 yard pass to Jarrett Boykin to the UNC 27 yard line, Boykin didn't secure the ball and for the second time in three games (@Duke) Boykin fumbled after a big gainer deep in opponent territory. The offense went completely into the tank the rest of the half, whereas if this play would have held up, the offense might have gotten into gear and certainly would have scored early. Good teams come out swinging and the Hokie offense for the 2nd week in a row, self-destructed in the first half wasting a brilliant half of football by the defense.

2) At the 11:51 mark of the 4th quarter having just taken the lead at 17-14, the Hokie defense was in the midst of holding UNC to a three and out and really swinging the entire momentum of the game towards VT. Rock Carmichael defended an extremely well-thrown pass on 3rd and 4 from the UNC 26 yard line and somehow the referee decided it was pass interference. It simply was not. The phantom holding call on Ryan Williams' "TD" run 1 minute prior was the worst call of the game (I have watched that play over and over again focusing on a different player each time. Not only did Blake DeChristopher not hold, no offensive player held, it was one of the cleanest blocked plays you can imagine. High school coaches should receive film of that play to demonstrate exactly how you are supposed to block). In instances like that, the refs usually give a make-up call going the other way. But in this instance they followed the non-existent holding call with a non-existent pass interference call and both were on VT?! The announcers, who are even instructed to take it easy on the officials, clearly questioned the interference call, it was so blatant. The Hokies didn't lose the game simply because of this call, but it certainly had a huge impact on the momentum of the game as UNC went on to score on this drive to tie it up.

3) You all expect the Ryan Williams fumble here on 3rd and 7, I suppose, but that wasn't the third key play (though that was an absolutely idiotic, let's-play-for-overtime, typical Stiney play call). The third key play was 3rd and 3 from the VT 17 yard line with 1:51 left in the game. UNC RB Ryan Houston ran for a first down on this play and it allowed UNC to run the clock out to give their FG kicker a chance to win as time expired. Had the Hokies stopped Houston on this play several things would have happened - a) Barth would have had to make about a 33-34 yard FG which, to win the game, would not have been a gimme and b) even if Barth had made it, the Hokies would have gotten the ball back with about 1:10 left and with the way the offense was playing in the 2nd half, and the kickoff return game was working, could have been plenty of time to get into FG range to send the game to overtime. Credit UNC here, but there's just no way, after having carried the ball two times previously, that Houston should have been able to gain 3 yards on this play. I can't believe a Bud Foster coached defense, with the game on the line, gave up 3 straight runs for 10 yards even after 2 timeouts were used to keep the players fresh. By converting that down, UNC secured the win thereby completely breaking my heart.

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