Monday, October 12, 2009

Game Review - vs. Boston College


Something has started to happen with Virginia Tech's offense, and Hokie fans welcome the change. Tyrod Taylor suddenly starts playing the position of quarterback displaying some talent that we haven't really seen before. Offensive coordinator Bryan Stinespring's playcalling has somewhat started to make sense. On Saturday, the Hokies earned an impressive victory over a struggling Boston College Eagles team.

Although struggling this season, the Eagles certainly amount to much more than an assumed victory, especially after the narrow scoring margin against Duke in last week's game and the Eagle's win over Florida State. Virginia Tech hands them only their second loss of the season, and even with this loss, they still stand a good chance of winning the ACC Atlantic division.

Let's take a look at Virginia Tech's display of offense during Saturday's game. Tyrod Taylor threw for roughly a 70% completion rate and for a 126 yards. Based on the type of the offense I watched and fluidity with which they moved the ball down the field, I think these statistics don't necessarily reflect how well Taylor and his offense performed. Taylor has always demonstrated the ability to scramble, but in the last three games, he has scrambled like an elite quarterback rather than somebody simply looking for the opportunity to rush. No play during this game better exemplifies that than his touchdown pass to wide receiver Danny Coale. On a third and nineteen play, the Eagle defense had broken through protection and put pressure on Taylor. Taylor scrambled, evaded tackles, and from a somewhat awkward position twisted to throw a perfectly placed pass to Coale cutting into the endzone. Taylor also connected with his receivers on some very long and well placed passes, such as Taylor's forty-one yard completion to Jarrett Boykin. Also, an eighty yard touchdown pass from backup quarterback Ju Ju Clayton to wide receiver Marcus Davis left a good image in fans' minds of what lies ahead in the post-Taylor seasons yet to come.

Another pleasant surprise came in the relative loyalty of Stienspring's playcalling to the running game. Number one tailback Darren Evan's injury has not slowed down the running game. The Hokies have proven to have a lot of depth in that position. Ryan Williams has exploded in ways nobody outside of the clubhouse could have predicted. David Wilson and Josh Oglesby made a few carries as well to tack a few yards on top of those gained by Williams. The team ran for a combined 235 yards of rushing. Williams alone ran for 159 of those yards. The numbers don't tell whole story, however. During early games of this season and games of seasons' prior, such numbers resulted from successfully executed plays falling in between successive three-and-outs. But these running plays consistently gained first downs and moved the ball down the field with precise execution.

Only having access to radio for the first half of the game last week, I didn't really have a complete sense of how the game against Duke progressed, but the scoring updates I got on my cell phone made me feel quite uneasy, especially considering the point differential at the game's end. But the Hokie defense performed excellently against Boston College. The defense held Eagle rushing to just 45 yards and passing to 118 yards. The frequency with which the Hokie defense reached Boston College quarterbacks Mike Marscovetra and Dave Shinskie impressed me. To top things off cornerback Rashad Carmichael caught an interception and ran it back for a touchdown. The defense definitely showed up in full force for this game.

I've got a good feeling about Hokie football right now. I hope that I'm not simply setting myself up for disappointment, because we've all felt that sinking in our hearts when our beloved Hokies crumbled when we didn't expect it. Overall, however, I sense a buzz amongst the team and fans that I haven't sensed in a while.


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