Sunday, November 29, 2009

3 Key Plays - VT vs. UVa

First of all, before I get into 3 Key Plays, let's all have a moment of silence for UVa (former) coach Al Groh. He was a key component in the Hokies' dominance of this bitter rivalry and for that, around here at TSF, he'll be missed.....................

OK, that said, those of you clamoring for ACC and national titles, let me tell you to pause for a second and appreciate how great a feeling it is to beat your rival. I absolutely cannot STAND UVa and beating them as badly as the Hokies did in the 2nd half on Saturday just brings such joy to my heart that it's tough to put into words. Now on to the plays:

1) The Hokies tried to shoot themselves in the foot REPEATEDLY on the offense's opening drive, already down 7-0 to a fired-up Cavalier team who had introduced a completely new wrinkle on their first series - a rushing QB Jameel Sewell. But WR Danny Coale and QB Tyrod Taylor just wouldn't accept it. Holding penalty negates a great kickoff return? No problem. Holding on Ed Wang sets up a 3rd and 17 at midfield? We got it. On this play, Taylor took a deep drop and fired a beautiful 36 yard bomb to Coale who beat All-ACC corner Ras-I-Dowling for the 2ND TIME on the drive and outplayed him to bring down the ball. Consider the game without this play - an already close game at halftime could have been a big lead for the hated Wahoos. Instead it put the Hokies inside the 20 and RB Ryan Williams pounded it in from there to tie the game and put it on its true course.

2) The Hokie offense was just showing signs of life in the 3rd quarter when Taylor was picked off in the end zone (first INT in 111 attempts, wow) to kill a drive. UVa was only down 14-13 at this point in the game and took over on their own 20 seemingly capturing the momentum at a critical point where the outcome was still in the balance. The key play here was on their first play from scrimmage after the pick - a run by Cavalier RB Mikell Simpson who got absolutely DESTROYED by FS Kam Chancellor. Chancellor has admittedly not had the season one would have hoped but he's a more natural rover/strong safety and he's at free safety. But he really popped Simpson and not only did his hit light a fire up and down the Hokie sideline, it also obviously got into Simpson's head a little as well. On the next play Simpson was the target of an option pitch and he glanced up to see where Chancellor was which caused him to mis-handle the pitch from Sewell. Sure enough, Chancellor scooped up the loose ball and nearly scored with it. The Hokies would go on to run off 28 straight points to end the game following this sequence and it all started with Chancellor bringing the lumber after a Hokie turnover. To date this season, the Hokies have not allowed a single TD off of a turnover. That is REDONKULOUS my friends.

3) At the 12:50 mark in the 4th quarter, the Al Groh era at UVa unofficially came to an end with the Cavaliers down 28-13 (two scores) and facing a 4th and 7 at the 45 yd-line. Instead of going for it and making a full effort at winning the game with almost a quarter of football left, Groh packed it in and punted the ball. I've actually seen Coach Beamer do this once before (against FSU in the 2005 ACC Championship Game) and it sickened me so much, I still got a little twinge of that feeling in my stomach when I saw Groh send on the punt unit. I hate losing, don't get me wrong, but there's something even worse about giving up on the outcome when there's still a chance to win. I knew at that moment that Groh had resigned himself to both the outcome of the game and his coaching career at UVa.

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