Friday, November 05, 2010

3 Key Plays - VT vs. Georgia Tech

The 3 Key Plays segment was started to cover which 3 plays during the course of a Hokies game had the greatest impact on the outcome of the game. In other words, if these 3 plays would have had a different result during the game, the game would likely have been won by a different team. With that in mind, on VERY rare occasions, there is one play that changes the entire outcome of the game. It is so huge that whichever team benefits from this play is nearly certain to win. The VT vs. GT game last night had a play like this, which makes listing two other plays (in a game full of big plays) pointless.

1) With just over 4:00 left in the first half, Georgia Tech held a 14-7 lead and had driven down to the Hokie 6 yard line where they faced third and goal. GT had all the momentum, having recovered a Jayron Hosley fumble on a punt return and driven the ball down like this. They were on the verge of dealing a huge blow to the Hokies. The stadium didn't have any energy as the crowd half-expected the Jackets to go up by at least 10 pts heading into halftime. Incredibly, Coach Paul Johnson called for a pass play on this down and QB Joshua Nesbitt threw off his back foot allowing SS Davon Morgan to run under the route at the goal line and pick off the ball. This ended the scoring threat and kept VT in the game, but even more importantly, on the return, when Nesbitt tried to tackle Morgan along the sideline, his arm caught Morgan's knee at just the right point where it broke the arm. Nesbitt was out for the game and likely the season.

Now we can all sit and listen to the interviews from the Hokie players talking about how've really "come together" and they never give up and the coaches talk about how they didn't play well at times but played well enough to win. And we can all revel in a big win on national TV. But none of that hides the fact that the Hokies came out in yet another big game as flat as a pancake, for about the 15th straight time (QB Tyrod Taylor aside). And if Nesbitt hadn't thrown that interception and then gotten hurt trying to tackle Morgan, Georgia Tech would have won and we'd be throwing our hands up in the air about Coach Stinespring's inability to understand how to effectively run the ball on a Cover 2 defense with deep zone coverage instead of continuing to try and throw deep passes. We'd be lamenting how, despite the extra time to prepare and the visit to Iowa, blah-blah-blah, the young Foster-led defense still was unable to deal with the triple option and gave up far too many huge plays. The sky would be falling and all would not be right in the world, but for this one play.

Fortunately, this one went the Hokies' way, and while I feel bad for Nesbitt and hope he has a speedy recovery and a future at perhaps tight end in the NFL, I sure am happy that VT was the beneficiary on the one key play of this game. Or I would have had to puke up all that delicious scotch I drank last night.

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