Saturday, November 27, 2010

Game Review - vs. Virginia

With the Coastal title already locked down, the Virginia Tech Hokies hosted the Virginia Cavaliers for the annual Commonwealth Cup featuring the biggest in-state rivalry on Saturday. The game held no impact on the standings for the Maroon and Orange, but as the rivalry game all Virginians tune in to watch as they emerge from Turkey induced food comas, this game still holds the significance of rivalry bragging rights. A Coastal division title holds little significance to the circumstances of UVA alumni family members rubbing in a loss with such a differential between each respective team's records this season. And if you come from a Virginia family, it's pretty uncommon that you don't have family members from each of the two universities. But alas, our Hokies prevailed and we have yet another year to hold the shellacking over our Wahoo brethren's heads. Another thing at stake, the Hokies' streak with 10+ wins in a season stood as another factor in the game. Saturday's win solidifies the Hokies as the only team with a currently active streak with seasons of 10+ wins, a streak that goes seven seasons back. Lastly, this game also holds significance because it marks quarterback Tyrod Taylor's last game at Lane Stadium. I can speak for all Hokie fans in saying that we all wanted him to have a spectacular finish at Lane Stadium.

True to form with respect to the rest of the season, the Hokies opened up the game with a rather drab first quarter. They gained a total of 16 yards over two drives, both of which went three and out. The defense allowed 63 yards. Thanks to a Cavalier missed field goal, the first quarter came to a close without any points on the board for either team.

The offense came out swinging in the second quarter. They opened with an interception deep in UVA territory, and on the ensuing possession Ryan Williams ran a touchdown into the endzone to put the Hokies on top. Next, the Hokie defense held the Cavalier offense to a six play, 20 yard drive that ended with UVA head coach Mike London making the foolish call to go for it on fourth down. The next Virginia Tech possession resulted in a 20 yard pass to David Wilson (the 20 yards Wilson actually ran) for a touchdown. The subsequent Virginia drive went three and out, and the Hokies squeezed a field goal into the half with 22 seconds remaining. Going into halftime, the Hokies commanded the game with a 17-0 lead.

The second half opened with a 70 yard kickoff by Justin Myer that actually split the uprights, and five plays later, Virginia Tech had received a Virginia punt ready to begin their first drive of the second half. In two minutes they moved the ball 53 yards over six plays capping off the drive with a rushing touchdown by Ryan Williams. After another UVA punt, the Hokie offense marched the field 88 yards in 11 plays over six minutes capping off that drive with a Darren Evans rushing touchdown. At this point, each of the top three Hokie running backs had earned a touchdown.

Once the Hokie offense began running their second string players, Logan Thomas had entered the game for Tyrod Taylor. Taylor having made his last play in Lane Stadium exited the game after having minorly strained his shoulder but happy and in high spirits having left nothing on the field. But much to my disappointment, almost every remaining playcall was a running call where Thomas made a handoff. I say disappointing because this would have made for a great opportunity to give Thomas a chance to make some throws and for Hokie fans to get an idea of what to expect from the second stringer further down the line. Originally recruited as a tight end, Virginia Tech coaching took notice to his ability to throw the ball. The 6'6" quarterback towers over most of his peers, and I'd like to have seen a threw tosses from our potential starter at some point down the road.

Minor disappointments aside, Virginia Tech played a spectacular day against their arch rivals with the offense earning 182 yards of passing, 201 yards of rushing, and five touchdowns. The defense held the second best offense in the ACC to 291 yards and only seven points on the scoreboard.

NC State was mounting a miracle comeback against Maryland until a bad spot (from what I could see) resulted in a first down for Maryland that enabled them to run out the clock. It's also unfortunate that Maryland dropped their contest against Florida State. Ralph Friedgen has turned that program around in very short order and they are playing like a top 25 team. But now we look towards the ACC championship game in Charlotte, NC against Florida State. It's hard to know what to expect. They've got a new coach and a new outlook after defeating the Florida Gators.


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