Sunday, December 05, 2010

3 Key Plays - ACC Title Game VT vs. FSU

1) After giving up a score on the opening drive by the opposing offense and having the Hokie opening offensive drive stall once again, it looked like VT was headed for yet another disastrous first quarter. Trailing 3-0, the Hokie defense took the field against the Seminoles and on the 2nd play of the ensuing drive, Bruce Taylor went into full extension to just get a fingertip on backup QB E.J. Manuel's pass to a cutting receiver. The ball tipped out in front of Hokie LB Jeron Gouviea-Winslow, who had a remarkably fast reaction, snagged the ball out of the air just before it hit the ground, and turned to dash into the end zone. This put the Hokies up 7-3 and changed the entire complexion of the game on several fronts. The Hokies wouldn't trail again, and it also cost them the services of superstar young LB Bruce Taylor who injured his shoulder on the play. Fortunately, former walk-on Jack Tyler would come in and perform very admirably in Taylor's place, which - considering the stage and situation - was absolutely remarkable. It makes me feel a lot better about MLB if Barquell Rivers can't return to form from that devastating quad injury.

2) At the 8:30 mark of the 2nd quarter, the Hokies had a 21-10 lead and the Hokie offense was looking unstoppable. Florida State faced a 3rd and 6 from their own 38 yd line and if they were stopped here, the Hokies might have just blown the game wide open. Unfortunately, young DB Kyle Fuller - who has had one of the all-time great true freshman seasons in VT's history on the defensive side of the ball - had a terrible night. And having already been burned twice in the game so far, Fuller played WAY too far off his receiver and a poor pass by FSU's Manuel was still caught by WR Willie Haulsted for a 14 yd play and a first down. This set-up another deep pass play to burn Fuller yet again later on the drive where the 'Noles would score to make it 21-17 and tighten everything up again before halftime. HUGE play and I was so sick when they converted it.

3) With 6:55 left to go in the game, the Hokies had a 41-26 lead, but it was still only a two score game. On trotted K Chris Hazley who has had an All-American type of season by hitting 19 FG's in a row this year after missing his very first try of the season. Despite having an extra point blocked after the Hokies' previous TD (due to a terrible hold by Brian Saunders), Hazley stepped up and in slick field conditions, knocked through a 43 yd FG to make it 44-26 and basically ice the game. If he had missed, the 'Noles would have had decent field position and time to try a comeback but instead, it was 20 FG's in a row for Hazley and an ACC title for the Hokies.

Congrats to VT for making my wildest dreams come true after they were down 0-2.

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