Sunday, October 02, 2011

3 Key Plays

Don't think that this wasn't still the TerrorDome after last night's game. In the first half, Clemson did what all of it's opponents usually do in that environment - they struggled. And that is always when the Hokies build a lead, get the crowd even more fired up and then during the 2nd half, when the opponent is one-dimensional, the Hokies typically feed off of that and put the game away. That's why all of the Key Plays from the game, happened in the first 25 minutes of the game, because they set the tone the rest of the way.

1) 3rd and 4 from the Clemson 41 and on the Hokies first offensive series they were looking GOOD. The Hokie defense had stopped Clemson on a three and out, and then had to overcome an insane roughing the kicker penalty to stop them AGAIN. Impressive. Meanwhile, the Hokie offense was getting chunks of yardage, on David Wilson runs and catches. And on 3rd down, Mike O'Cain dialed up the perfect play and Logan Thomas made a not-so-great but definitely catchable pass on a slant route to Jarrett Boykin. Boykin however, tipped the ball up into the air for an interception and it killed the drive. If the Hokies had gotten in to score on this drive, I promise you, they win this game. The environment was that electric.

2) At the 5:55 mark of the first quarter, still scoreless with the Hokie defense playing lights out, David Wilson bursts through the line at the Clemson 48 yard line on 1st and 10 - and fumbles. Great hit by the Clemson player but Wilson has GOT to keep that ball covered up. Again, with the way the offense was moving the ball early, if the Hokies hadn't turned it over, they were moving the ball at will, and the defense was still crushing the Tigers at that point. Instead, Clemson gets the ball in great field position and scores a FG.

3) The critical error of the night. Following a Jayron Hosley interception, the Hokies again easily moved the ball down to the Clemson 2 yd line midway through the second quarter. On 3rd and goal, Clemson called a timeout and the Hokies had time to determine exactly what play they wanted. AT HOME, the Hokies were flagged for a false start as C Andrew Miller didn't snap the ball when he was supposed to and the rest of the team went. The 5 yd penalty moved them back and the Hokies settled for a tying FG. After the phantom personal foul on the following kickoff, the Tigers took over at the Hokie 48 yd-line and were able to recapture the momentum, but scoring a TD and going ahead 7-3, I promise you would have changed the outcome of the game.

So there you have it. Three critical errors, usually reserved for the visiting side in the first half of a night game at Lane Stadium. Make no mistake, the game was lost at that point and I knew it. You could tell from Coach Beamer's frustration level, that he knew it, too. He knows the formula: get ahead early, put all the pressure on the opponent, keep the crowd in it and win the game. Had the Hokies not committed these three mistakes (only one of which was created by the Tigers) it's very reasonable to imagine that the Hokies go in at halftime in the WORST CASE, ahead 13-10, and more likely, 17-3. As I said in the preview, I hoped the moment wasn't too big for these players, but it was. They had the ability to beat this very good Tiger team, they just didn't go out and do it. And I'm absolutely disgusted.


LuvzAznChix said...

While I appreciate your optimistic analysis, I must respectfully disagree with it.

MadJay said...

Respectfully disagree away. What of my analysis appears incorrect to you?

Illinois Hokie said...

Agree... agree... and agree. However, and I will write more on this later, in true Stiney fashion, we responded not by opening up and taking chances but by clamping down and becoming so vanilla Nabisco is going to rename their product VT wafers.

Oh, and the fact that we punted from the 32, for christ sake. So much for Frank's assertion that he wouldn't hesitate to trot Myer out there for a long field goal in a critical situation.

LuvzAznChix said...

The reason I don't fully agree is because at this point, as was during the game, the 3 keys are irrelevant. They never scored a single TD during the game. They didn't even take care of the basics or fundamentals. Therefore, the 3 keys you stated are a completely moot because we NEVER even got to see if they were true.

The only thing the 3 keys seemed to make a difference for was Clemson. I too believe we have the capabilities to beat Clemson. But let's be honest. We didn't get to see them on Sat night at Lane in the rain.

We have larger issues to deal with now. And it's over. I'm not really as concerned about it. Sure it hurts like hell (I have 3 cousins who go to Clemson & an uncle who even though he SAYS and tries to appear sensible about it still is a borderline typical Tigers alum). But like IH or someone else said "they're in the Atlantic div." And if we focus on our main objective NOW, winning out the coastal, as well as the rest of our games, we can meet them again in the ACCCG and this time we'll be ready for them.

Analytically and statistically we've pretty much beaten the shit out of this thing.