Monday, October 31, 2011

Hokies Squeeze Past Duke

Get on the bus and get the [bleep] out of Dodge.

The Hokies managed a victory against the Blue Devils but it wasn't pretty. Turnovers, penalties, and a whole mess of issues should have resulted in a massive defeat, but the Hokies were able to hold on and leave Durham with a 14-10 victory.

This was a game as ugly as it was good as it was bad.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

3 Key Plays - VT vs. Duke

1) Again, early plays in this game set the tone as the Hokies had the ball on 3rd and 10 from the Duke 15 yard line on their opening series. They had intercepted Duke QB Sean Renfree and an early score here would have been just the type of play to knock the belief out of the Blue Devils. Unfortunately WR Marcus Davis, who has been alternatively spectacular and lazy, chose Saturday's game to be lazy. He didn't run his route on this play and Duke safety Matt Daniels who has stood out this season and was particularly phenomenal in this game, was all too happy to step up and intercept the ball on the 2 yd-line returning it 40 yards and ending the Hokie threat. If the Hokies come out this flat against Georgia Tech in two weeks, they will get crushed.

2) The Hokies were protecting a 14-10 lead but Duke had the ball and a 3rd and 5 from the Hokies' 13 yd-line with 12:45 left in the game. Duke found their TE Cooper Helfet out in the flat with an easy path to the first down and maybe more. CB Kyle Fuller came flying up and got low on Helfet, making an huge open field tackle and stopping the Devils 3 yds short of the first down. Duke settled for a 29-yd FG attempt which K Will Snyderwine missed, making Fuller's stop even more huge. It wasn't his best play of the game, however.

3) You guessed it - 4:45 left in the game, Duke down 14-10 has a 4th and 2 from the Hokies 15 yd-line. QB Sean Renfree rolled out on a run-pass option (something I wish Tech would do more on offense), but Kyle Fuller made one of the best plays of the season. He saw the RB was headed to the flat to be the pass option, so he hit him at the line of scrimmage and the back fell down. Fuller was knocked back by the contact but kept his balance and then ran down Renfree and made another huge open field tackle to prevent Renfree from making the first down and essentially preserving the win.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Uh-Oh Cavs Look Dangerous

It looks like the Mike London era may have jump-started itself a bit earlier. Virginia might be a real threat this year.

Mike London was hired as the head coach at Virginia after our all-time favorite Cavalier coach Al Groh was fired at the end of the 2009 season.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Game Preview - VT vs. Duke

This game between the Hokies and the Blue Devils on Saturday is the very definition of a trap game. The Hokies have made it through the first part of their schedule and despite losing tons of different players at various points during the season due to injury (most of whom are on defense) they have made it to this point with a 3-1 record in the conference which puts them on top of the Coastal Division. And next week is a MUCH, MUCH needed bye week where some of the banged up players will get a chance to recharge their batteries as the team gears up for an enormous divisional game against Georgia Tech in Atlanta on a Thursday night.

That combined with the fact that Duke has historically not been very competitive in the ACC makes it far too easy for the Hokies to overlook this week's opponent. And while Duke is the weakest ACC opponent the Hokies will play this season (BC only lost to the Blue Devils because of a fluke miss on a 19 yd-FG attempt), I think we've seen what can happen when the Hokies don't come to play with the necessary concentration and effort. The game-that-won't-be-named from last season was in Lane Stadium and was against an opponent far worse than the Blue Devils. So it's obviously possible for Tech to lose a road game against an ACC opponent. And the only thing that works in Tech's favor this time, as crazy as this sounds, is the injuries.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

TSF Poll (Through games ending 10/22/11)

Once again the three of us are split on our number ones. Wisconsin fell seven spots. Look who they're tied with! Michigan State! The team that beat them this past weekend.
1 LSU (1) 73
2 Alabama (1) 72
3 Oklahoma State (1) 68
3 Stanford 68
5 Boise State 61
5 Clemson 61
7 Kansas State 59
8 Virginia Tech 47
9 Oregon 46
10 Michigan State 43
10 Wisconsin 43
12 Arkansas 38
13 Houston 37
14 Michigan 35
14 Nebraska 35
16 Penn State 34
16 South Carolina 34
18 Oklahoma 33
19 USC 22
20 Cincinnati 21
21 Texas A&M 13
22 Georgia 6
23 Illinois 5
23 Texas 5
25 Arizona State 4

Monday, October 24, 2011

Another Slow Start Victory Against Eagles

The Hokies once again found themselves working against themselves. After a stalled drive, Michael Branthover shanked the punt in what can only be accounted for as a freshman mistake. The Eagles took advantage and scored from the 35-yard line in three plays. Thankfully, the defense stood up and did not allow another point until the fourth quarter.

In fact, the defense did not allow a drive for longer than 47 yards causing six punts in a row including two three and outs. The 47 yard drive resulted in an interception by Tariq Edwards. In short, the defense ran a clinic. The Hokies had another game where they held the opponent to few than 100 yards rushing. Chase Rettig managed 13 of 30 for 181 yards but really most of that came on the first and second to last drives -- the two scoring drives.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

3 Key Plays - VT vs. Boston College

1) After doing absolutely nothing with the ball on their first series, the Hokies still had a chance to keep the momentum balanced. Unfortunately, freshman punter Michael Branthover showed that he is, after all, still a freshman. Despite averaging 42 yds/kick coming into the contest, Branthover shanked a 9 yarder off the side of his foot giving BC the ball on the Hokie 30 yd line. The Eagles converted that into a TD, which despite being their only score of the first 55 minutes of the game kept them in it for most of the game. A good punt could have changed the entire complexion as the Eagles just couldn't break the Hokie defense the rest of the way and there's no reason to think they could have moved it 70-80 yards on that first possession either.

2) 3rd and 3 with 12:25 remaining in the 3rd quarter. The Hokies are down 7-6 but have at least shown a little life at the beginning of the 2nd half. QB Logan Thomas runs the option, splits two defenders, makes a perfect pitch to RB David Wilson and Wilson is off to the races. He gets a great block on the edge by Danny Coale and another by Marcus Davis and Wilson breaks a tackle at the 10 yd line to stay in bounds and leap into the endzone giving the Hokies a 13-7 lead they would never relinquish.

3) 1st and 10 at the Hokie 22 yd line, BC is driving in response to the VT score. Only down 13-7, it looks like the Eagles are going to get either a FG or a TD out of this drive, making it a close game yet again. With Hokie defenders dropping like flies due to injury, one man steps into a role he's familiar with. Sr LB Barquell Rivers, a starter on the 2009 squad, filling in for Bruce Taylor now, rushes BC QB Chase Rettig, forcing him into a throw as he takes the hit. Fellow LB Tariq Edwards makes a leaping grab for the interception at the Hokie 11 yd-line. The Hokies would proceed to score on the ensuing drive, essentially putting the game out of reach. A rich reward for Rivers who has fought so hard to overcome a devastating quad injury that took the NFL out of his future. He made a play for his brothers and helped the Hokies get the win.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Boston College Woes Likely To Continue At Tech

Boston College has had a miserable year to date. At 1-5 (0-3), their only win was against an FCS team, Massachusetts. Their first three losses were to teams that have a combined record of 8-10. Their last few losses were to Wake Forest and Clemson.

Boston College is 105th in scoring offense. Statistically, they find themselves in the bottom third of all FBS teams in almost every offensive category. Chase Rettig managed to complete 13 of 20 passes but only for 129 yards in their last game, a loss to Clemson. On the ground they rushed for 126 yards.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Tech SuperFans 2011 Poll Debuts

# Team (# first place votes) Pts.
1 Alabama (1) 71
1 LSU (1) 71
3 Wisconsin 67
4 Oklahoma State (1) 66
5 Stanford 63
6 Oklahoma 61
7 Boise State 56
8 Clemson 55
8 Kansas State 55
10 Arkansas 41
11 Oregon 40
11 Virginia Tech 40
13 West Virginia 37
14 Nebraska 34
15 South Carolina 31
16 Michigan 25
16 Michigan State 25
16 Washington 25
19 Georgia Tech 21
20 Penn State 20
21 Houston 16
22 Illinois 11
23 Cincinnati 9
23 Southern Cal 9
25 Auburn 7

Monday, October 17, 2011

Game Review - VT vs. Wake Forest

The Miami game last week was the one of the top 5 Hokie football games I've ever seen. But the Hokies 38-17 victory over Wake Forest on Saturday in Winston Salem was Tech's best performance of the season. The way this entire team played from the 2nd quarter until the end of the game was phenomenal. If they can play at that level the remainder of the season, then competing for an ACC Championship is definitely possible. Unfortunately, they also showed in the first quarter that they are capable of being as flat as a pancake and as unfocused as my 3 yr old. If they play like that, they are also capable of losing the rest of the games on their schedule. But before I go through some of the details of the game, I'd like to highlight a coming of age moment that may not have been plainly obvious at the time how big it was, both in terms of the outcome of the game and maybe even the course of the season.

3 Key Plays - VT vs. Wake Forest

1) 9:52 left in the 2nd quarter. The Hokies were down 10-0. Logan Thomas was 2 for 9 for 21 yards at that point and the Hokies had a total of one first down up to that point in the game. They had the ball in good field position thanks to a rejuvenated punting game and then a stellar stop by a defense down 4 starters due to injury. But on the road, with visions of the Clemson game dancing in their head, the offense needed a play to get going. Facing 2nd and 6 from the Wake 40 yd line, Logan Thomas dropped back and rainbowed a well-thrown deep ball to WR Jarrett Boykin who caught it at the 7 and ran it down to the 1 "smidge" line, dragging a tackler. The Hokies would punch it in to make it 10-7 and the offense was off and running, on the way to 28 unanswered points.

2) 2nd and 7 from the Hokies own 7 yard line with 1:33 left in the third quarter, the Hokies were in danger of letting Wake back into the game. They were deep in their own end and Wake had just scored a touchdown to make the score 28-17 in favor of the Hokies. Similar to the first key play, except to the opposite side of the field, Thomas dropped another well-thrown ball in just over the outstretched hands of the Wake defender to Jarrett Boykin, giving Tech a first down at the 33 yd-line and out of the shadow of their own goal posts. This was the catalyst for one of the greatest drives of Tech's season thus far - a 96 yard drive to go back up 35-17.

3) Wake Forest had a 4th and 17 at the Hokies 42 yd-line with 7:30 left to go in the game. Trying to answer Tech's score with one of their own, QB Tanner Price dropped the ball off to the FB in the flat who was tackled well short of the first down and the Hokie victory was secured.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Game Preview - VT vs. Wake Forest

To any of those Logan Thomas doubters out there, don't worry, I'm not going to say I told you so. There's no time. It's the next game and the offense is going to have to be EN FUEGO again as Dan Patrick used to say, because the defense is a M.A.S.H. unit right now as the Hokies prepare to take on a tremendously improved Wake Forest squad in Winston Salem.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Miami Game Review - Instant Classic

What a game! What a bounce back for Logan Thomas and the offense after a terrible showing against Clemson the previous week. While allowing Miami 35 points the Hokies found a way to win this game 38-35. It became clear towards the end that Miami's gigantic offensive line at a whopping 313 lbs average was causing the Hokies some trouble as Miami was able to run on the Hokies with ease in the late minutes of the game. Antoine Hopkins presence was definitely missed.

The first half of the game was a clinic. Thomas and the offense dominated the Miami defense. The defense was able to contain Lamar Miller to just 20 yards. Miami's only touchdown came after a big play in which Jacory Harris hit Allen Hurns for 41-yards.

3 Key Plays - VT vs. Miami

How epic was this game? Put it this way - our annual open enrollment at work for the various benefits (insurance, dental, etc) is this week. After watching me watch this game against Miami, The Blonde has instructed me to bump up to the next life insurance level. I may also need to add a few things to our house insurance plan in case they "accidentally" get broken. Now, on to the 3 Key Plays.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Game Preview - VT vs. Miami

Coach Frank Beamer has never started a season 0-2 in conference play during his coaching career. That is the most meaningless stat I think I’ve ever read. The number of circumstances that go into one’s own team, the schedule of who you play the first two conference games of any season, injuries (and the list goes on), means that it’s impossible to glean anything useful from that stat and apply it to the game on Saturday against Miami.

What matters against Miami and whether the Hokies will win or not can be determined by considering three areas:

Monday, October 03, 2011

I'm Not Going To Say It... Clemson Review

While Marshall struggled (and I mean struggled badly) in the run game, Cato was able to find open receivers. As Tech opens ACC play against a juggernaut through the air, I fear that the defense will not be up to the challenge.

These were my words when reviewing the Marshal game. Sitting at the tailgate, these words kept echoing in my head. I knew that defensively we'd be challenged. I knew that offensively, despite what MadJay and many of you other SuperFans have been saying, Logan Thomas has not shown much promise.

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.