Great googly moogly, I can so easily imagine the congestive heart failure I would have suffered watching the Hokies' game live. I'll take being up until 1:30 AM watching it knowing the Hokies had won over probably losing a piece of furniture and yet another remote, not to mention the aforementioned palpitations. For some insane reason, the final drive playcalling was just as bad as it's ALWAYS been in the Beamer era (what were those two passes to Malleck?!?!?!), but Logan Thomas and Corey Fuller refused to go out like that. So much heart shown by both teams, I couldn't have asked for a better opening game to the season. This segment is about the 3 Key Plays and I make a concerted effort to limit it to that, but on rare occasions (and this is one of them) there are more than three plays. In this game there were undeniably 4 plays that decided the outcome. Here they were:
1) Facing 4th and 8 at their own 46 late in the first quarter, freshman AJ Hughes was back to take the snap and punt his second career punt in live college football action. He muffed the snap and the result was a loss of 22 yards with the Yellow Jackets taking over on the Hokie 24 yd line. Up to this point the Yellow Jacket attack had been absolutely shut DOWN by the Hokie defense which already was sitting on a 7-0 lead. This one play flipped the momentum and pulled the Jackets into the game. If the Hokies could have tacked on another score or two they would have forced GT out of their gameplan and probably won going away. Instead, this was just further proof that Beamerball is no longer about stellar special teams, anymore.
2) 4th and 6 at the Hokie 37 yd-line with 3:03 left in the game. Paul Johnson called for a punt and then 2nd guessed himself and called a timeout to go for it. With the Hokies leading 14-10, and the Jackets with only one more timeout remaining, a stop here might not have completely locked the game up but it sure would have made it much easier to win. And the Hokies totally stuffed the play. But credit to Tevin Washington and BJ Bostic for pulling out some sandlot football and mucho crappy play by Detrick Bonner allowed for a huge 19 yard gain right along the sideline that set up the Jackets winning score.
3) 4th and 4 at the Yellow Jacket 47 yd-line with 13 seconds left in the game. The game looked over. Under quarterbacks not named Tyrod Taylor or Logan Thomas it would have been. But Thomas immediately found a wide open Corey Fuller who turned it upfield for a massive 23 yd gain and a first down at the GT 24yd line, giving Cody Journell his chance to redeem a miss earlier in the quarter and send the game to OT.
4) 3rd down and 6 from the Hokie 10-yd line in OT, and Tevin Washington scrambled to his left. With no one open he just had to throw it away. But he held onto it one count too long and LB Bruce Taylor got there and spun Washington onto his back foot where he couldn't get enough on the ball to throw it away. Instead it settled into the hands of Kyle Fuller whose interception meant that a 2nd Journell FG would win the game, and sure enough it did.
In order to compete for championships, you have to have a few lucky breaks and you have to have a never-say-die attitude. That attitude has been in the Hokie locker room on some teams, but there have definitely been others (I'm looking at you 2003 and 2006 Hokies) that didn't have it. It goes without saying that this Hokie team had a chance to prove right out of the gate that there's certainly no quit in them. I saw a lot to be excited about and a lot to improve on. I definitely hope I get to watch the Austin Peay game and see some more.