Wow, it felt REALLY good to watch a Virginia Tech game again. Although I have to admit, after seeing the score, I was in a complete state of shock watching the first quarter. I was thinking to myself "How in the name of all things maroon and orange are the Hokies going to come back, shut Duke down and rip off 41 straight points?" And what's so interesting about that is that it made identifying the three key plays that much easier.
1) With all the momentum in the world against the Hokies, they faced a 20-0 deficit and a 2nd and 2 at the Duke 44 yd-line late in the 1st quarter. Logan Thomas dropped back and found WR Marcus Davis for a 40 yard bomb that put the ball down on the 4 yd-line and the Hokies would pound it in from there, making the score 20-7. Huge turning point.
2) The next play was the critical play of the game. Ahead 20-10, Duke had driven down to the Hokies 29 yd-line with about 30 seconds left in the half. One more completion and it was a definitely make-able FG for the Blue Devils to recapture the momentum and go ahead 23-10. But QB Sean Renfree's throw hit the all-time leading receiver in Duke's history (Connor Vernon) in the hands at the 20 yd-line and miraculously it bounced off, settling in Detrick Bonner's hands, who returned it to the Duke 42 yd-line.
3) And the coup de gras was Logan Thomas finding Davis all along down the near sideline for a 42 yd TD completion on the very next play to make it 20-17 going into halftime and the Hokies steamrolled in the 2nd half, running away with the game.
Make no mistake folks, the Hokies played with a lot of guts. But that pass to Connor Vernon is caught 99 out of 100 times, and we're talking about a completely different ballgame if that had happened. The Hokies have to execute at a very high level at the skill positions this year, because the offensive line is a MASH unit of injuries and they weren't exactly dominant even when the starters were healthy. Plus they just lost their best lineman in Andrew Miller at center and the backup, Caleb Farris is also out with an ankle.
The team is ok, but they are a long way from being good. We'll see what steps they can take against Clemson. Look for the preview later this week.