The Hokies trailed for 38 minutes against Michigan, but they had the lead when it counted.
"DAH-NY COALE! DAH-NY COALE! DAH-NY COALE!" All the Hokies chanting, high-fiving and hugging me thought he made the catch. I didn't. Not because it din't look like a catch, it did, I saw it on replay. It looked good. It looked like a game winning catch. One of those big catches that's featured on SportsCenter and bootlegged onto YouTube. Everyone's sharing that video the next morning in the office. Your coworkers are huddled behind you ohhh-ing and ahhh-ing watching it while they sip their morning's coffee. I knew it seemed too good to be true.
That team made me proud.
No we didn't win. I'm sure a lot of y'all are pissed about some play calls. I am. More carries for Logan. More carries for Logan. More carries for Logan. More carries for Logan, especially on short yardage situations. But this wasn't the Orange Bowl last year. We didn't get our balls beat in. We didn't get throttled. We didn't get out-coached. We didn't get out-played. No one punched us in the throat... And that's why it hurts.
I have an ache in my chest right now too painful for words to describe. We came sooooooooo close, but failed. That's a strong word, but it's accurate--we failed. We came to play. We came to fucking play this game.
It starts at 8:00 PM east coast time. Box and BCO are running the show so play nice and go Hokies!
Thanks to kind Internet souls like mgodisney I was able to efficiently watch five Michigan games yesterday (Ohio State, Nebraska, Iowa, Michigan State and Notre Dame). The Wolverines improved each week during the season. That's coach speak, but it's true. In their final two games against Nebraska and Ohio State, Michigan was a complete team with a lot of confidence capable of moving the ball and playing good enough defense.
I know we're playing Michigan, but let's talk about Iowa real quick, more specifically Iowa-Michigan. Watch this, or as much as you can tolerate, or for as long as it takes you to realize there's a high probability '08 Stinepring is calling the plays for the Hawkeyes.
It's the defense stupid. That's the main reason for Michigan's turnaround in 2011. You can see the trend quickly in chart form courtesy of /r/cfb. If you'd prefer long-ish form Andy Bitter has you covered.
Oft-criticized defensive coordinator Greg Robinson had never run the 3-3-5 scheme former coach Rich Rodriguez preferred and was forced to work with many of the assistants Rodriguez brought with him in 2009-10. The Wolverines' defense, which had always been stout under ex-coach Lloyd Carr, dropped from 24th nationally in Carr's final season to 82nd, 67th and 110th in Rodriguez's three years.
Enter Mattison, who used to coach at Michigan, Notre Dame and, most recently, the NFL's Baltimore Ravens from 2008-10.
A proponent of the 4-3 defense, Mattison's scheme better suited Michigan's personnel, with defensive lineman Mike Martin (54 tackles, 5.5 TFLs, 3 sacks) and Ryan Van Bergen (41 tackles, 12 TFls, 5 sacks) starring up front.
I combed through the game notes from HokieSports.com so you wouldn't have to. (But if you do, leave any interesting observations in the comments.)
Tech won 11 games in 1999, 2000, 2005, 2007 and 2010. A win in the Sugar Bowl would be the program's first 12 win season ever. The seniors would be 43-12 over the last four years, a new record for wins by a senior class.
Bruce Arians, the offensive coordinator for the Pittsburgh Steelers, holds the school record for rushing touchdowns in a season by a quarterback with 11. Logan Thomas sits at 10. In case you're wondering, Michael Vick sped into the endzone 17 times in his career. Nine scores in '99 eight in 2000.
I wonder if Chase Williams is just staying at his parents house?
David Wilson (1,627) needs 29 yards to break Ryan Williams' Tech single-season rushing yard record (1,655). With a stellar game, Logan Thomas has a chance to set Tech's single-season total offense record. Tyrod Taylor put up 3,402 yards in 2010, Logan has 3,215 yards this season.
Tech is 1-0 against B1G Ten.
Blake DeChristopher (125) and Greg Nosal (111) have over 100 knockdown blocks in 2011. That's an average of more than 9 and 8 per game respectively. Miller, Brooks and Lanier have 57, 56 and 36 knockdowns a piece.
1. Denard, Denard, Denard... I think most Hokies know about the freak-of-an-athlete you guys having running around the field at quarterback. How would you go about designing a game plan to contain him, and who's the second guy on offense VT's going to have to worry about stopping?
I would come after him and play a lot of robber zone stuff to take away intermediate routes when you do. Denard has been mistake-prone when pressured but when left to set his feet and throw he's been pretty accurate lately. You do put yourself at risk of Denard busting past your blitzers and giving up a big play, but that's somewhat offset by the chance he chucks an ugly interception.
The second guy to worry about is Fitzgerald Toussaint, Michigan's primary running back. He's a smallish, darting runner with the ability to juke in a phone booth and very good (but not great) top end speed. He cracked 1000 yards on the season with a late surge.
About two weeks ago I was taking a somber walk out of Bank of America stadium, lamenting over how the ACC championship loss was a sad way to end the season. The depression of was short-lived, replaced the next night by the elation of VT getting a bid to the Sugar Bowl.
Big game featuring two big name playcallers in the Big Easy. What more is there to ask for?
Best Bowl Game Scenario
Of course I'd rather have seen the Hokies get revenge against Clemson and earn another ACC title, but VT ended up with the best bowl scenario. A win would have sent VT to Miami for the 4th time in 5 seasons to play against a WVU team that hasn't been impressive. There is the rivalry with WVU, but Orange Bowl fatigue combined with a Wednesday night kickoff against a low ranked opponent would produce a ho-hum response from fans and the national media. Beating the Big East champion doesn't provide any real upside to national reputation either.
Lil' Wang practiced on Saturday for the first time since breaking his foot against ECU. That's great news as far as the future of the o-line is concerned. Both starting guards, Jaymes Brooks and Greg Nosal, are seniors. The coaches raved over Wang during spring practice and August camp and he figured to rotate at guard this season. In his only complete game of the season he played 29 snaps against Appalachian State and graded out at 89 percent. Michigan's two inside tackles are stout, and it'd be a huge boost for his progression to get work against them.