That's a tough loss to swallow. Like the rest of you probably feel, I felt like we left a lot of points on the field. Tech really played as good as, or better than, Clemson in the first half, yet trailed going into the locker room. Foster's defense held Clemson to 66 plays, 295 yards, and 31 points (yes, the final score was 38-17, but I'm not counting the pick six against the defense, and another 7 of the 31 came after the game was out of reach). That was a tremendous defensive effort; better than I dreamed they could do. Bud routinely answers the bell, so I shouldn't be surprised. Ultimately the offense couldn't pace Clemson in the second half, special teams blunders, and some shoddy officiating stopped the Hokies from winning. However, officiating is part of the game, and teams that execute efficiently overcome bad calls.
The offense looked like a hot mess in the second half. I don't have the benefit of the film, so I apologize if I'm not 100% accurate here. From the live viewing, I noticed a lot more zone read than the veer from the pistol (which was so successful last week) and the tailbacks didn't make their mark inside. There were a lot of questionable play calls in the second half.
Obviously the wide receiver pass that Marcus Davis sailed for a pick was at the top of the list. Which half of O'Cainspring made that call? And did any coach on the headsets veto it? If not, then group think overrode best judgement. As the head coach, Frank Beamer needs to stop that call dead and leave the ball in the hands of his quarterback. That decision was infinitely worse than the Coale run-punt option in the Sugar Bowl. That's not on Davis, and the coaches need to accept failure there.
Furthermore, on that same series, with 7:57 on the clock, 4 down football, they ran a stretch with Coleman to get the first instead of stretching the field vertically. That was after the defense forced a crucial three-and-out. What a wasted opportunity.
Even earlier than that, the false start on Eric Martin was partially baffling. Why is Eric Martin on the field in a long yardage passing situation? If the answer is, to block on screen, then there are no words for how incompetent the decision is. Either way, it's the wrong call or wrong personnel.
The rest of this post is a stream of consciousness of the bigger plays that I wrote during the game.
Luther Maddy, James Gayle both with sacks on the first series off a four man rush to set the tone of the game. The entire defensive line did an outstanding job of pressuring Boyd all afternoon. They had a bully's attitude, played tough, but smart. That group needs to show up next week, and every week in 2013.
The offense and Logan looked extremely crisp on the opening drive. Third-and-Logan was the only play that didn't work. Logan bounced it wide left to run behind David Wang. That's really all that needs to be said, but there really wasn't a push anywhere else. However, on the very next play LT3 made a total effort play to split two defenders for two crucial yards. Marcus Davis made a nice block after the Fuller reception to get in for six.
The Logan sweep on third-and-three had me screaming at my television. WHERE HAS THAT BEEN ALL SEASON? Logan pushed the pile a solid 2 yards meet the line to gain.
The fourth-and-one play call on the drive following the Michael Cole ass-cheeks-on-the-ground-interception was a stinker. For starters, I thought the spot was bad, granted all I saw was the one television angle. I like Beamer Co. being aggressive, but why run to the short side of the field, with Holmes, behind the left side of the line? Painter, and especially Benedict, have been the mashers along the right side of the line this season.
My initial reaction to Logan's second interception, "Guh." There was a little pressure by Clemson's end, Logan stepped up to throw, but the ball came out so badly it looked like it was tipped.
Michael Via's snaps were low all day long. That doesn't pair well with a 6-6 quarterback.
The Hokies owned the first half everywhere but the scoreboard. Tech ran 43 plays, totaled 248 yards, and held Clemson to 137 yards on 34 plays. Time of possession belonged to Tech too, 18:09-11:46. Two interceptions, and two special teams mistakes kept Clemson in the game.
Tech's first possession of the second half was abysmal. The end-around to Knowles towards the short side of the field was a busted play up front exacerbated by Knowles' trying to make something out of nothing. It was a high risk play that buried Tech behind the sticks. The screen on second down... perhaps an attempt to gain a little field position back and set up a manageable third down. A low throw stopped it before it could get started. Davis probably got interfered with on third down.
Nuk Hopkins definitely pushed off of Kyle Fuller before hauling in his touchdown.
Regarding the two terrible calls by the officials. I understand all levels of football are trying to protect the quarterback, but 1) Logan took a shot in the ribs after he released the ball earlier in the game and there wasn't a flag, and 2) LT3 is known to extend plays, and he was still moving when the play was blown dead. The fumbled that was confirmed on the field, there are no words. It was clearly a turnover.
At 31-10 Clemson, the failed fourth down conversion was maddening. Logan held onto the ball too long, Holmes to the short side of the field was his only outlet, but the offensive line failing to slide protection to the back side and getting beat by a four man rush was too hard to watch.
What did you guys think? (I know I don't have to say this here because you guys are great, but I've approved a lot of accounts recently, so for anyone new, we keep it civil and intelligent.)