Hokies Blow 18-Point Lead, Escape St. Bonaventure in OT

Playing with just eight scholarship players, Virginia Tech saw an 18-point first half lead disappear before pulling out a 76-68 overtime victory against St. Bonaventure in Rochester, NY Thursday. Tech (7-4) played without Dorenzo Hudson and Cadarian Raines who were ruled out for the season earlier in the day, leaving them with just three options off the bench.

The Hokies came out strong in the first half, shooting a robust 52% from the field. The Hokies opened up an 18-point lead at 34-16, thanks primarily to the play of Erick Green. Making his third career start, Green wasted no time, accounting for 11 of his 15 points in the first 20 minutes, while also recording four steals. Jeff Allen also played well in the first half, recording just one foul.

However, the Bonnies closed the game to within 13 at the half and opened up the second half on a 13-4 run to cut the Tech lead to four. SBU nailed nine of its first 13 shots out of the gate, while Tech attempted just six shots. Also, Allen picked up three fouls in the first 7:30 of the half and was sent to the bench. The teams traded basket the rest of the half, with the Hokies’ lead varying between two and six. The Bonnies couldn’t ever tie or take the lead, though, until point guard Ogo Adegboye nailed an NBA range three-pointer with 18 seconds to go to tie the game at 65. Malcolm Delaney’s last second shot missed everything.

Hokies Lose Hudson and Raines to Injury

The Tech basketball team is down to eight scholarship players after the university announced that senior guard Dorenzo Hudson and sophomore forward Cadarian Raines will miss the rest of the season due to injuries.

Hudson has been battling a right foot injury since the end of last season and an orthopedic surgeon recommended that the senior undergo surgery, according to the school’s release. Luckily, Hudson is eligible for a medical redshirt since he has played in less than 30% of Tech’s games and will return next year. Hudson is the team’s third-leading scorer with 10.4 points per game. Despite not playing up to his third team All-ACC standard from last year, his loss leaves Tech without a proven scoring threat in the backcourt aside from Malcolm Delaney.

Raines has been nagged by an injury to a toe on left foot. The sophomore will also be eligible for a medical redshirt and return for his second year of eligibility next year. After having surgery early last year, Raines reinjured the foot and underwent another surgery this past April, but has not healed to the doctor’s liking. Raines has played in just four games this year, accounting for only 21 minutes off the bench.

Hudson and Raines adds to a long list of injuries for Tech. The duo now joins redshirt sophomore Allan Chaney and senior JT Thompson on the injured list. All four will be able to return next year, assuming they’re healthy.

St. Bonaventure Preview

Who: Virginia Tech Hokies (6-4, 3-1 neutral) vs St. Bonaventure Bonnies (6-3, 0-0 neutral)

When: Thursday, December 23 @ 7:00 p.m.

TV: None

Where: Blue Cross Arena, Rochester, NY

The Opponent: The Bonnies enter Thursday's action coming off a 112-107 4 OT victory against the Ohio Bobcats. The game was the longest in the school's 91-year history and improved St. Bonaventure's record to 6-3, with their losses coming against Canisius, Cleveland State, and Niagra. SBU does have a rather impressive 67-66 victory at St. John's.

The Hokies and Bonnies were both members of the Atlantic 10 from 1995-2000, with the schools meeting five times during that span. Tech has lost three straight to SBU, but the Bonnies have since forfeited their victory in 2002 due to an ineligible player. The two squads have not met on the court since.

Six Pick: Bowl Season Special Part II

With joy and regret this is the last Six Pick of the season. After choking down the salad and chewing on potatoes (Idaho’s finest) the meat is sitting, waiting, on the table. Bragging rights are on the line as conferences line up their best teams against one another. A little more than two weeks, that is all that is left, and the season is complete. College football will be missed during those long eight and half months off, but I am going out on a bender. I’ll savor the last of the remaining games with a fistful of beer and some witty Twitter banter. You will notice not all games are represented in pictures, some just aren’t worthy. Choose wisely against the spread, these 28 games are going to guarantee a lot of movement in the pick ‘em. My picks will come later in the week, with a bonus word association for each game.

Beamer Wins the Joseph V. Paterno Award

While there isn't an official release from the Maxwell Football Club Jimmy Robertson announced on Twitter that the Frankinator won the inaugural Joseph V. Paterno Award. The award recognizes excellence both on and off the field.

The award, the first of its kind, is designed to honor the spirit of Coach Paterno, whose long-time success on the field has been matched only by his impact away from it. Through a nomination process, each current head coach has been evaluated since the summer based on his school's performance on the field, in the classroom, and within the community. For almost half a century, Coach Paterno has demanded all-around excellence from his student-athletes, as will an award that carries his name.

via Maxwell Football Club's website

Beamer was selected over finalists Troy Calhoun of Air Force, Pat Fitzgerald of Northwestern and Chris Petersen of Boise State.

After running off eleven consecutive wins, including a 4th ACC Championship, and for his work in the community, like with Herma's Readers, the award is most well deserved. Congratulations!

Mississippi State Recap: Hokies Win by 31 in Paradise

We can't say the Hokies looked good, but they definitely sounded good in an 88-57 domination of a fatigued Mississippi State club in the Bahamas. Some people say that this one should be taken with a grain of salt due to the Bulldogs being tired from playing six games since last Saturday, but a 31-point win is a 31-point win, especially over an SEC team.

The Hokies were hot from the field, shooting an eye-popping 59% (17-29) in the first half. After missing their first three attempts, Tech made six straight and nine out of their next 10 shots to open up a 10-point advantage just nine minutes into the game. The Hokies also made 6-of-13 three-pointers in the first half, jumping out to a 44-27 halftime advantage.

Tech cooled off a tad in the second half, but still managed to shoot 50% for the game (30-60) and ended up making 9-of-25 from beyond the arc. According to Bill Roth and Mike Burnop, Mississippi State was one of the more tired basketball teams they've witnessed in awhile, and it showed on the boards, as Tech dominated the bigger Bulldogs 39-24, including 13 offensive rebounds to MSU's five.

All 11 players that made the trip got in the game for Tech, including Paul Debnam, who came in with more than 2 minutes to go. Debnam and Cadarian Raines were the only Hokies that didn't score in the contest, as the Hokies got production from everyone that saw significant playing time.

Mississippi State Preview

Who: Virginia Tech Hokies (5-4, 2-1 neutral) vs Mississippi State Bulldogs (7-2, 0-0 neutral)

When: Saturday, December 18 @ 8:00 p.m.

TV: None

Where: Atlantis Resort, Paradise Island, Bahamas

The Opponent: Mississippi State leaves the friendly confines of Humphrey Coliseum for the first time this year as the travel to the Bahamas to take on the Hokies. The Bulldogs are 7-2, with no victories over power conference opponents and two losses coming against Florida Atlantic (61-59) and East Tennessee State (63-62).

The buzz around this game is the debut of freshman Renardo Sidney (6-10, 275 lbs). Sidney was suspended all of last year and the first nine games of this year for taking improper benefits from an agent. Wanting to get him eligible for this game, head coach Rick Stansbury scheduled four games in four nights (all wins) from Saturday to Tuesday for his team. In addition, MSU battled Bellhaven in an exhibition on Wednesday in the unofficial debut of Sidney. The big man scored 10 points and grabbed 6 boards, but only played 15 minutes due to cramps and fatigue. The potential NBA lottery pick seemed so out of shape on Wednesday it made Jeff Allen look like he was in shape during his freshman year. It's still a mystery of how much Sidney will play and how effective he will be when he's on the court.

Orange Bowl Helmets?

Via anonymous email (ohhhhhh) comes a tip that these are the helmets we'll be wearing against Stanford in the Orange Bowl. They're bold, but the color is appropriate for the bowl. I think if we pair them with the white uniforms they'll look pretty sharp.

It would be the first time we wear orange helmets.

And here's the reverse angle from @edubrew's Yfrog.

Although it hasn't been made official by the athletic department, I think it's safe to say this is the hat we'll be sporting in Miami.


Film Study: Stanford Dominates Arizona

Arguably Stanford's most impressive win of the 2010 season was against #15 Arizona, a 42-17 pummeling of the Wildcats. The Cardinal never looked backed after jumping out to a 21-3 first half lead as Stanford maintained a comfortable 18-25 point separation throughout the second half. In 2010 Arizona held teams to an average of 343.25 yards (37th) and 21.58 points (33rd), Stanford gained 510 yards and held the ball for 37:03. Their defense surrendered yards (428), but made plays when they had to in order to keep points off the board.

Below is a breakdown of some game changing/interesting plays that caught my eye.

Stanford set the tone for the entire game with a well executed, forceful touchdown blow to Arizona's neck on their first possession by way of a play action touchdown pass to Chris Owusu.

After motioning, Stanford lines up in an offset I look. Arizona loads the box and defends with 8 men leaving their corners in one-on-one coverage with safety support over the top.

Six Pick: Bowl Season Special Part I

Let's be honest the first week of bowl games are usually filled with bottom feeder BCS schools and smaller schools who aren't that talented. That said, these games often end up pretty entertaining with a ton of points scored. The Las Vegas Bowl is clearly the shining star for the first seven games of the 2010-11 Bowl season with Boise State taking on Utah. However, don't let the lack of "name" teams scare you off, keep an eye on the games, you never know which one is going to be the one that combines for 80+ points and goes down to the wire.

Saturday, December 18

New Mexico - BYU -12 vs UTEP 2:00 pm ESPN

Humanitarian - Fresno State vs Northern Illinois -1 5:30 pm ESPN

New Orleans - Ohio U. vs Troy -1.5 9:00 pm ESPN

Penn State Recap: Hokies Show Signs of Life in 10-Point Victory

The Hokies finally got off the schnide Sunday afternoon, snapping a three-game losing streak with a 79-69 victory over Penn State. Despite playing without senior guard Dorenzo Hudson, the Hokies found a spark in sophomore Erick Green.

Green tied his career high with 15 points, including a crucial three-pointer to ignite a 10-0 second half run to counter an 8-0 run by Penn State. The Winchester, VA native played his best game as a Hokie, nailing 6-of-11 shots, including 2-of-5 from long distance.

Tech built an 11-point halftime lead after finally showing some offensive motion. Despite a week off, the Hokies were crisp on the offensive end, making extra passes and creating open shots. The balanced attack led to a 62.1% shooting percentage in the first half and a 44-33 advantage. On defense, the Hokies created multiple transition opportunities by gathering long rebounds and forcing the issue against a weak Nittany Lion squad.

Despite the 11-point advantage, the Hokies came out flat in the second half and saw their lead shrink to three before Green's clutch shooting. The Nittany Lions wouldn't go away, crawling back to within eight before the Hokies put the final nail in the coffin. In what could be considered the turning point of the season, Tech broke out a quick 6-0 run in 45 seconds that was punctuated by a Victor Davila block on one end and a thunderous dunk that forced a Penn State timeout.

Penn State Preview

Who: Virginia Tech Hokies (4-4, 1-2 home) vs Penn State Nittany Lions (7-2, 0-1 road)

When: Sunday, December 12 @ 1:00 p.m.

TV: Comcast Sportsnet

Where: Cassell Coliseum, Blacksburg, Virginia

The Opponent: The Hokies host their second Big Ten team in the Cassell this season as 7-2 Penn State comes to Blacksburg on a mini two-game win streak. Their 7-2 record is a tad misleading, as all seven of the victories have come against teams with RPI's higher than 122. The two losses were by a combined 36 points to Ole Miss and Maryland. Plus, their last two wins over Duquesne and Mount St. Mary's were each by four points.

The story with Penn State is guard Talor Battle (6-0, 170 lbs). The senior lit Tech up last year in State College, scoring 32 points before missing a tough layup that would've tied the game as time expired. Battle made five three-pointers in the game and was 12-of-26 from the field. This year, Battle again leads the Nittany Lions with 19.4 points per game. He's scored in double digits in all but one game this year, including 21 of the team's 39 in the 62-39 loss to Maryland.

Film Study: Stanford's Lone Loss

Oregon is responsible for the only blemish on an otherwise pristine Stanford record (11-1). The Cardinal took an early, and what looked like, commanding 21-3 lead over the Ducks, but could not hold on as day turned to night in a raucous Autzen Stadium. I wouldn't say Stanford lost the game as much as Oregon won it. Sure, Stanford turned the ball over four times in the second half, including once on downs starting from 3rd and goal at the 1 (finally stopped on 4th and 1 from the 6). Additionally, Luck's two interceptions were desperate attempts to get back into a game that was slipping away. Therefore, I believe it was more a case of Oregon executing flawlessly on offense and pressuring Luck in the pocket–something that was severely missing from the first half.

After watching the replay last night, I know more than ever that this is an excellent, tough as nails, and well coached football team.

Stanford on Offense

Their physicality, tempo, varied formations and precise execution reminds me of a NFL team.

The "Diamond" formation is all the rage these days.