A Game of Inches: Reviewing a Heartbreaking Sugar Bowl Loss

I woke up this morning with teeth gritted, brain throbbing, and my heart aching. The Hokies played their collective asses off last night, and for the outcome to be what it was just makes you sick to your stomach for those kids. The defensive line, perhaps for the first time since the injury to Antoine Hopkins, completely dominated the line of scrimmage. The Hokie secondary (after a couple of hickups early) was a ballhawking unit. The linebackers did all that was asked to make Denard Robinson look like a freshman without a clue. Logan Thomas and his receivers had an outstanding game.

That Team Made Me Proud.

"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.

Live Blog: Michigan

It starts at 8:00 PM east coast time. Box and BCO are running the show so play nice and go Hokies!

Sugar Bowl Primer: Photo Edition

Y'ALL. I'm still somewhat reeling from New Years Eve on Bourbon Street. Laughs help in the recovry, or so I'm told. 

I was having a hard time developing a dislike for Michigan fans. All of them that I had previously met seem like real, down to earth people. Fans I've interacted with are well knowledgable and passionate. They're smart, reasonable people. And then I saw some hipster douche go up to two elderly Tech fans in the hotel lobby, and obnoxiously real "GO BLUE" in their faces. TIME TO UNLEASH THE HATERADE. 

I dunno about y'all, but it's really annoying how the meda keeps harping on how Tech hasn't played any quality opponents.

Film Study: Michigan Preview

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.

BCS Six Pick

If the season has to end, it might as well walk away on Bourbon Street. From December 31st to January 10th Nawlins is the place to be. If I were living the dream, I'd spend New Year's Eve on B-Street, enjoy the Sugar Bowl two nights later and stay for the BCS national championship. The level of drunkenness for a near fortnight would surely land me in AA upon my return home. A small price to pay. Unfortunately, I can not go to the Big Easy this time around. I was there in 2000 and 2005. It was a damn good time. For those of you going, ball out for those of us who can't. A few words of advice for the newbies, keep your head on a swivel and not just for the sight of exposed boobs. If out of the corner of your eye you notice a 6'3" woman in lingerie, it's not a woman. Also look down from time to time. Walking through a pile of NOPD horse shit on Bourbon Street isn't going to help get you any positive attention from the opposite sex.

Monday, January 2nd

The Rose Bowl 10 Wisconsin vs 5 Oregon -6 5:00 pm ESPN

Hokie Tracks are antsy for the Sugar Bowl

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.

Sugar Bowl Game Notes

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.

I wrote this because I was drunk at Christmas.

I don't didn't intend to publish this. I'm I was writing for my own benefit. Sometimes you're alone with your thoughts because you stepped away from the table on Christmas Eve. It's healthy to get them out, I guess. Right now I'm writing along with the Eagles. Hotel California is one of those albums you should dedicate 40 minutes to listen to before you die. It's contiguous, not many albums today are. Don't get me wrong, there are timeless tracks that stand the test of time alone: Life in the Fast Lane, Try and Love Again and the title track, but together they're something else, in this case a classic.

I won't let go of the 2003 Miami game. If you've been hanging out here for a while you know I've written about it before. It's the most "Virginia Tech game" I've ever been to. It was a classic. Lane was bonkers, we ran the ball, we played defense, we forced turnovers, we stormed the field, we beat Miami. We should have won the national championship that year. We had the rep, we had the schedule, we had the team. If we played every game as hard, as tough, if we wanted every game that year as much as we wanted to beat Miami, fans and team alike, we would have been undefeated.

Merry Christmas

Hopefully, everyone is enjoying a little rest, relaxation, time with their family and their favorite bottle of brown. Unless something absolutely unexpected happens, like one of our players committing [INSERT SILLY CRIME HERE] or the Frankinator retiring from his post to peruse his lifelong dream of being a marshall at Pinehurst, we won't have anything new for you until Monday. Until then, if you got something on your mind, drop it in the forums or comments.

Of course the original is from Awkward Family Photos.


"Brian, leave Shane's Let's Rock Elmo alone, go play with your Hot Wheel Wall Tracks."

"But... Dad, it's broken. The car never get's up the loop."

"Don't do anything fancy now... Bud, how's dinner coming?"

Merry Christmas Everyone!

2011 Opponent Recap: Miami

MIA RECORD: 2-2 (0-1 ACC) (W 45-14 against Bethune-Cookman)

VT RECORD: 4-1 (0-1 ACC) (L 23-3 against #13 Clemson)

SCORE: (21) VT 38 – MIA 35

These are the most words that I will write about a kicker. Ever.

Cody Journell was hiding in some shrubbery outside of Dorenzo Hudson and Sean Allen's home after dark on Wednesday night. One of Journell's associates was standing outside of the door holding a pizza box1 that was concealing what looked like an Airsoft handgun (which, if you don't know, are realistic looking. Another cohort was chilling2 in the bushes. This was the opening scene to a perfectly asinine college caper destined to go wrong.

Mr. Mackey wasn't bullshitting, drugs are bad. People do a lot of dumb shit over drugs...

Q&A with MGoBlog

Below, Brian from MGoBlog gives MAN ANSWERS to my questions. Our answers to his questions are here (French took 1-8, I took 9-12).

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.