Publisher's Note: Cory Hancock was in Tallahassee photographing for TKP. He shares his experiences from behind the lense. — Joe
Here we are! The first game of the season was a doozy, and man, was it spectacular having a front-row seat to it all. From Bud Foster's defense flying all over the field to Beamer Ball making another special appearance with the G.O.A.T. as an honorary captain, the Hokies "chopped" down the house in Tallahassee.
This was by far the biggest game I have ever covered, and the jitters, uncertainty, and gratuitous amounts of hype that come with the season opener were tangible throughout the stadium. From the moment the Hokies stepped onto the field, they were loose and having what seemed to be the time of their lives. Something just felt different from other games I've photographed.
The Hokies were hyping up the stadium's southeast corner full of Hokie faithful right after warm ups concluded, and I could tell this team had a fresh hunger to go and prove that they could establish a solid statement win on the road in primetime.
Knowing Frank Beamer would be an honorary captain, I had to fight around hordes of media members to try to get a clear photo of him, and finally, it was as if Braxton Pfaff and Zachariah Hoyt opened the same hole they did for McClease on the opening drive.
Being the game was played in Florida, I knew some sort of rain would come down throughout the game, but the clouds over the stadium as the captains took the field provided a nice backdrop.
I wasn't prepared for all of the celebratory moments that would ensue once kickoff happened. The first fumble took place right in front of where I'd stationed myself, and the Tech fans in attendance roared at my back as Ladler hoisted the ball high. This was just the beginning...
...interception (this one being Farley's second).
As annoying as the rain can be to shoot in, it provides for a pretty incredible backdrop.
While the game offered numerous opportunities for excellent frames, this one of Caleb Farley may be my favorite. I watched him come in on a beautifully designed corner blitz (should we expect any different of Bud?), snag Francois, stand up and look directly at the camera while he celebrated. To me, this summed up the incredibly solid night the Tech defense had in one image.
Watching the team celebrate with the fans who traveled to see the opener only added to the expectation and thrill of what's to come.
Check out the entire gallery of Virginia Tech's 24-3 win over Florida State, and the archives at photos.thekeyplay.com.