Hokie fans, I apologize for the lateness of this piece but I’ll be honest, I couldn’t bring myself to even think about what happened on Saturday night. The Hokies fell to the Volunteers 45-24, in what I can say was a very disappointing outcome. I live in Bristol, which is full of Volunteer fans that crowed for days.
Now I can stand a loss when the team plays up to their ability and just comes up short. However, losing in a fashion where the game was very much in reach, but mistakes colored the outcome is just very hard to stomach. However, even in a loss such as this one, there is always a silver lining amongst the ugliness and fans, I think I have found it.
The silver lining or good part of the game, if you will, is the fact that the offense was able to run like it was designed. Honestly, you take away four terrible lapses in concentration and the offense played well. Let’s look at the stats: the Hokies threw for 214 and rushed for another 186, totaling 400 yards of offense. 400 yards of offense sounds like enough to win most games; however, this time it was not. The Hokies were serviceable on third down going 6-13 which is over 50 percent, once again most of the time good enough to win the game.
The long and short of it is the Hokies moved to ball down the field with ease at many points in the game against a top tier SEC defense. Yes fans, it was a top tier defense. Fans should be happy with the fact the offense seems to be more effective than years before. Last year, I will be the first to say many of these stats from the game would more than likely not have been possible. It seems that Justin Fuente has created a plan to take away the stagnate pace many Hokie fans grew accustom to seeing last season. This is a movement in the positive direction for the much maligned offense of the Hokies.
Now to the bad and ugly parts of the game; first I will look at the bad part of the game. The bad part is a familiar one for Hokie fans. The penalty miscues from last season have somehow found their way into this season. The Hokies were penalized 8 times for 101 yards. For all those non-mathematicians, that’s a little over 12.5 yards per yellow hanky.
How do you think you can give up 12.5 yards in mistakes 8 times and win? The answer is you don’t. Now we all know there aren’t any 12.5 yard penalties, but there are the 15 yard varieties, which the Hokies managed to get plenty of during the game. These personal fouls came at terrible times in the game as well as furthered the Hokies self destruction starting in the 2nd quarter.
The self-destruction of the Hokies was definitely the ugly part of the Battle at Bristol, along with the favoritism shown in what was billed as a neutral game.
First the self-destruction, which can be summarized in the five fumbles that ended any hope of a huge win on a even bigger stage. Virginia Tech has not had five fumbles lost since well ever. The stats only go back as far as 1987 so for at least 29 years, the Hokies have never fumbled so much. The sad thing was only two of these fumbles were actually caused by the Volunteers.
Two bad snaps to the quarterback and an incredible miscue on a punt (the second week in a row with a bad play on special teams) set the Volunteers up for their three touchdowns of under 25 total yards. I don’t care how good of a team you are or who you are playing, turn the ball over five times and you won’t win very many games.
The second ugly part was the shear amount of Tennessee in the stadium. First, for anybody that went to the game, you could see that the Volunteers outnumbered us by more than 2 to 1. This was true even in the Virginia Tech section which should never happen. Then the favoritism shown to the Volunteers by the game promoters was astonishing.
Now others might say this is sour grapes by me, but look at the facts; Tennessee had fireworks when they scored while Virginia Tech did not, the cannon was only fired once as well for a field goal in the second half. Next, was it just me or did the Tennessee band seemed to be mic’d up the whole game where the Marching Virginians were drowned out by house music.
Also, the exclusion of the Marching Virginians from the half time show that honored America was in a word unfair. If you were going to make a statement then why not include both teams’ bands. I mean, I could be just grasping at straws but it sure seemed like the game was almost a home game for Tennessee.
All this being said, the experience was one I’m not likely to forget anytime soon. The Hokies did not play the game they were hoping for, but there was plenty to build off of as well as plenty for the coaching staff to correct. The corrections will need to come quickly as a feisty Boston College team comes to Blacksburg to start ACC play. The Hokies will need to get back to firing on all cylinders, and have short memories about last weekend in order to take an important step in getting back to the top of the ACC. With that until next time, LETS GO HOKIES!!!!