"IT'S JUST ANOTHER STADIUM"
This is not a game preview.
If this were a game preview, I'd talk about how Clemson hasn't beaten Virginia Tech since 1989, and about how in the five games we've played since then the average Virginia Tech margin of victory has been 22.6 points. I'd talk about how Clemson's offense is prolific (503 yards, 37.75 points per game), but its defense is anemic (90th Total D, 85th Rushing D, 73rd Passing D, 66th Scoring D). I'd talk about how Tajh Boyd has never started a game away from home in his career, and how he's never thrown a pass with Torrian Gray's secondary on the field or against a Bud Foster defense that lives to disguise coverages and blitzes and confuse young quarterbacks. I'd talk about how important it is for David Wilson and Josh Oglesby to stay patient and wait for their blocks, because this is a defense that our O line can open holes against. I'd talk about how important it is for the secondary - especially the safeties - to stay disciplined and not freelance, because the drops we've been fortunate to see from other offenses we've faced will be long touchdowns by Clemson. I'd talk about how the preseason was over, and about how now VT begins the quest to repeat not only as ACC champions, but as undefeated, undisputed ACC champions.
This is not a game preview.
This is a call to arms.
The gauntlet has been thrown down. Riding high on a 4-0 start, including wins over two programs whose names carry more gravitas than the Hokies, the Clemson Tigers are coming into Lane Stadium confident. Overconfident, I would say. Yes, they have beaten the defending national champions, the Auburn Tigers, a team that no one in their right mind expects to compete for another title - national or SEC - without Cam Newton. Yes, they've beaten Florida State. Or, more succinctly, they've beaten FSU's second string, since their starting quarterback, three of their four starting receivers, and their starting cornerback were out with injuries. But they beat them, and they beat them on a national stage. So they are sure of themselves.
"They don’t change the field. The ball is the same, you put on your uniform the same." - Dabo Swinney, Clemson head coach
"If we score fast enough and often enough, it might be a little quiet in there." - Tajh Boyd, Clemson quarterback
"We don't expect the fans, the crowd noise, to affect the way we do things. For us to go in there and win at Virginia Tech, that’s going to be something. The plane ride back is going to be fun for all of us" - Landon Walker, Clemson right tackle
But all of this has been done at home, in front of a friendly crowd. This team does not know the meaning of the word noise. Not a single player on this Clemson squad has played a game at Lane Stadium. So you can understand why they don't know what they're about to walk into Saturday night in the mountains. It is up to us to show them. If you are going to this game, remember that you, along with 66,232 of your friends, are the voice of Hokie Nation. You are why Lane Stadium ranks as high in intimidation factor as stadiums that hold 40,000 more people. And just like the young men suiting up for Frank Beamer, we need four quarters of effort from you. Scream until your voice breaks. Jump until your knees give out. And take the biggest damn key ring you can find. Remind Clemson that it was against them in 1999 that Corey Moore christened Lane Stadium "the Terror Dome." Show the Tigers - and the world - why the words "night game at Lane" should strike fear into the hearts of opposing teams.
On a critical play from the FSU 1 yard line, Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd had to call time out because his center could not hear him calling for the snap over the crowd noise. The game was at Clemson.
The gauntlet has been thrown down. Hokies, pick it up.