First of all, thanks to all of you for the kind words of support.
Second of all, HOLY SHIT did you see that?
I always try to find an angle in my game reviews that maybe wasn't totally apparent when you just watch the game, some little quirk or stat or something that happened that was unusual or noteworthy. Against Georgia Tech it was hard to find some aspect of the game that wasn't spectacular in some form or fashion.
Spectacular Thing No. 1: LT finished with a relatively un-spectacular 209 yards passing. But 105 of those yards - over half - came from passes on third down with more than ten yards to go. The play calls on these downs might as well have been called Western Union; the pass that was coming was just that telegraphed. And remember that Georgia Tech's passing defense was supposed to be good.
Spectacular Thing No. 2: Although at times throughout the game it felt like GT was gashing Bud Foster's defense (and they were; see the part of my preview about blocking one defender out of the play making the entire defense look like idiots), our defense held GT to 134 fewer total yards, 85 fewer rushing yards, and 11.5 fewer points than they came in averaging. We did this exactly the way I said we would have to: by forcing Georgia Tech out of the triple option late in the game and once we did that set up...
Spectacular Thing No. 3: Georgia Tech had NEGATIVE ONE YARD TOTAL OFFENSE in the fourth quarter. I don't think I have ever seen a defense clamp down and ice a game the way this defense did against Georgia Tech, especially when the first three quarters were of a decidedly more "bend but don't break" flavor.
Spectacular Thing No. 4: We stuck with the run. Despite LT's ridiculous passing stats on third and long, the game plan was to line up and run at them until they proved they could stop it. And a twelve yard quarterback sneak for a touchdown proved they couldn't stop it. Every third and short I kept thinking to myself, okay, here's where we see a classic Stiney slow developing off tackle run by the tailback, and every time I was halfway through that thought LT was already eight yards down the field. Mike O'Cain called a BRILLIANT game with the exception of two plays, and I'll always cut some slack when the number of situationally inappropriate play calls can be counted on one hand. We stuck with what was working. That's a theme I could get used to.
Spectacular Thing No. 5:
I could write more about this game, but the combination of time constraints and physical exhaustion mandate that I instead move ahead to...
Part the Second: Our Distinguished Opponents: UNCheat
Thank God it's Senior Day.
There are so, so many reasons to be worried about this game:
- We are coming off an emotional win against a heated rival.
- Bud Foster has one week to get the defense back to playing base after changing essentially everything for one game.
- Next week is a rivalry game (okay, UVA isn't much of a rivalry these days)
- It's against a team that has nothing to play for but pride.
But this will be the final home game for a lot of really talented Hokies, who should be fully motivated to make their last game on Worsham Field a good one. I'm having a very difficult time wrapping my mind around the idea that after tomorrow we will never again see Danny Coale or Jarrett Boykin catch a pass inside Lane Stadium.
UNC is a schizophrenic mess of a football team. One week they look great, then they turn right around and get shut out by a very bad NC State team. We have no way of knowing which team will actually show up on a frigid Thursday night in Blacksburg, so we need to be prepared for their best shot.
This is a matchup of two stout rushing defenses versus two good running backs. Freshman Giovani Bernard is the primary workhorse for the Tarheels. He's over 1,000 yards rushing for the season and averages over 5.4 yards per carry. David Wilson, on the other hand, is David Wilson. Both backs will probably get their yards, but look for each man to have to fight for them.
The disparity in this matchup is our passing game against their passing defense. UNC is piss poor and defending the pass, giving up over 248 yards through the air. That's good for 90th in the nation and dead last in the ACC. Meathooks and 7-Eleven have an opportunity here to make their last game at Lane Stadium a memorable one.
I don't know if any players read this blog. If they do, please humor me in taking some advice from someone who never played the game at anything approximating this level. You only get so many of these. That rings true of everything, no matter what the hell it is. Downs of football. Years of college. Sunrises. You only get so many. Make every one count.