Which got me thinking, what are the greatest moments in Virginia Tech football history after that season?
So I came up with a list of them, and I'm going to present them in countdown fashion leading up to the Techmo Bowl on Labor Day. Keep in mind that there's very little empirical analysis going on here. I just picked the games that jump out at me as I reflect back on Virginia Tech football since the magical '99 run and ranked them into an order that I then glanced at and said, "Eh, looks about right."
I have my top ten, but this post briefly highlights three other games that didn't quite crack that list. I'll then devote one post to each of the top ten moments.
HONORABLE MENTION #1:
VT 38, MIAMI 35
October 8, 2011
Perhaps it's because of its recency that I hesitate to include this game in the top ten, but I at least tell myself it's because the game itself was not of enough importance to merit it. Miami came into Lane Stadium at 2-2 with loses to Maryland (!) and Kansas State, while VT had just been shellacked by Clemson (the first time). Both teams had lost a bit of their luster, so of course they both went on to play one of the most exciting games of the 2011 season.
This game restored my faith in Lane Stadium after that embarrassment against Clemson. It also signaled the departure of Logan Thomas the converted tight end and heralded the coming of Thomas the Tank Engine. (Personally I still prefer L-Train.)
And we got to welcome the Golden boy to the ACC by putting the Fear in him:
VT 41, NC State 30
October 2, 2010
Virginia Tech is simply not built to come from behind. But a consistent theme of the Tyrod Taylor era at Virginia Tech was redefining what our offense could and could not do.
Virginia Tech screwed the pooch right out of the gate against the Wolfpack, spotting them 17 points less than one minute into the second quarter. Virginia Tech had never overcome that big of a deficit to win a game before. It had come close against Boise State earlier that same season but ultimately fell short. But against Tom O'Brien's team Tyrod Taylor and the Hokies would make history. The Hokies struggled back to take the lead for good with 1:27 left in the 4th quarter. The comeback was anchored by three Tyrod Taylor TD passes and three picks by Jayron Hosley, whom Russel Wilson apparently thought was on his team.
This game is also remembered for a brilliant tackle-eligible touchdown pass from Tyrod to Andre Smith, which in its own right was historic for a Bryan Stinespring offense.
HONORABLE MENTION #3:
VT 17, UVA 0
November 25, 2006
There's actually very little to write about this particular game. VT had 302 yards total offense, which is actually seven yards MORE than VT averaged per game that season. VT's scores came on a long pass from Sean Glennon to Eddie Royal, a goal line plunge by injury-plagued tailback George Bell, and a Brandon Pace field goal.
So why include such a pedestrian game in a list of greatest football moments? Because it was the fourth time that season the Hokies had put a zero on the scoreboard beside the other team's name.
The 2006 Hokies led the nation in total defense (219.46 ypg), scoring defense (11.0 ppg) and pass defense (128.23 ppg). It was 11th against the rush (91.23 ypg). Anchored by linebackers Vince Hall and Xavier Adibi, with Brandon Flowers and Macho Harris in the backfield and Chris Ellis at defensive end, the 2006 defense was the nastiest damn thing Bud Foster had ever put on the field.
Make no mistake about it, if our offense had demonstrated even a rudimentary understanding of the game that season we would have won a national championship. Unfortunately we had just overhauled our entire offensive coaching staff, and that was also the first season after Marcus Vick had been dismissed from the team. Stop and think about that for a second. Had Marcus Vick not given himself a cranial colonoscopy (stop and think), he would have played his senior year opposite the greatest Bud Foster defense...ever.
Damn you, empty trophy case. You mock me so.