If you didn’t believe Lee Corso’s proclamation in 2000: “I don’t know what a Hokie is, but God is one of them,” you should now.
In a game fans are dubbing “The Lane Stadium Miracle,” the Virginia Tech football team stole a win in Saturday’s showdown with Nebraska.
Danny Coale’s 81-yard reception to the 3-yard line in the final minute of the game set up Dyrell Roberts 11-yard touchdown grab to give the Hokies a 16-15 win.
It was the longest passing play in seven years for the Tech program, and it could not have come at a more opportune moment.
Tyrod Taylor and the Tech offense spent much of the game being showered with boos, with ineptitude reminiscent of its most recent predecessors.
Next for the Hokies is Miami, which means coach Frank Beamer must rally his troops together and re-focus them for another big game.
There was a lot to learn from this game, but here are the five biggest tidbits to take from Saturday night.
Tech’s O-Line is still not on the same page
What started against Alabama continued against Nebraska: the big boys up front seemed to lack communication on several plays Saturday.
Taylor was in trouble much of the game, because Nebraska was able to get plenty of pressure with its front four and drop its other seven men into coverage. Ndamukong Suh, the star Huskers defensive tackle came unblocked on a couple plays, and disrupted Taylor’s rhythm all game long.
Tech’s offensive line is experienced and talented enough to open big holes in the running game and protect Taylor to throw. When they have been on the same page, Taylor has had enough time to find someone. But when someone comes untouched through the line, it is inexcusable.
Ryan Williams is the second coming of Kevin Jones
With every carry this season, Williams looks more like the former first round draft pick Jones. With the redshirt freshman’s burst at the line of scrimmage and uncanny vision, Williams will be one of the best running backs in the country for the next three or four years. He is leading the ACC in rushing yards per game, and tallied his second consecutive 100-yard performance against the “blackshirt” defense. His skill set is nearly identical to Jones’, and just like Jones, Williams is making a huge impact early in his career.
Nebraska is almost “back”
Bo Pelini’s rebuilding project in Lincoln is headed in the right direction. Last year, the Huskers only losses came to the Hokies, Texas Tech, Missouri and Oklahoma. All of those teams were ranked in the top 15 nationally at season’s end. A win in Blacksburg would have been a huge stamp on the program for Pelini. The Huskers are good, very good. Roy Helu, Jr. looks like an outstanding running back, and Zac Lee will only get better after his first collegiate start on the road. Suh and the defense looked outstanding Saturday, especially the defensive line. The Huskers should be the clear-cut favorite in the Big 12 North, and another conference champion from the south division is not a given.
Miami should be favored next week in Blacksburg
The Hurricanes have looked flawless in its first two games in 2009. Jacory Harris is conducting an offense that is clicking on every cylinder, and will be the most potent Tech has seen so far. Harris will be the best quarterback to face the Hokies so far, and his receiving corps is more talented than any other Bud Foster’s group has faced. The Hurricanes also boast an athletic defense along the same lines of Nebraksa’s. Right now, Miami looks to be the better football team. But I still have a hard time picking against coach Beamer in Lane. Who knows…
Virginia Tech has the best red-zone defense in America
In 2008, the number of times Tech’s opponents started possessions in Hokie territory was countless. For all of those short fields, the number of times Tech held their opponent out of the end zone was also countless. That was the case again Saturday, as Nebraska would drive the ball down to within scoring distance six times, yet only had five field goals to show for it. This is how Virginia Tech wins so many games: they find ways to score just enough points while their defense comes to the rescue time and time again. Every time it looks like the Hokies are left for dead, Foster’s squad steps up again.