A quick thought about those other Hurricanes

November 6, 2005

It is the conventional wisdom that tonight’s Virginia Tech – Miami game is going to be a defensive showdown. So much has been written along those lines, it makes me think back to the last time I read such thinking in such quantities. It was the championship game of the ’99 season between Florida State and Virginia Tech.

I am not saying that the score is going to be 46-29, but I would not be surprised for the winning team to require more than three touchdowns (and those touchdowns be scored by the offense).

I think the Hokies take this one in a relatively easy fashion.

8:20 1 st Quarter – Miami forces a fumble deep in Hokie territory setting up the first scoring opportunity. The Hokies defense makes their stand at the ten yard line with Miami’s freshman quarterback overthrowing a wide open receiver in the end zone on second down and another incomplete pass on second down. Miami opts for the field goal. Miami 3 Virginia Tech 0

3:07 1 st Quarter – One of the things that made the afforementioned Sugar Bowl a wide open game was Michael Vick’s 97 rushing yards. In this game, Marcus Vick has run for a couple of first downs and showed how the running game can loosen up the pass defense (alas, his pass to a wide open receiver far downfield was a bit too long). Miami’s defense tightned up after that and forced a punt. Miami 3 Virginia Tech 0

End of 1 st Quarter – Miami’s star running back Tyrone Moss limped off the field, something that would seem to greatly affect Miami’s offense. However, teams that are great at running the ball are great running the ball, no matter which tailback it is doing the running. I doubt Miami’s backup tailback is a slouch (I know Virginia Tech is well stocked at the position, with two seniors and a freshman that is also a big play threat. I’ve no reason to believe Miami has a dearth there).

9:52 2 nd Quarter – A combination of running and screen passes with timely intermediate passes moves Miami just inside the Hokies’ 20 yard line. A dubious personal foul penaty turns a potential 3rd and 10 to a 1st and goal. Running game sets up a 4th and goal from inside the 1 yard line…

9:49 2 nd Quarter – …Miami easily runs it in for the touchdown. Miami 10 – Virginia Tech 0

8:00 2 nd Quarter – Marcus Vick throws two incomplete passes and tries to run his way to a first down, but steps out of bounds, bringing up a punt for Virginia Tech.

5:01 2nd Quarter – A penalty then a run followed by negative yardage brought up a 2nd and 17 situation that is near impossible to get your team out off when the opponent is Virginia Tech. A 10 yard draw play helps, but an incomplete pass on third down brings forth a punt.

4:04 2nd Quarter – Marcus Vick gift wraps an overthrown pass to that lands in the hands of a Miami defensive back.

1:48 2nd Quarter – 3 and out for Miami.

Halftime – A 3rd down holding penalty dooms Virginia Tech’s drive. A block in the back on the punt return, followed by a false start denies Miami the ability to take advantage of the short field.

The stat of the game that shows how it has not gone as I expected is Marcus Vick’s passing line

Comp Att Yds % YPA Sacks YdsL TD INT Vick 1 10 6 10 0.6 2 14 0 1

He does, however, have 29 yards rushing.

Lead rusher is Miami’s second string tailback Charlie Jones. He has 33 yards.

Tech needs to let the running game set up the pass. They can’t continue playcalling that yields incomplete pass, incomplete pass, then 3rd and 10. Similarly, Vick cannot have another lapse in patience that brought forth his interception.

Aided by the personal foul, Miami was able to do what needs to be done to beat Virginia Tech. That is: Drive the ball the length of the field even though the defense will not allow a big play.

If Miami pulls a repeat of that drive, then Virginia Tech is in very deep trouble.

10:56 3 rd Quarter – A 29 yard run by Miami’s Charlie Jones starts Miami’s drive and Tech’s defense is off-balance until Miami gets inside the 10 yard line. 2 yard run, sack, incomplete pass leads to a Miami field goal. Miami 13 – Virginia Tech 0

7:04 3rd Quarter – Marcus Vick fumbles the snap and Miami recovers. Turnovers like these are the stuff that upsets are made of.

3:22 3rd Quarter – Moving 57 yards in 9 plays, Miami converts the turnover into a touchdown. I am extremely pessimistic of Tech’s chances to rally. Miami 20 – Virginia Tech 0

1:43 3rd Quarter – Vick fumbles in his own end zone, Miami recovers. Tech’s fate is sealed. Miami 27 Virginia Tech 0

:48 3rd Quarter – Marcus Vick fumbles. Again Miami recovers the football.

:43 4rd Quarter – Tech gets the ball right back with an interception. Still, I am in too much pain to cover the game further.

I remember a bit too well the last time Virginia Tech was shut out. Oddly enough, it was in Blacksburg as well. The opponent, however, was of slightly lower stature and the game was played in a torrential rainstorm. The year was 1995, the opponent was Cincinatti, and the score was 16-0. The next opponent was Miami, who Tech defeated 13-7. The Hokies did not lose again that season as they beat Texas in the Sugar Bowl.

Overall, this has to be Miami’s most devestating defeat of an opponent since the 31-0 upset of #1 Florida State in 1988.

All for tonight.

But wait, there’s more!

8:07 4th Quarter Vick runs for a touchdown to avert the shutout.

Ok, really, all for now. Some college football ruminations will be published here in the morning…

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