ACC Championship post-game

December 4, 2005

(Note: I wrote a half-time post, I swear I did, really. disappeared off the face of the earth shortly therafter and it is only now that I am able to post anything about the game… very unhappy that the halftime post didn’t get out there apparently… this is the second time I’ve experienced funkiness with posts).

(Am going to try to keep this focused on the game itself, along the lines that I started out on and not drift out)

Well, what I considered to be possible, but highly unlikely happened.  Florida State shut down the Virginia Tech running game, did not commit a turnover, and pulled what has to be their greatest upsed in 15 years (if not longer).

Willie Reid’s punt return in the early third quarter was the play of the season for Florida State.  An Alltel Stadium that seemed to have equally vocal FSU and VT fans suddenly became Doak Cambpell stadium as the war chant filled the stadium.  An already impassioned defense came out playing even harder and forced a turnover which led to another touchdown.  From that
point it started to look like a repeat of the Miami-Virginia Tech game as the Hokies seemed to be in freefall.A fumble late in the third quarter set up another Florida State touchdown and put the Hokies down by 24.

But, unlike their performance against Miami, the Hokies showed some fight.  A penalty for twelve men on the field on a punt (how the devil does that happen?!) revived a Virginia Tech drive that ended with the Hokies in the end zone.  A three and out for Florida State followed by a big pass play and a little Marcus Vick run makes things interesting.  Another three and
out by Florida State (partially because of the absence of the starting center) was cause for concern.  But a first down penalty by Virginia Tech doomed the next Hokie drive.  The next time the Hokies got the ball back it was 5:14 with them needing two touchdowns to win.  They got one touchdown, but not the onside kick that they needed to gain the opportunity to
score the second.

To me, the stat of the game remains the rushing stats for Virginia Tech  The team combined for 42 yards on 29 rushes.  Compare that to the  disasterous Miami game where they managed 125 yards nonetheless.

The other key thing for Florida State was 0 fumbles and 0 interceptions by their offense.  That had not happened since the Wake Forest game in early October.  Not coincidentally, that was their last game as an undefeated team.  The loss to UVA featured three interceptions. Ditto for the NC State loss.  Two picks in the Clemson loss.  Two picks plus two lost fumbles
in the loss to Florida.  When you don’t turn the ball over you can beat anyone and vice versa.

As is usually the case for big upsets, there are plaudits all over the place for the team.

Great play by the defense in general and the line in particular.  The first half featured what was prehaps the best first half defense in any Florida State game this year (certainly the best against a noteworthy opponent). FSU would have been in deep trouble had they been forced to play catch up and thanks to the defense they were not in that situation.

Absolutely incredible effort by the offensive line.  The battered group yielded only one sack and otherwise managed to give the quarterback Drew Weatherford just enough time to get the job done.

As implied earlier, a great job by Weatherford.  No interceptions.

In my now lost halftime comments, I stated that the only part of the team that I could find fault in was the wide receivers as they had let a few passes that they should have caught fly by or fall to the ground.  As it turned out, it was a wide receiver (Reid) that turned the game.

I’ll post some more general thoughts later today…


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