“The U might be back, but we never left.” – Rashad Carmichael
“They’re a lot better than I thought they were.”- Bobby Bowden
Well, that was fun. Virginia Tech coupled a crisp, well-executing offense with its usual outstanding defense to totally dominate Nebraska on the way to a solid 16-15 wipeout of the Huskers that bordered on RUTS…….unless they did not.
They didn’t. Tech’s woeful offense demonstrated, again, a total ineptness not seen since the Carter Administration. The Hokies were able to hang around only because Bud’s bend-a-lot-but-don’t-break-all-the-way defense managed to hold Nebraska’s many ventures up and down the Lane turf to field goals  instead of touchdowns. Things did seem a bit bleak when what had appeared to be the last-chance drive ended with a 4th-down Tyrod pass bouncing off the hands of Dyrell Roberts. Then, something happened.
What happened was that the defense actually managed to hold Nebraska to a three-an-out, while Frank showed Huskers’ coach Bo Pellini the wisdom of hanging onto one’s times out until they are actually needed. Tech got the ball back inside of two minutes. Then, to the amazement of most everyone, Tyrod demonstrated why he was such a highly-regarded quarterback prospect before Stiney and Mike O’Cain got their hands on him. He found the flaw in Pellini’s ‘Don’t bother covering the white guy’ end game strategy and hit Danny Coale for 81 yards, then grooved a Gibson-esque fast ball that Roberts snagged in the end zone. What had seemed sure defeat for the good guys ended with a Nebraska fan on the airport shuttle bus, who had a cell phone glued to his ear, exclaiming, “They f****** scored. S***!” On that bus, his was the minority view.
Tech managed an improbable last-minute comeback that brought to mind similar finishes, such as the Miracle in Morgantown over the Cousins back in 1999 and for us riper Hokies, the Hail Mary that beat William and Mary way back in 1978, Bill Dooley’s first year, just about the only pass thrown by Tech during Dollar Bill’s nine years on campus. Well, after being on the receiving end of similar heroics by Donovan McNabb and Matt Ryan, the Hokies were again due.
The very tough loss and exhilarating win left Loonhuskers whining about the home cooking served Tech by what they perceived to be the obviously-biased Big XII officials while the Hokie loons fumed that all Tech had done was win the game. When loons from both sides are griping, you know you had an interesting game, if not an artistic one. When the statue in honor of Hoo prez Dr. Casteen is erected outside of Lane, perhaps a second should be place alongside to commemorate the guy who decided that football games should last sixty minutes instead of 58:16.
In the end, a win is a win is a win. This ain’t gymnastics; style points are not deducted. The record only shows that Tech is 2-1, not 1-2 and the biggest football joke this side of Hooville. Still, all of that preseason hoopla seems comical in retrospect. This team simply is not that good. The MNC hype was farcical. Even a third straight ACC title at the moment seems a reach, especially with the Canes, this weekend’s opponent, looking fairly Back [BTW, that so-called ‘Expert’ who keeps referring to Georgia Tech as the ACC’s ‘best team’ needs to have his credentials examined]. The Canes have leap-frogged Tech in the polls and will arrive at Lane a solid favorite over the home crew. But, there are reasons they play the games and the entire game at that.
Tech won. A ‘W’ affixed to the record would be quite the novelty in Hooville. While Tech was pulling what’s left of its national ranking and respect out of its posterior Saturday, the Hoos were doing exactly the opposite, squandering a 17-point lead in achieving a remarkable come-from-ahead defeat against Directional Mississippi. It took incredible amounts of focus and dedication to lose that game, but the Jeffersons managed to pull it off.
The Hoos had seemed energized by both playing, for the first time this season, in front of a far friendlier crowd than what they had been experiencing- one away from the Smithsonian- and by the ditching of the ballyhooed Spread offense. After deciding back in the Spring that since he was the best defensive coach on the Grounds there was no need for a Defensive Coordinator, the Great NFL Legend declared his offensive one superfluous, too. Out went Brandon’s spread and back came that famous ‘Run for your life, Jameel’ offense last seen in 2007. It worked for a while, too, enabling the Hoos to lose this time by a much smaller amount of points. The Grand Chessmaster algroh demonstrated a solid proficiency in horseshoes, too.
algroh professed satisfaction with his seventh straight loss over the last two seasons, claiming, “all we have to do now is tie things together.” He didn’t specify whether he was referring to the season or his contract buy-out. There were a lot of nervous Hoos around early Saturday evening, fraught with worry that algroh might again find some way of dodging the reaper, meaning they would be stuck with him for yet another year, but all’s well that ends well. There were no indications of how Hoo AD Craig ‘Whew, Tubby, that was a close one’ Littlepage felt about his coach declaring a moral victory due to only losing by 3 to a CUSA mid-major.
The month of September has blown by and we head into its last week. Time does seem to fly when you are having fun, as long as ‘fun’ is defined as sitting on the edge of your seat. Tech’s ambitious OOC schedule is now over for the most part and conference play looms. The Games That Really Matter begin Saturday, starting with a testing of the Canes Backness. After the Miracle on Spring Road, it is probably safe to assume that this weekend, nobody leaves early.