2006 Monday Thoughts: The Duke Game

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The
biggest story to come out of Saturday’s game, other than the play of Sean
Glennon, is the whopper of a hit that Aaron Rouse laid on Duke quarterback
Thaddeus Lewis. The hit brings up once again the subjects of dirty play,
punishment for personal fouls, game suspensions, and the image of the VT
football team.

With 9:52 to go in the second quarter, Lewis broke the pocket, threw the ball
to the outside, and got absolutely blasted by Rouse, who laid a
helmet-to-helmet, or more accurately, helmet-to-chin, hit on Lewis that sent him
out of the game with a concussion. I’ve watched the hit a number of times. The
LFS/Raycom broadcast only showed one angle during their numerous replays, a shot
from ground level in the south end zone. For some reason, no other replays were
shown.

Most plays look different in full speed versus slo-mo, but the interesting
thing about the Rouse hit is that it looks very different when played in
two speeds. The slo-mo shot from the south end zone, let’s just say, makes Rouse
look like a real head-hunter. It looks as if he sees the ball get thrown,
gathers himself, builds up speed for two steps, and then flattens Lewis. It’s
enough to make Rouse’s biggest supporters recoil.

When you watch the full-speed version from the press box camera, Lewis
escapes the pocket, flicks the ball to the right, and zing! Rouse hits him. It’s
a split-second, bang-bang play that doesn’t look nearly as vicious and
calculated as it does from the other angle, in slow motion.

Rouse was flagged for a helmet-to-helmet personal foul, and he stayed in the
game. He didn’t dance over Lewis, or talk trash, or high-five other Hokies to
celebrate his hit. There was even a shot of Rouse on television, seeking out the
referee, with a “You called that on me?” look about him when he
realized there was a penalty.

There was talk after the game, which persists to today, that the ACC might
look at the play and decide whether or not to suspend Rouse for a game. From
what I can tell, that’s just talk,

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