In the wake of the Hokies’ narrower than expected win over the Cincinnati
Bearcats, I heard a consistent comment from the pool of fans whose opinions I
respect: “Tech needed a game like this.” I agree. Cincinnati gave Virginia
Tech what the Hokies needed: a good, sharp smack in the mouth. Tech battled
back, learned a lot, and continues to develop as a team.
Cincinnati’s defense didn’t surprise me. Their offense did. First, the
defense. The Bearcats are smallish on the defensive line, with one of their
starting tackles, Tony Carvitti, going 250. Phil Martin warned us that Cincy was
quick and could make plays, but he also said they would wear down as the game
went on. This was evidenced by the way they held their ground against Ohio State
last week (13-7 midway through the third quarter), only to fade late.
Against the Hokies, Cincinnati’s D-line got a lot of penetration early in
the game (and late in the game, to be honest). The Bearcats also threw in an
eight-in-the-box configuration and blitzed a lot, bringing a ton of pressure on
Sean Glennon and shutting down Tech’s running game in the first half.
By now, you know the numbers: Brandon Ore had 7 carries for 17 yards in the
first half, and 18 carries for 153 yards in the second half. Sounds like Cincy
wore down, as expected. Maybe, maybe not. Ore’s breakout run, the one where he
announced himself in the second half as a force to be reckoned with, was his
24-yarder from the Hokie 26-yard line to midfield in the third quarter. The
Bearcats led 13-12 at the time, and the Hokies were involved in a dogfight, but
that run by Ore turned the game on the proverbial dime. From that point on, the
Hokies were in control, scoring the next 17 points.
My point is this: Ore’s 24-yard run was pretty much all Ore, not Cincinnati
wearing down. I haven’t seen the film yet (I don’t get ESPNU, and Hokie
Playback isn’t until Sunday), but I recall two or three Bearcats infiltrating
the backfield, and Ore juking about 17 guys on his way to the first down.
Having said that, the running lanes did open up from that point on, but the
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