It was time to step up. After three easy victories against inferior
competition, the Cincinnati Bearcats came to town with the best team the Hokies
had faced so far this season. If the Hokies didn’t believe that before the
game, they certainly did by the end of the third quarter. Having played very
little in the fourth quarter all season, Tech’s first unit found themselves
very much on the field this time around, in the middle of a dogfight, with the
outcome of the game squarely in the balance. Challenged for the first time, it
was time to step up. And step up they did. With a dominating fourth quarter
outburst on both sides of the ball, the Hokies erased a one point deficit and
pulled away to a 29-13 victory over the underrated Bearcats.
What can we take from this game? The coaches immediately talked about the
positives — how the team needed a challenge, how they responded so well to
adversity, how they showed the heart to adapt and overcome. This was the type of
game that will be very beneficial in the long run, and it came just at the right
On the other side, there were the concerns expressed by fans and the media —
the offensive line continued to struggle, the defense got pushed around a bit,
and the QB play was up and down. If they had this much difficulty with
Cincinnati, then look out against Georgia Tech, Boston College, Clemson and
Differing points of view, yet both are accurate and valid.
It’s easy to figure out that the offense didn’t get a lot done in the
first half. Cincinnati’s front seven was quick and athletic, and they gave the
Hokies’ offensive line a lot of problems. Primarily, the Bearcats went with
8-man fronts, man-to-man coverage, with some sort of blitz on nearly every play.
They threw in a few wrinkles, one of which was to line their nose tackle
directly over center Danny McGrath when Tech was showing a run formation. This
created some confusion in the tandem blocking between McGrath and the young,
inexperienced guards Ryan Shuman and Sergio Render. A little confusion and a
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