Hokies Surprise All But a Few

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Gotta hand it to Phil Martin. In Wednesday’s projections article, Phil was
one of the few prognosticators — and the only one here at TSL — who picked
the Hokies to beat Clemson. Phil does most or all of his projections by
computer, and when he emailed the article in, he wrote, “As much as I
tried, the computer model still picked the Hokies. I have to admit that I was
surprised by that outcome.” Yeah, Phil, so was Clemson.

Here in the TSL offices, we started hearing buzz late Tuesday that the Hokie
coaching staff and players were inexplicably extremely confident about this
game. Several sources from different directions told us that the coaching staff
felt “very, very good” about this one.

Moral of the story? Listen to Phil’s computer and the sources close to the
team, I guess.

One person I talked to after the game — sorry, I don’t remember who it was
— summed things up nicely when he said, “This is what we were supposed to
be all year. A great defense, a good running game, and hard to beat at
home.”

True. Various things have knocked the Hokies off track at times this year,
but the team seems to be hitting its stride at just the right time. They’re
young and volatile, though, and their next game is on the road, so we’ll just
have to take it week by week and see what happens. I’ve said that all along, and
for now I’ll keep saying it.

But this article isn’t about next week, it’s about last night, a night in
which the Hokies made Clemson look ordinary and Branden Ore look extraordinary.
The game plan was clear going in: load up the box to stop the run, hope it
works, and put the game on Will Proctor’s shoulders. There was evidence that
Proctor was getting shakier as the season went on and that he wouldn’t be able
to carry Clemson to a win.

In the meantime, take good care of the football offensively, try to leverage
special teams into an advantage, and see what happens.

Have you ever seen such a simple game plan work so well? The Hokies went out
and carried out their marching orders with an assassin’s precision. The defense
played disciplined assignment football, tackled well, and turned in one of their
best performances in years. The offensive line opened holes in the running game
and protected well in

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