2007 Monday Thoughts: UNC

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Coming into this game, we didn’t know which game was representative of how
the Virginia Tech offense would operate under Tryod Taylor: the Ohio game (473
total yards, 287 passing by Taylor) or William & Mary (287 total yards, 72
passing by Taylor). This game indicated that the struggles of the Tech offense
will continue, and even games against 19-point underdogs will turn out to be
dogfights.

The Hokies won this game 17-10, and to be honest, I didn’t feel threatened by
the Tar Heels down the stretch. It got a little dicey in the third quarter, when
the Heels started to get some traction and penetrated Tech’s ten-yard line with
the Hokies holding a slim 10-3 lead, but North Carolina did what young teams do
on the road: they coughed up a big turnover when true freshman Ryan Houston
fumbled into the Tech end zone.

A
few minutes later, redshirt freshman QB T.J. Yates, another talented but young
guy, made the mistake that finished the Heels off, throwing the ball across the
middle into tight coverage. The ball glanced off the receivers’ hands and into
the waiting arms of Xavier Adibi, who returned it to the UNC 12 yard line,
setting up the game-clinching TD.

Frank Beamer has fielded teams in the past with offenses that struggled, as
this year’s does, and even offensively potent Tech teams have found themselves
in individual games where yards and points were hard to come by. The formula for
winning those games is often the same: play it close to the vest, don’t make
mistakes, make like Chuck Norris … and wait. Often the other team will make
the critical mistakes, particularly if that team is less talented, young, or
both, as UNC is.

When the opposing team makes the critical mistake, you have to be
opportunistic. You have to convert. After the Adibi interception, the Hokies
did, sticking it into the end zone in just three plays, all runs right up the
middle. This was something Tech couldn’t do against William & Mary, but when
the time came to do it against UNC, up the gut they went behind Sergio Render,
who single-handedly paved the way for Branden Ore to pick up the yardage needed
for a

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