It has been four days since Matt Ryan’s TD pass late in the rainy Blacksburg
night brought an end to one of the most thrilling games in recent years for the
Hokies. A game like this, decided in the last fifteen seconds, is ripe for
second-guessing, and as the days go by and things settle in, I find myself
giving more and more credit to Matt Ryan. I also find myself questioning the
Virginia Tech coaches and thinking that the offense was a big reason the Hokies
Emotionally, this was a crushing defeat. Tactically, and in the context of
the ACC championship race, it was nearly meaningless, as Virginia gave the
Hokies a mulligan on the BC game by losing to lightly-regarded NC State on
Saturday. The Hokies and Hoos are still in front in the Coastal Division and are
still tied in the loss column. One of them will still likely have to beat the
other to win the division championship.
That is small consolation, though. I will always remember where I was and how
I felt when Andre Callendar caught the winning touchdown pass in this game, just
as I will always remember the same details when Donovan McNabb’s throw nestled
down in the arms of Syracuse tight end Stephen Brominski on November 14, 1998.
There’s nothing quite like that feeling, that 2-3 seconds where you’re
wishing-wishing-wishing what you just saw didn’t happen, that you imagined it,
that it will go away.
But it doesn’t, and you’re left to deal with the residue.
This was a perfect night, up until the last 4 minutes and 16 seconds. Sure,
it was raining, but the game was playing out the way we all felt it would. The
Hokies were putting on a defensive clinic, one of the most impressive
performances I’ve ever seen from Bud Foster’s unit, and I’ve seen a lot of them.
After a “season of malaise,” after all the recovery from April 16th,
the Hokies were kicking off the final stretch of the season in fine fashion,
burying the #2 team in the country and even putting themselves (gasp!) back into
the national title discussion.
Then it all came apart, and the second guessing and what-iffing commenced.
In the last four minutes of this game, the Hokies gave up touchdown drives of
92 and 66 yards, and Bud Foster is taking some heat for putting his troops in a
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