What a difference a year makes. Last year, the Hokies went to the Orange Bowl
and scratched and clawed their way to a tough, hard-fought 17-10 victory over
the Miami Hurricanes. That game was a physical battle that came down to a
critical turnover and a couple of key tactical decisions by the Tech coaches
that out-maneuvered the guys on the other sideline. The loss to the Hokies was
the second of what would become a four game losing streak for the Canes, sealing
the fate of head coach Larry Coker and his staff.
One year later, things have only declined further for what was once the top
college football program in the nation. Under new coach (and former Miami LB)
Randy Shannon, the wheels have all but fallen off the once-proud, always defiant
Miami program. After getting shellacked by the Virginia Cavaliers 48-0 in the
Orange Bowl’s swan song, the Canes were called out by their own recruits as “quitters”
and “guys that didn’t care whether they won or lost”. Shannon even warned the
players that they were on the verge of being labeled as “losers” for the rest of
their lives. No question — the Canes came to Blacksburg with their pride
bruised and a big chip on their shoulders.
Quite honestly, I was expecting all of that stuff to make a huge difference
in how the Canes came out and performed. The Hokies have become one of their
fiercest rivals (losing eight out of 12 to a team will usually do that), so
motivation and effort has never been an issue.
Make that nine out of 13 now. The Canes played better this week (especially
QB Kyle Wright), but they couldn’t hang long enough with a Tech team that has
really come together since that heartbreaking loss to Boston College. The result
was a 44-14 spanking by the Hokies — the fifth loss in six games for the
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