2008 ECU Game Analysis: Fired Up Pirates Knock Out Mistake-Prone Hokies

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“Reality Check” — a quick search of the on-line dictionary defines
it as coming to terms with what is actually happening, rather than what one
chooses to believe. The Tech football team and their fans got a big dose of
reality served to them on Saturday with a tough, heart-breaking 27-22 loss to a
very good team from East Carolina.

Leading up to the game, I had said many times that I expected the Hokies to
win, but I wasn’t going to be surprised if they lost. East Carolina was an
experienced, talented team highly motivated to get a big win against their model
program, and there were just way too many question marks on the Tech side to
think this game couldn’t go either way. In the end, the Hokies had a chance to
win, but they wore down late and a series of key mistakes opened the door for
ECU to pull out the victory.

Let’s break it down further….

General Assessment

At a high level, this game was very easy to analyze. Simply put, on this
particular day, ECU was the better team on both sides of the ball. After the
first quarter, they dominated the game, especially in the trenches where most
games are won and lost. They were the tougher and more physical team. It was
their mistakes and breakdowns that kept them behind on the scoreboard until late
in the game.

How does a Conference USA program field a better team than the defending ACC
champions? From the Tech perspective, it is a combination of timing (first game
of the season), issues and misses in the ’05 and ’06 recruiting classes, and the
significant turnover and attrition from last year’s team. Basically, it’s the
essence of college football. ECU does not have a better football program than
Virginia Tech. In fact, the Virginia Tech program is the model that Skip Holtz
is using to build the ECU program. But that doesn’t mean Virginia Tech will
always field a better team every week, every year.

For the Hokies, it was a game of young and inexperienced