2008 Nebraska Game Analysis: Young Hokies Coming Together

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That was a memorable experience. Despite the Nebraska tradition and the huge “Sea of Red”, there was a quiet confidence among the Hokie fans in
attendance. Sometimes you just have a feeling, and Saturday night was one of
those nights. The Hokies went into a very tough environment and played near
mistake free football to outlast the Nebraska Cornhuskers 35-30. It was a bit of
a breakout performance for the Tech offense and another strong performance by
the Tech defense. And all of those Hokies left the stadium feeling a new level
of confidence in a young team that appears to be growing up in a hurry.

General Comments

The Hokies won this game because they played very hard (and very smart),
stayed calm and composed in a very tough environment, and protected the
football. For the most part, they also dominated the line of scrimmage with
stellar play from the offensive and defensive lines. That has always been the
key element to this team improving week to week, and there is no doubt both
units took big steps forward against Nebraska on Saturday night.

Another big key was the difference in team speed. The Hokies looked super
fast, especially on defense. Nebraska could not get anything accomplished on the
perimeter, either in the running game or the passing game. The speed of the
defensive pursuit was especially impressive to see, and it seemed to surprise
everyone on the Nebraska side of the ball.

Let’s break it down further.

Offense Shows Toughness

The Tech game plan was to establish the run by attacking the Nebraska
linebackers, and then work the ball down the field against man-to-man coverage.
With Tyrod Taylor at QB, there were several ways they could have done that. They
could have spread it out and used a lot of zone reads from the shotgun, putting
pressure on Nebraska’s defensive front with Taylor as the second or even third
running back option. But the spread game has had mixed results so far and is
still in the early stages of development. And with Nebraska showing a lot of man
coverage on film, there was minimal need to spread out the defense