2009 Miami Game Analysis: Hokies Confuse Harris, Play Smashmouth O

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It
was pouring. It was cold. It was perfect. The Hokies were supposed to be just
another rung on the swagger ladder for the resurgent Miami Hurricanes. With a
hype machine gone nuclear, the Hurricanes strolled into rainy Blacksburg to face
the forgotten and media-jilted Hokies. But something happened on Miami’s fast
track to “Back Land” – the Hokies lined up, grunted and snorted a
couple of times and physically whipped the Hurricanes at the line of scrimmage.

It was an old-fashioned demonstration of hit-them-in-the-mouth toughness – a
complete beat down in the muddy trenches. And the message was sent loudly and
with unmistakable clarity to Miami’s strong safety Randy Phillips: you and your
teammates were just steamrolled by “Beamer Ball” … and your
“Shannon Ball” still has a lot of work to do.

Ok, with that off my chest, let’s get to breaking down this puppy. There was
nothing fancy about this one – the game was decided by Tech’s dominance at the
line of scrimmage. Right after the game, Miami offensive coordinator Mark
Whipple made a beeline to the Tech locker room to congratulate the Hokies’
defensive line for “whipping our [tails]!” Defensive coordinator John
Lovett could have repeated that same sentiment because the Tech offensive line
did their fair share of “butt whooping” as well. Yes, there were some
big plays and there were some lucky bounces, but the key difference in this game
was the ability of the Hokies to impose their will at the line of scrimmage.

Tech’s Defense vs. Miami’s Offense

For every talking head, this was the featured match-up, and in their minds it
was a mismatch. This was Miami’s high-powered offense led by mastermind OC Mark...