Taylor the Key to History Repeating

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the summer of 2006, in front of a crowd of family and friends at Crabber’s
Restaurant in Hampton, Tyrod Taylor committed to Virginia Tech. Taylor wouldn’t
arrive in Blacksburg until a year later, and a lot of games have come and gone
since then. But starting Thursday night on ESPN against Georgia Tech, Tyrod will
have the opportunity to cement his legacy in Blacksburg. Statistically, he’s
already one of Tech’s greatest, but he can take that final step and become
legendary by carrying the Hokies to an ACC championship over the next month.

Make no mistake about it: if the Hokies win the 2010 ACC Championship, it
will almost certainly have to be on Tyrod Taylor’s back. The 2007 and 2008
Hokies won ACC championships with offenses that were mostly mediocre and
sometimes downright atrocious, and there’s no question that those two
championships were the work of the Hokie defense. Tech finished #4 and #7 in the
country in defense in those two seasons. The offense? #100 and #103. Tyrod
Taylor and Sean Glennon both had good games at times for those teams, but there
was never any doubt that defense carried the flag.

This season, Virginia Tech’s best conference win to date, at NC State, wasn’t
the work of the defense. The Hokies surrendered 30 points that day, usually a
recipe for a loss. From 2001-2009, the Hokies gave up 30 or more points 14 times
and won just one of them (35-30 at Nebraska in 2008). In the 2010 season opener,
the Hokies gave up 33 points and lost again, pushing their record to 1-14 in the
last 10 seasons when giving up 30+.

But victory was seized in Raleigh this season when Tyrod Taylor hit Jarrett
Boykin for a 39-yard score to put the Hokies up 34-30, and Tech sealed the win
by intercepting Wolfpack QB Russell Wilson and punching it into the end zone for
a 41-30 win.

The Hokies might need more of that down the stretch. The statistical ranking
of this year’s Hokie defense has been covered in detail in recent weeks, and a
top-ten defense probably isn’t lurking around the corner, waiting to