Orange Bowl Thoughts

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I prepped for this article the same way I prep for every column after a game:
I transferred the game from DVR to DVD, stuck it in my computer, opened up a
separate MS Word document, and started taking notes on the action while the game
played in a different window.

I admired Jack Tyler’s early tackle for loss, and the way John Graves
dominated the line of scrimmage in the Stanford possession that resulted in a
first-quarter safety. It was just about time to view Virginia Tech’s ensuing
(and only) TD drive … but I stopped. I ejected the DVD and haven’t watched
another minute of the game.

There are two reasons for that: number one, I was exhausted. I’m always tired
at the end of a football season, because the months of intensity wears on you.
It gets worse as I get older. (I turned 46 over the Christmas break.) Monday
night’s game and the message board aftermath kept me up until 1:30 AM, and I
just don’t recover like I used to, so I went to bed at 9:30 Tuesday night and
slept nine and a half glorious hours. So I didn’t have a chance to watch any
more of my DVD.

Number two, this column doesn’t need to be, in any way, a recap of the action
that happened Monday night. Some columns do. Mostly victories (ha-ha). Some
columns don’t. This one doesn’t.

Instead of talking about the Orange Bowl, let’s talk about the Virginia Tech
football program.

Matching Bookends to the Season

Going into the Orange Bowl, many compared it to the season-opening game
against Boise State. The Hokies were facing one of the best quarterbacks in the
country, running an efficient offense paired with a tough defense. Both teams
were more complete teams and had the advantage over a Hokie team that had some
very good parts, but as a whole wasn’t peaking in all phases of the game, mostly
defensively.

The results were the same, though the scores were very different (33-30 vs.
40-12): The Hokies were thrashed in the trenches, dominated at the line of
scrimmage. Both teams held the Hokies below three yards per carry in the rushing
game and hounded Tyrod Taylor all game long. Both teams ripped off long runs
against Tech.

The Hokies collapsed defensively in the second half against Stanford and gave
up long passing plays, but that (along with the special teams collapse against
BSU) was the only difference in the two games. Tech lost the battle at

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