Let’s take a timeout from talking about fake punts and poor officiating and focus in on the big positive that came out of the Sugar Bowl. Virginia Tech’s defense played one of the best games in school history, and it’s worth revisiting to compare last week’s game to past performances.
After dominating Michigan last Tuesday night, the Hokies ended up finishing 10th in total defense, 14th in rushing defense, 14th in pass efficiency defense, 7th in scoring defense and 12th in sacks. Just think of how high they would have finished had starters Bruce Taylor, Antoine Hopkins and Jeron Gouveia-Winslow stayed healthy all season.
Bud Foster, the entire defensive staff and all the players deserve a pat on the back for all they were able to accomplish this year, under the circumstances. They were struck pretty hard by the injury bug, and they hung in there and continued to play well.
Their amazing performance in the Sugar Bowl got Will and me thinking about how that stacked up to the great defensive performances in Tech history. There have been many, so what criteria do you use when selecting the best?
Considering total yards, points, turnovers, sacks, third down conversions and the caliber of the opponent, I was able to narrow it down to 28 games of the Beamer Bowl Era. That’s too many, so I got a little harsher, and narrowed it down to 22. That’s still too many, so eventually I worked it down to 20 games. And then to 18. Somehow, some way, I came up with a top 10 that is completely open to disagreement. It’s like picking your top 10 supermodels. Tough, but fun.
We’re going to take this in chronological order, dating back to the start of the Beamer Bowl Era. And for what it’s worth, we aren’t going to talk about games when the Hokies shut out Western Michigan, or held UAB to 60-some yards. We’re going to talk about the great games against good competition, the ones we’ll always remember.
Let’s get started …
#10 – Virginia Tech 26, LSU 8 – 2002 Season
In the second game of the 2002 season, big bad LSU rolled to Blacksburg with an offense that featured future NFL players LaBrandon Toefield, Domanick Davis, Joseph Addai, Matt Mauk, Michael Clayton and Deverey Henderson. Tech had a very young defense that season that would go on to a tough, injury-plagued finish. However,...
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