Sun Bowl Thoughts

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Well, that was humbling.

I was thinking about how to address this beatdown, and trying to put in perspective what yet another humbling bowl game performance means to the Virginia Tech program. I was lining up all sorts of themes. UCLA was more physical, nastier, and had more talent, more hunger, more attitude. The dressing down of the Virginia Tech program against good teams continues. How close is Frank Beamer to the end of his career? Can he fix this? Should he stay and try to? Blah, blah, blah, all heavy-duty stuff.

Then I thought: wait a minute. This is exactly what I expected to happen. I predicted 30-13 in our game preview, and that was actually being kind. I was really expecting something more along the lines of what Stanford did to the Hokies in the 2010 Orange Bowl, a 40-12 style beating. It was eerie how close UCLA came to replicating that, trashing the Hokies 42-12, almost an identical score.

Given that I thought it was going to unfold that way, a grand, emotional, sweeping tome about the state of Virginia Tech football isn’t required. The Hokies performed to my expectations. So a calm evaluation of what went on, and what it means, is more in line.

Having said that, I do have a new wrinkle in my state-of-the-program thoughts, which I’ll share with you a little later. First, let’s talk about some specifics of the game.

Turning points

Obviously, in the early going, Brett Hundley’s long TD run and Logan Thomas‘ career-ending injury (boy is it weird to type that) were obviously huge plays.

But despite giving up huge gobs of rushing yardage to Hundley, and Logan Thomas being out of synch (3-of-11 passing) when he was in the game, and Mark Leal having to play after that, and the Hokie defense missing tackles and committing penalties all over the place, Virginia Tech was competitive in this game until late in the third quarter.

It was 14-7 two-thirds of the way through the third quarter, but then a series of bad plays and missed opportunities brought it all crashing down:

  • UCLA muffed a punt and gave VT possession deep in Bruins territory. On 3rd and 3 from the Bruin five yard line, with a chance to tie it at 14, Leal lobbed a really nice throw to D.J. Coles in the corner of the end zone. Coles got his hands on it, but failed to make what would have been