Just prior to the start of this game, I had a brief conversation with a VT athletic department employee (not a coach) in the press box.
“The coaches are really nervous about this one,” he told me. “Last week, they were confident about Ohio State, but this week, they’re nervous.”
Now that the dust has settled, I think it’s really simple why the Tech coaches were nervous. Last week, they probably had a lot of confidence that they could execute a successful man-to-man blitzing defense against young Ohio State QB J.T. Barrett. They probably also knew that Ohio State wouldn’t be sharp and would probably underestimate Virginia Tech.
But this week, they knew that senior ECU quarterback Shane Carden and his receivers, when it came to executing the passing game, could be better than Ohio State. And they also had to know, on some level, that ECU would be gunning for the Hokies, and that the Hokie players might still be basking in the OSU afterglow.
And that’s how it unfolded. In a lot of ways, Virginia Tech had a good game Saturday and outplayed East Carolina. But for the first 12 minutes and 16 seconds, they weren’t on ECU’s level, and they dug themselves too big a hole to get out of.
I got a creepy feeling when ECU completed their first “jump ball,” a 35-yard pass to Jimmy Williams, and that feeling got even creepier when the Pirates just got flat-out lucky, catching a batted pass on third and two and turning it into a first down.
That batted pass was caught by Bryce Williams. “Is that his first catch of the season?” the...
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