Monday Thoughts: Down to the Wire

Virginia Tech and Pitt waged another classic battle. (Photo by Ivan Morozov)

This one was not a work of art. When Justin Fuente said several weeks back that every game was going to be a three and a half hour stomachache, this is what he was talking about. The box score lists the total elapsed game time as 3:11, so it was 19 minutes short of three and a half hours, but it was definitely a game to cause gastrointestinal distress.

The details will quickly fade, and all anyone will talk about in years to come is the game-ending goal line stand. That was indeed historic. While the end was memorable, to focus solely on it is to ignore 60 minutes of hard-fought football by a team that is running solely on effort and will at this point. It wasn’t pretty, but the Hokies earned the victory not by playing hard for four final plays, but for the entirety of the game.

It was Senior Day, and some of the departing seniors will be sorely missed. Everyone plays up “the emotion of Senior Day,” but I’ve always thought that once the first two possessions are over, the emotion subsides, and it comes down to X’s and O’x and Jimmies and Joes. You’ve either got it or you don’t, and no amount of “win one for the seniors” is going to change hard, cold football reality.

I did see a lot of emotion Saturday. I’m sometimes troubled by a lack of fire on the part of the football team — for example, the defense is good, but it doesn’t swarm like it used to back in its 1990s heyday — but I didn’t see that in this game. I saw guys celebrating every tackle and every gain on offense like a conference championship was on the line. Of course, it’s not, but they played like it anyway.