VA Tech didn't play BeamerBall tonight
I was as pumped up for the Sugar Bowl matchup as any other bowl game I have watched throughout this great bowl season (including a 12 hour New Years Day). The Virginia Tech Hokies were playing the undefeated Auburn Tigers of the SEC. I was excited because nobody, and I mean NOBODY would have predicted that these two teams would be playing in this bowl game before the season started. VA Tech was in their first year as a team in the ACC and started out 2-2. The Hokies went on to win their last 8 games, their final 3 over Maryland, Virginia, and Miami at the Orange Bowl. If Miami had won that game against VA Tech, they would have represented the ACC in the Sugar Bowl. Instead, VA Tech took it to Miami on December 4th and earned the right the play against Auburn.
Auburn's coach was under fire last year after they went 7-5. The President of Auburn almost fired the coach Tommy Tuberville after the season, but decided against it when he could not convince Bobby Petrino of Louisville to come back to the place where he was an offensive coordinator a few years ago. All Auburn did this year was go undefeated in the SEC, one of the toughest conferences in America, and beat prominent SEC opponents such as LSU, Tennessee (twice), Georgia, and Alabama. To go undefeated in a major conference in the SEC is amazing and I truly hope that Auburn somehow gets a share of the National Title.
But on to the real subject matter which is the Hokies just didn't play BeamerBall tonight. Some of you may be asking what is BeamerBall? Frank Beamer is the head coach of the Hokies, and is a coach that stresses special teams, defense, and not committing many penalties, and mental mistakes. Well, the Hokies would have won the game tonight if they had played the brand of ball that they are accustomed too.
In the first half, the Hokies had a first and goal on the Tigers 3 yard line. After Auburn succeeded in holding the Hokies for the first three downs, Beamer decided to go for it on fourth down. Why he made this decision, I have no idea. I love Frank Beamer, and I love the Hokies, but I hate the decision. In a tight game, where the game is going to be dominated by the two defenses you take the 3 points. Anyways, on fourth down, Bryon Randall threw a pass that went right through the hands of the receiver. The game almost seemed to turn on this play. The Tigers took the ball down the field and scored a field goal, and went into the half leading 9-0.
The Hokies also were called for a clipping penalty that resulted in them having their ball on their own 20, instead of on the Tigers 35. The penalty was called on a punt return, which obviously did not make Frank Beamer happy. The Hokies just continually made mistakes that are uncharacteristic of their team, and that is why they lost the game.
The most disappointing thing to think about for a VA Tech fan is that early in the fourth quarter their field goal kicker Brandon Pace, a Lou Groza award finalist as college football's best kicker missed a 26 yard field goal that would have made the score 16-3. The missed field goal did not seem to matter, because at that time it looked like the game was out of reach for the Hokies. Little did I know, that VA Tech would go on to score 13 points on two touchdowns in the next 5 minutes. The second touchdown came on an 80 yard bomb from Bryon Randall. After scoring the first TD, VA Tech went for the two point conversion, but was unsuccessful in their attempt. VA Tech never got the ball back after scoring that last touchdown, as Auburn was able to run out the clock.
Auburn is a great team, and a team that I hope gains a share of the national title. When a team goes 13-0, you deserve to be No. 1. The Hokies gave the Tigers all they could handle and would have came out of the Sugar Bowl with a win, if it was not for their mistakes that they made. The Hokies are a very young team having 48 freshmen and 31 juniors on this years team. Marcus Vick, the brother of Michael who plays QB for the Falcons will be rejoining the team in the springtime after missing this year due to some run-ins with the police. Marcus will have to try to live up to the reputation and excitement that the Hokies fans will expect from him, since he is the brother of one of the most amazing college QB's ever. If he plays like his brother, the Hokies might be headed to another national championship game, just like Michael lead them a few years ago against Florida State. So even though VA Tech did not win the game, they have a bright future and only good things to look forward to in the near future.