Virginia Tech took one on the chin against a Top 5 team again Monday, falling to Stanford 40-12 in the Orange Bowl. It was a tough night for the Hokies' offensive line and secondary, both of which struggled against Stanford's front seven and quarterback Andrew Luck.
Luck picked apart the Tech secondary, completing 18 of 23 passes for 287 yards, four touchdowns and an interception. Tech's safeties in particular had trouble with Stanford's crossing routes and their tight ends. Cardinal tight ends caught all four of Luck's touchdowns passes and Coby Fleener caught three.
It was a replay of the Boise State game when the safeties and middle linebackers were burned over and over by inside routes by the Broncos.
Tech didn't fare much better against the Stanford ground game, which averaged eight yards per carry. The only positive thing for the Virginia Tech defense was that for over half the game it was able to put pressure on Luck. When Luck was pressured, it forced an interception and a safety.
On offense, the Hokies' were also dominated up front. Tech's three running backs finished with 45 rushing yards on 18 carries. Meanwhile, Tyrod Taylor was sacked eight times by Stanford's defense.
In all, Stanford's dominance of both lines of scrimmage is why it won Monday's game. The Cardinal carved up Bud Foster's defense and the Hokies were defenseless against Stanford's defense, which played magnificently led by Shane Skov. Skov was Stanford's most impressive and visible player on defense as they disrupted everything the Hokies tried to do on offense.
At the end of the day, one set of players played like it was there to win a football game and the other played like it was there on vacation.
Postgame Stream of Consciousness
- Tyrod Taylor deserved better from his offensive line, which couldn't do anything against a very impressive Stanford front seven and couldn't pass protect. He did, however, deliver one of the best highlights of his career on Tech's lone touchdown of the game.
- When we couldn't run the ball against the guys it was over. They were able to pin their ears back and come after Tyrod full throttle for the final third of the game.
- We seriously couldn't cover Stanford's tight ends the whole night? REALLY?!
- It was over when the Cardinal went 97 yards in two plays. After that, it was pretty apparent what was coming.
- Hats off to Stanford. I thought we were going to be able to run the ball against the Cardinal and I couldn't have been more incorrect. Great performance by their front seven.
- Bowl games often come down to motivation and this game was no different.
- This was a great season for the Hokies. It seems to me like this game was treated as a reward for finishing the season with 11 wins and coming back to win the ACC after the two losses to start the year. Stanford's guys seemed more motivated than everyone on our roster other than Tyrod Taylor and John Graves, who both played very, very well in their final games in Tech uniforms.
- At the end of the day, the Hokies lost to a team that was ranked higher than them, was probably better than them overall and played much, much better than they did. Does it take a little bit away how good a season it was, well, maybe. We got embarrassed tonight. We got embarrassed by a Top 5 team, but it was still embarrassing for the Hokies, their staff and players and, really for the ACC, too.