Everyone knows the old saw about having a nickel for every time you wished something would come true, and having it pan out. It’s pretty certain that most football fans would do most anything to get the chance to prowl the sidelines with a camera, heck even a roll of tape looking like a trainer… something… to get onto the field in a big time football game.
Well, it’s pretty special, and greatly appreciated by the GC Staff, but it’s work, and that work entails taking nearly 1400 pictures, and then sorting through them to find good ones to put up on the site. It also a job that since you are out there alone, you are trying to keep track of what’s going on and what happened so that you can match pictures up with events.
The Liberty game was a special first event for us, but it was really a dry run for nearly everyone. There were the casual introductions, the staking out of places to set up on the sideline, and of course the regular passes at taking pictures of the warmups, and the pre-game activities on the field.
There was something different in the air for this last game, versus the Boston College Eagles. Everyone in Hokie Nation feels the pain from the Battle at Bristol, and what was admitted by many on the sidelines as the worst 10 minutes in recent Virginia Tech Football. We won’t mention some games in the late ‘70’s that probably ranked as worse efforts, but this is the modern era and those 1975 to 1979 memories just aren’t there for most Hokie fans.
Saturday had the feelings and trappings of total seriousness. The edge was really set as the murmur and television reports began to flow in about the total collapse of Florida State along with the dominant play of Louisville, by the 3:30 kickoff the word had gotten out that the ACC battlefield had changed dramatically in the last 60 minutes. The Atlantic was still booming over the Costal on the ranked and recognized team list, but FSU wasn’t going to be poking around the playoff contention bubble with the loss that the Cardinals just handed to them.
With the ACC starting to get more roiled up, there was a feeling that this game, the ACC opener for us, might actually be a more significant game than we had previously thought. You’ve seen all the previews, and the postgame analysis. Boston College had a respectable defense and an improved (Okay, anything was an improvement over their last season’s fiasco.); but the fact that their Offensive Coordinator was a known quantity, and quality (we knew all about that) with Lefty calling the plays and shaping the playbooks for the Eagles the “Buzz” on the sideline was more than basketball Head Coach Buzz Williams getting some recruits to Lane to see a football game. It was a real feeling that Hokie Nation wanted to hand Lefty a “gift” for all of his efforts on our behalf over the last few seasons.
From the super serious warmup session before the game. Even the nice applause for Tim Settle trotting on to the North End Zone corner sporting his clean white ‘25’ Settle jersey was little noted from the players. There wasn’t the kidding around, goofing through routines, or fiddling with equipment to avoid an unwanted drill. The team was warming up with a purpose, and football faces were on.
Even the Hokie Bird looks like business on Saturday. Fun and games were put into perspective. The team finished up its warmups and headed back to get psyched and ready for the big entrance. Big is a good description for the flyover, as a huge Hokie piloted C-17 Globemaster III trundled over the field from North to South. Even the fly over was about work, not glitz.
The call out and jumping looked awesome, but there was a distinct lack of the usual jumping and sporting around from our camera perspective on the North West Corner tunnel. There was a quite concentration and earnestness on the faces of the players as they ran on to the field. Yes, there was a huge load of Hokie Spirit and Pride, but this team was on a mission.
Well, we lost the coin toss, and ended up getting to pick which end zone to defend. Frankly, again, I’d rather a team be confident and want the ball first so that it might have an opportunity to drive and score first. As it worked out, the Hokies first few snaps, and the first series wasn’t particularly fruitful, and the punt received a few groans from the sidelines.
What did happen though was the Defense, and it “happened” all over Boston College. “It” was on their first drive, which opened with a bit of promise, as the moved the ball downfield. Then BC got a taste of Tech’s Bristol Blues and put the ball on the turf and the Hokies scooped it up for a change. Andrew Motuapuaka was around the ball all day.
Tech took the ball, with a nice Jerod Evans scramble, moved the ball for a big chunk that got us out of our own end.
A few plays later, as Tech lined up on the BC 15 or so, we scored our first touchdown of the game with a screen to Travon McMillian in the right corner of the North End Zone.
The Jerod Evans to Isaiah Ford connection got into the act with less than 2 minutes to go in the 1st quarter putting the second TD on the board. All of which promoted a prominent Hokie to note to me that it was great, but he’d seen this part of the act before and hoped it wasn’t going to be a repeat.
That ice was broken with a second Evans to Ford connection for a convincing 21-0 touchdown event. Okay, we know that from the game summaries, but what most folks wouldn’t see was a change of demeanor on the sidelines. Both the fans and the team started smiling. There were the usual visits to the hydration stations, but the players were talking with each other. Exchanging information, “blue skying”. The seriousness was still there, but the burden had been lifted, and the pall of uncertainty cleared away from the West sideline of Worsham Field.
After the game got to 28-0, there was little BC could muster to stop the offense, and certainly nothing that Lefty could call up to break through the Defense. BC spent most of the rest of the game on their side of the 50, and Tech would continue to score.
Chris Cunningham pulled in his first touchdown as a Hokie, and the magic that’s any quarterback with Sam Rogers out of the backfield produced another wheel to 6. There was just nothing that would stop Virginia Tech from doing everything possible to wash the stink off from September 7th.
With our first ACC win we get a good foot on the step out of Coastal mediocrity. This team must put BC behind them, though. The next home game, and the last for two and a half weeks afterward is with our bitter accidental rival East Carolina. The same intensity is going to be needed for Saturday. It’s a 12:30 kickoff, and the team sounds like it’s already building up the same level of intensity that Boston College received. ECU is a must win game. Of course you are going to see the game from the sideline, again.
The Eagles are in the rearview mirror, and looking back is pointless. Time for some cold revenge against the Pirates.