The last time the Virginia Tech Hokies and Clemson Tigers met was the ACC Championship back in December. In that game the Coastal Champion Hokies gave the Tigers a scare, but Clemson escaped with a 35-42 win. This time around the Tigers travel to Blacksburg and face the Hokies in Lane Stadium and at night.
The ABC coverage started out with something familiar to all of us, the Enter Sandman entrance! After a quick interview with Coach Fuente the Hokies got to it.
Clemson won the coin toss and elected to defer. Henri Murphy received a returnable kick and got the ball to the Hokie’s 22. Josh Jackson, Cam Phillips, and the VT offense took the field.
As expected the Clemson defensive line immediately showed up and Jackson smartly threw the ball away for his first pass. A screen pass was quickly sniffed out, and the Hokies faced a 3rd and 8. McMillian caught a dump pass from Jackson, but wasn’t able to break it. Bradburn’s punt was ugly and provided excellent field position to Kelly Bryany and the Clemson offense. Starting at their 47 the Tigers elected to run, earning four. After an incomplete pass the Tigers faced their own third down. Ray Ray McLoud beat Facyson for a brutal 27 yard completion. Clemson found themselves quickly in VT’s red zone. National Championship hero, Hunter Renfro, caught a perfect throw from Bryant to put the Tigers on the VT three yard line. On third and goal Clemson made a mistake and a false start pushed them back five. The Hokies defense held, breaking up a pass, and VT’s strength saves the TD, forcing the Clemson field goal unit out. Clemson up 3-0.
The Hokies continued to try and establish the run, but the Clemson DL was having none of it, stuffing McMillian on first down. Jackson then hit Savoy for a nine yard gain, and the Hokies faced 3rd and 1. VT was again held to a three and out on a Josh Jackson QB keeper. Bradburn’s second punt was much better and Clemson was back on offense at their 33 yard line.
The Tigers went straight to the ground with a Feaster run and then a screen to him, but the Hokies had answers. #3rd and 4 for Clemson. A blown assignment cost the Hokies, and Bryant returned to Feaster who crushed the Hokies for a 60 yard TD. Clemson in early command, 10-0.
EVERYTHING IS FINE, OKAY?
Jackson and the Hokie offense took the field again, still looking for their first... uh... first down. Savoy hit a run for seven and Jackson followed it up for a short run. The Hokies found familiar territory with a 3rd and 1. Jackson seemingly had a first down with a QB keeper, but an illegal formation resulted in the play being negated. SETTLE DOWN BOYS. An incomplete pass brought up fourth down. With just five minutes left in the first quarter, the Hokies offensive line is clearly struggling with the pressure form Clemson. Bradburn’s third punt was much better and Clemson took over on their 21 yard line.
The Hokies defense came out and started playing pissed off. Travis Etienne was held to four yards on two runs, bringing up 3rd and 6. Bryant took the the ball himself, but was unable to convert! The punt team for Clemson took the field as the Hokies defense answered the mail again. Stroman signaled a fair catch and the Hokies started with their best field position of the night at their 33. VT led with a run again, but McMillian was immediately stopped. Cam Phillips got involved and extended his program record of 32 straight games with a reception. Oh, he also got the team’s inaugural first down. 3rd and 6 soon found the Hokies. Jackson tried to find Phillips, but overthrew him. Bradburn booted another which bounced into the end zone. Clemson took over on their 25. Two consecutive OL penalties (false start and a snap infraction) brought up a 1st and 20 for the Tigers. To close out the first quarter Bryant brought an 18 yard run to put the Tigers at there 28 yard line, 2nd and 2. The first quarter closes with the Tigers up 10-0 over the Hokies.
Clemson brought in Etienne and he easily converted for another first down. Clemson resets at their 32. 3rd and five greeted the Hokies after two short gains. Tim Settle was having none of it and sacked Bryant. Stroman was back deep and didn’t fair catch it. His short return was made even shorter by a block in the back. The Hokies took the ball with their worst field position of the day - the six yard line.
Jackson was smashed to start the drive, but got the ball away. Unfortunately a bad situation was made worse when the Hokies committed their own snap infraction. 2nd and 14 on their three... Jackson earned five on a QB keeper to get himself out of the VT end zone. Cam Phillips almost converted, but was held short by one yard and Bradburn was back out. A 52 yard punt later and the Tigers were on their 34.
Bryant started the drive with a nice scramble for 12 yards. I don’t like him much. VT lost contain and Settle was unable to catch him in a foot race. 2nd and inches. Feaster burst through the middle for an easy first down. The Clemson rushing attack was clicking and Bryant hit a seven yard run after an incomplete pass. Bryant is a strong man and he muscled his way to a first down. This drive has been very much the Bryant show. Bryant missed on another deep throw, which is great, but he has been moving the chains with his legs whenever he needed to. Another Clemson third down, and the Hokies need a stop. An errant throw brought up fourth down, and the FG unit for Clemson trotted out. BUT HE MISSED IT! The Hokies defense holds again, but definitely needs a breather after that drive.
After a stuffed run, Jackson hit Henri Murphy for a desperately needed first down. VT on Clemson’s 49. After a short Jackson gain Travon McMillian did great things and ripped off a 19 yard run. Clemson held and Joey Slye game out to try a 43 yard attempt. JOEY HATES FOOTBALLS SO IT’S GOOD. Hokies on the board, 3-10.
With less than three minutes in the half Clemson was able to win one-on-one and the filthy tigers earned a 35 yard gain with a Bryant to Cain strike. Clemson did things that national champions do and faced a 1st and goal. C.J. Fuller quickly muscled his way into the end zone after flattening Motuapuaka. Those pesky Tigers lead 17-3.
Jackson began working with Phillips and after a 13 yard and 21 yard completion the Hokies invaded Clemson’s territory. Joey Slye took the field for a 45 yard attempt, but it was wide right...
Clemson leads at the half, 17-3.
WILL THE HOKIES WIN THIS GAME?
This poll is closed
YES WE WILL. WE WILL FIGHT THEM IN THE RED ZONE. WE WILL FIGHT THEM AT MID-FIELD... WE WILL FIGHT THEM EVERYWHERE.
EVEN THOUGH WE WILL FIGHT THEM IN THE RED ZONE AND MID FIELD, AND EVERYWHERE... WE CANNOT WIN.