There were two key plays in the game that clearly swung momentum and were critical to the outcome. One play was at the beginning of the game. One was near the end of the game. The first was 3rd and 2 from the Virginia Tech 27 yard line when Shane Carden went back to throw and the ball was batted up in the air and was caught by ECU’s Jimmy Williams and taken 22 yards for the first down. If that ball had been batted down, ECU is in a situation where they probably attempt a 50-50 FG and there is no major shift in momentum. Two plays after the batted ball, ECU scored a TD, once again to Williams and the offense kicked it into high gear. By the end of the 1st quarter, ECU was up 21-0.
Luckily, over the course of the next three quarters, the defense clamped down and the offense found its rhythm to tie the game at 21-21 with 1:20 left in the game. That’s when Joey Slye kicked the ball out of bounds. Before that, all of the momentum was on the Hokies side but once that ball sailed out of bounds, the Hokies momentum was on life support. And lo and behold, ECU quickly marches down the field not for a game winning FG, but they went ahead and put it all the way in the endzone. Fairly easily, in fact. And that was that. Game. Set. Match.
Overall, I felt like the Hokies played fairly well. Seriously. ECU made A LOT of plays in the first quarter but those plays were mostly made against tight coverage. Great throws. Even better catches. Sometimes you just have to tip your cap. And on offense, going into this year, we all knew that the offense was going to continue to be a work-in-progress with so many young players. Unfortunately, going on long scoring droughts is not going to be uncommon for this team. I’m proud of the way the Hokies fought back but sometimes the ball simply does not bounce your way and on Saturday it did not bounce the Hokies way.
Tip your cap to ECU. That’s a really good team. Possibly the best in the state of North Carolina. They beat us fair and square and are likely on their way to a 9 or 10 win season. The Hokies will learn from their mistakes and get better as the season progresses. It’s just one non-conference loss and hopefully it will propel the Hokies to accomplish great things in ACC play.