Saturday, January 31, 2009

Congratulations Bruuuuuuuuuce Smith

Today, this year's NFL Hall of Fame class was announced at the Super Bowl in Tampa Florida. It's a star-studded group featuring such standouts as the late Derrick Thomas of the Kansas City Chiefs and Rod Woodson, the talented defensive back perhaps best known for his time with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The class really belongs to Bills fans however, as Ralph Wilson, the only man to ever own the Bills and one of the founders of the American Football League joined the Hall. Alongside him is one of, if not the greatest player in Buffalo history Bruce Smith.

Smith, The NFL's all-time leader in sacks with 200, was the #1 overall pick in 1985 out of Virginia Tech. During his time in Blacksburg, "The Sack Man" amassed 71 tackles behind the line of scrimmage for a total of 504 yards lost by the opponent. Smith won the 1984 Outland Trophy as America's top lineman and was a consensus All-American the same season.

In addition to his record number of sacks, Smith had 1,224 tackles, 43 forced fumbles and 2 interceptions in his illustrious NFL career resulting in 11 Pro Bowl selections. Smith was a crucial cog in the Bills teams that won 4-consecutive AFC championships, though they failed to win a Super Bowl.

This video kind of downplays Bruce a little towards the end, but it highlights the most memorable sack of his career for me. I remember vividly when Bruce knocked Boomer Esiason unconcious, I'm not sure if Boomer remembers it quite as clearly.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Super Yoi Bowl

Even though we have already featured a post with tidbits on the Terrible Towel now feels like a good time to add a more robust take on the Pittsburgh phenomenon. In fact, one might even consider this a dedication to the late Myron Cope.

For those who are uninformed, Cope was a famous color commentator for Steelers radio broadcasts for 35 years. Cope is as equally recognizable amongst Pittsburgh natives as Harry Caray is amongst Chicagoans, though not nearly as nationally renowned.

It was Cope who popularized the nickname of Jerome Bettis as "The Bus" and Kordell Stewart as "Slash." It was Cope who invented the Terrible Towel as a motivational ploy to excite the fans for a 1975 playoff game versus the Baltimore Colts.

It was cope who coined the catch-phrases "Okel Dokel" and "Yoi."

It is Cope who, although departed from this earth since February 27, 2008, comes to life every time Steelers fans wave their Terrible Towels.

For this electric character whose voice gracefully pierced the airwaves for 35 years, the following adaptation from 'Twas the Night Before Christmas was extracted.

Twas the night before the Super Bowl, when along the gulf shore, Steelers fans were praying for “just one more;” 

The players were nestled all snug in the sack, With visions of the first NFL Six-Pack; 

Coach Tomlin was young, but wise for his years, So I drifted off to sleep without any fears; 

When at the stadium there arose some strange chatter, The Cardinals feared, what was the matter; 

We heard “Okel Dokel”, we heard “Double Yoi,” We jumped from our beds, our hearts jumped for joy; 

He stood at the fifty with a grin ear to ear, Steelers fans everywhere started to cheer; 

Then in an instant to our surprise, This little old man had tears in his eyes; 

He went to the booth and there took his chair, While Terrible Towels waved in the air; 

Then over the airwaves came his shrill voice, The Steelers Nation began to rejoice; 

He said, “I am back, but you know I can’t stay, I just had to see my Steelers play; 

From my home up above, I have a great view, But I wanted to celebrate here with you; 

So bring on the Birds, we’ll send them a flyin’, On the way back to Phoenix, they will be cryin’; 

Ben, Hines, Troy, Jeff and all of the rest, No matter the outcome, to me you’re the best;” 

The airwaves went silent, the stadium still, Was this just a dream, it seemed so real; 

In our team we have faith, in our team we have hope, But the game’s not the same without Myron Cope. 

Written by: A.K. Young 01-23-09

Without a doubt the black and gold faithful are intensely excited about the prospect of becoming the first NFL team with 6 Super Bowl rings. As it is now, the Steelers are tied with the Dallas Cowboys and the San Francisco 49ers at 5. 

So grab your Iron City for Sunday's matchup as the Steelers dedicate their performance to the memory of Myron Cope. Here's to an ice cold, black, and gold six-pack. 

Here we go Steelers, Here we go!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Why The Steelers Will Win The Super Bowl

This marks part two of our Stars and Slights Super Bowl preview XLIII preview. Justin already provided his insights in the "Why The Cardinals Will Win" edition and now it is time for the Steel Curtain edition.

Why The Steelers Will Win The Super Bowl

It is no secret that the Pittsburgh Steelers have long since been known for their aggressive, blitzing defense. From the days of Jack Ham and "Mean" Joe Greene to the days of Troy Polamalu and James Harrison the Steelers defense has asserted itself as a pestering, fearless and dominant force in the National Football League.

This year's  group is, statistically, one of the best in the history of the black and gold. The Steelers finished the regular season ranked 1st in the NFL in Total Yards per Game (237.2), Total Pass Yards per Game (156.9), and Total Points per Game (13.9) while finishing a measly 2nd in Rush Yards per Game (80.3).

Even though the Pittsburgh offense is not a juggernaut they are equipped with plenty of star power. Say what you want about Ben Roethlisberger but he finished in the top twenty in 5 passing categories and knows how to distribute the ball in the Steelers offense.

Big Ben is in his fifth year in the NFL and has already played in one Super Bowl, a 21-10 Steelers victory in Jerome Bettis' final game of his career in Super Bowl XL.

No single aspect of Ben's game stands out more than his surprising mobility. He has uncanny field awareness once the pocket collapses and its scramble or fry time. His ability to extend plays while waiting for receivers to get open is an invaluable segment of the Steelers playbook.

Willie Parker missed 5 games this season but still managed 4 games with 100+ rushing yards. Mewelde Moore and Carey Davis also serve as respectable running game support.

Danger also roams outside the hash marks and down field as Hines Ward, Santonio Holmes, and Nate Washington can score seemingly at will. An X factor in the receiving game is Limas Sweed, who has dropped several passes this year. If the Cardinals lock down on the aforementioned trio the fate of the Steelers offense could lie in his hands (assuming he can hang on to the ball).

There is no doubt that the Steelers will utilize some combination of tight ends Heath Miller and Matt Spaeth, either. These two men are pivotal members of the Steelers system and are reliable passing options.

Unlike the Cardinals, the Steelers never lost two games in a row during the regular season. They started off hot by winning 5 of their first 6, lost the next 2 of 3, and then 6 out of their final 7.

Pittsburgh won comfortably in the divisional playoff round against the Chargers 35-24 and again one week later in the AFC Championship versus the Ravens 23-14.

The matchup between the Cardinals and Steelers is not without an intriguing side story. Current Arizona head coach Ken Whisenhunt was the Steelers offensive coordinator when Pittsburgh won Super Bowl XL as a 6 seed (the only seed of its kind to ever do so) in 2005. Whisenhunt was passed over for current Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin when then head coach Bill Cowher retired after the 2006 season.

Fast forward to the present and the road once diverged will rejoin paths once again this Sunday, February 1, 2009.

The matchup to watch is the Cardinals receivers versus the Steelers secondary. Larry Fitzgerald has been on fire lately and is a bona-fide super star. He was selected for his 3rd pro bowl this season, has recorded 5 straight 100+ yard receiving games (including the postseason), and had a monster 3 TD performance in the Cardinals' 32-25 against the Eagles in the NFC Championship.

Kurt Warner is not nearly as mobile now at the ripe age of 37 as he was 8 years ago when he last played in the big game, a 20-17 loss for Warner's St. Louis Rams to the New England Patriots. 

Look for an attacking Steelers defense to frustrate Warner all night by forcing him out of the pocket to make unbalanced throws on the run.

History might also be on the Steelers' side. In 2005, the Pittsburgh team honored Jerome Bettis by wearing throwback green #6 ND jerseys for their media day in Detroit for Super Bowl XL. This time around, the entire Steelers offensive line each wore #63 uniforms on Tuesday during Super Bowl XLIII Media Day in honor of the former great Pittsburgh Center Dermontti Dawson.

Offensive lineman Trai Essex had the following to say about the jerseys:
We wanted to do our part to push Dermontti, one of the greatest centers to ever play the game, into the Hall of Fame. We thought he should be in there already. His credentials speak for themselves. He doesn’t need this, but we want to do our part. We want to get one of our own in there. He is a very deserving guy.
Remember what happened the last time the Steelers paid a similar tribute? Victory, sweet victory.

Above and beyond these side stories,  although Super Bowl XLIII will be hard-pressed to live up to last year's exhilarating performance this will be a truly exciting matchup of offensive firepower versus defensive clout.

Safe money pits the Steelers as champions because, as the cliche goes, defense wins championships.


Steel Curtain 27

Cards 17

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Why The Cardinals Will Win The Super Bowl

This marks part one of our Stars & Slights Super Bowl preview. Brian will have the Steelers portion in the coming week while I am firmly entrenched on the Arizona Cardinals band wagon. Credit to myself for the simple but cool Super Bowl graphic.

Why The Cardinals Will Win The Super Bowl

The Cardinals have had a magical season, well, the last few weeks have been magical. The regular season was as up-and-down as they come. Inconsistency plagued Arizona throughout the year.

The Cards won their first two games, then lost two, won two, lost one, ran off a three game win streak then lost four of their last six to limp into the playoffs.

None of that matters now however. The Cardinals are the hottest team in the universe and they have everything going in their favor.

I shall avoid using the term, ‘playing with house money’ because I’m sick of hearing it and it no longer applies. The Cardinals now have plenty to lose, the Super Bowl.

But that won’t rattle 2-time NFL MVP and former Super Bowl MVP Kurt Warner who will start in his third championship tussle.

Warner has had a resurgent season in the desert, throwing for 4,538 yards and 30 touchdowns to just 14 interceptions en route to earning his fourth career Pro Bowl selection.

Warner, 37, has been nearly flawless in the playoffs throwing just two interceptions to his eight touchdowns, capped off by a remarkable performance against the Eagles in the NFC championship game.

Of course Warner’s targets are impressive as well.

Larry Fitzgerald has been on fire lately, but that’s no surprise given his stellar season. Fitzgerald caught 96 passes for 1,431 yards and 12 touchdowns, scoring a career-high 72 points in the process.

On the other side, Anquan Boldin put in another fine season totaling 1,098 yards and 11 touchdowns despite missing 4 games due to injuries. His hamstring is still a bit of a concern, but he was a full participant in practice last Thursday and Friday.

The forgotten man is the surprising Steve Breaston. Warner’s third option had just over 1,000 yards receiving as well this year. You can double cover Larry Fitzgerald all you want, but the other guys are more than capable of beating the defense and they’ve shown it.

The run game isn’t nearly as impressive as the pass for Arizona, but it’s more than enough to keep the defense honest.

Edgerrin James had a resurgence in the playoffs once the Cardinals remembered he was on their roster. He showed flashes of the past with bruising runs and despite his relative age, he still gets better the more carries he gets.

Rookie Tim Hightower is a nice change of pace back as well, leading the team with 10 rushing touchdowns and he proved to be a reliable receiver as is third-string back J.J. Arrington.

The defense is what really sets this team up for success on the grandest of stages.

They’re an impressive +9 in turnover ratio during the playoffs, bewildering not just rookie quarterback Matt Ryan, but veterans Jake Delhomme and Donovan McNabb.

They’ve shut down the league’s No. 2 and No. 3 rushing attacks (Atlanta and Carolina) and have nearly made everyone forget the rather mediocre stats compiled by the unit during the regular season.

Time has forgotten how poorly Ben Roethlisberger played in his first Super Bowl .He completed just 9 of 21 passes in that game for 123 yards and 2 interceptions. Antwaan Randle El threw the only Steeler touchdown pass on a 43-yard completion to Hines Ward.

This season hasn’t been terribly dominant for Roethlisberger, who threw 17 touchdowns to 15 interceptions and completed just fewer than 60 percent of his passes.

The defense is phenomenal and that’s how Pittsburgh has won 14 games, by smothering the opponent and riding things out on offense.

I think that Arizona has enough firepower to legitimately challenge the Steelers and the Cards’ defense has been playing like world-beaters, which should give the inconsistent Pitt offense some trouble.

Nerves might be a factor early for many of the Cardinal players, but don’t look for that to last too long.


Arizona 24

Pittsburgh 14

Monday, January 26, 2009

A Unique View Of The Inauguration

This link show's us a truly unusual and interactive view of President Obama's inauguration. You can zoom all the way in to see the look on George W. Bush's face or you can check out his Dad's excellent taste in winter head wear a few rows back. One of the many excellent finds yielded by having too much time on my hands.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Calvin and Hobbes

I stumbled upon this last night during my wanderings through the Internet. Calvin and Hobbes are about as classic as it gets when it comes to comic strips. Bill Watterson is a bit of an enigma, shunning the pubic spotlight in favor of seclusion and privacy. He has always fiercely opposed commercializing Calvin and Hobbes for fear that merchandising would cheapen the artistic integrity of his art.

Watterson stopped his famous comic strip after just 10 years, but he managed to fit a great deal of wisdom into that time. Wisdom dispensed from the brain of a rather precocious and devious six-year-old child give the strip tremendous humor. Below are some fine examples of Calvin's (Watterson's) trademark wit and depth.

"Sometimes I think the surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us."

"Girls are like slugs—they probably serve some purpose, but it's hard to imagine what."

"History is the fiction we invent to persuade ourselves that events are knowable and that life has order and direction. That's why events are always reinterpreted when values change. We need new versions of history to allow for our current prejudices."

or this classic as Calvin is outside looking up at the stars, "I'M SIGNIFICANT!...screamed the dust speck."

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Hurryin' Hokies Knock Off #1 Wake Forest

There were no slingshots handy in Winston-Salem Wednesday, but Virginia Tech didn’t need any to slay a giant, knocking off #1 Wake Forest 78-71.

Malcolm Delaney led the Hokies (13-5, 3-1) with 21 points and 8 rebounds and both Jeff Allen and A.D. Vassallo added 16.

Tech got huge contributions off the bench but none bigger than those from Cheick Diakite. The 6-9 senior from Mali came into the game averaging just 3.6 points per game but totaled 8 points and 5 rebounds to go along with 1 block helping knock off the top-ranked team.

Guard Jeff Teague paced Wake Forest (16-1, 3-1) with 23 points and forward James Johnson added 18 before being one of three Demon Deacons to foul out of the game.

The loss means there are no longer any undefeated teams in college basketball.

For the Hokies, the game marked the program’s third victory all time over the #1 team, the others coming in 1983 over Memphis and 2007 over North Carolina.

Tech is now 3-7 all-time against the #1 team, this victory coming in the program’s 100th season of competition.

The Hokies now head home to Blacksburg where they will host Miami (14-4, 3-2) Sunday at 5:30. Wake Forest will have a week off before hosting #2 Duke (17-1, 4-0).

Asian Drum Solo: Travis Barker

Found this video while doing a random search on YouTube for "Drum Solo." Apparently somebody thought they were clever when they entitled this video Asian Drum Solo TRAVIS BARKER. I don't get it and I don't expect you to either, but I think it is pretty funny nonetheless. Watch as this guy explains how to play a "rock and roll" beat on this Creative keyboard. You can thank me later for wasting the next two minutes of your lives.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

2009 AFC Championship: Steelers vs Ravens

Today, 4 NFL teams play for the right to earn the Super Bowl trophy as they square off in the NFC and AFC Championship games.

Game 1 today features the Philadelphia Eagles vs Arizona Cardinals in Glendale, AZ. With so many story lines - from the underdog showdown to Kurt Warner's comeback (he's on his 4th or 5th by now) to Donovan McNabb's quest for his first Super Bowl title - this has all of the pieces for an instant classic.

Game 2 features the Baltimore Ravens vs Pittsburgh Steelers in Pittsburgh, PA. What many people fail to realize is that, although Cleveland is Pittsburgh's most bitter rival, this Ravens franchise picked up and moved from Cleveland to Baltimore in 1996. Even with the return of the Browns franchise to Cleveland, the Pittsburgh/Baltimore rivalry has evolved into one just as heated as its predecessor.

Having been a Steelers fan all my life I have been blessed to witness many great Steelers teams, players, and of course coaches roam the sidelines for the black and gold. This year's team features probably one of the stoutest defenses of all that I've witnessed and it compares nicely to an equally impressive Ravens defense.

The main storyline behind the game today, though, is revenge. Can the Ravens avenge both of their losses from earlier in the season? 

If you recall, the Steelers won 23-20 on a Jeff Reed field goal in OT during the first meeting. The second time around, Baltimore had control of the game until a late fourth quarter rally, cappedd off by a controversial touchdown pass from Ben Roethlisberger to Santonio Holmes. Fittingly enough, the 13-9 Steelers win clinched the AFC North division title for Pittsburgh.

So what will give this evening? Which defense can bend and not break? With home home-field advantage I have to give the edge to the Steelers. In another close battle, look for the Steelers to win on a late fourth quarter field goal by Jeff Reed.

Prediction: Terrible towels 17, silly Ravens band 14.

This may be an old video, but it is fitting for what you will see at Heinz Field tonight. Myron will be proud.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Blockbuster Saturday

As ESPN has been touting since what seems like the first day College Basketball began this year, today's slate of games features quite the a-list of matchups.

12:00 pm - Notre Dame vs Syracuse (ESPN)
1:30 pm - Georgetown vs Duke (CBS)
2:00 pm - Oklahoma at Texas A&M (ESPN)
3:30 pm - Wake Forest at Clemson (ABC)
3:45 pm - Arizona St. at UCLA (CBS)
4:00 pm - Illinois at Michigan St. (ESPN)
6:00 pm - Pittsburgh at Louisville (ESPN)
8:00 pm - California at Stanford (FSN)
9:00 pm - Miami at North Carolina (ESPN)

Overkill? No. Heaven? Yes. 

Obviously I'm most excited about the Irish vs Orange matchup. Both teams are coming off of losses last week and it will be interesting to see how they respond. 'Cuse was blown out vs Georgetown while the Irish lost a heartbreaker in OT at Lousiville. ND has not beaten Louisville on their home court since 1950.

Syracuse is in the midst of playing a 9-game stretch that includes 7 ranked opponents. Notre Dame's schedule is no cream puff either. Their upcoming stretch includes games against UConn, Marquette, at Pitt, at Cincinnati, at UCLA, and then a home-game rematch vs Louisville.

Sit back on your couches or favorite chairs and enjoy the gracious offering from the sports gods this weekend. Cheers to Blockbuster Saturday.

Go Irish! Beat Orange! 

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Enter Kazooman

If you're an avid reader of this blog (all three of you) odds are you're familiar with the root of this song. Today's song is inspired by the classic "Enter Sandman" from Metallica's eponymous 1991 album. Before every Virginia Tech home football game (and I also noticed during the Orange Bowl, too) Enter Sandman is played as the crowd psyches itself into a wild, raucous frenzy as the intro crescendos into the main riff. I've never experienced itself for myself but Justin can assert the awesomeness of the phenomenon.

Though this version fails to combine the angrily melodious musings of Kirk Hammett and James Hetfield one thing is for certain: it is just as catchy as its original counterpart. 

And just for kicks...

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Who Ya Gonna Call?

First you'll notice our new banner, isn't it grand? You have me to thank on that one and while ordinarily I consider modesty among the many virtues I possess, I've neglected it in this instance.


I had heard inklings of this project but until now I hadn't seen any evidence that it actually existed. This is the trailer for the new Ghostbusters The Video Game, due out June 16 of this year. Dan Aykroyd, the creator of the series has said that that the game is essentially Ghostbusters III. The plot of "Ghostbusters In Hell" which was intended to be the third film won't be used, but Aykroyd has said some elements of the plot will be included and the game is being treated as a computer-generated film.

Aykroyd and Harold Ramis are writing the script just like they did for the first two movies.

This has the potential to be really really cool. As a big Ghostbusters fan growing up (I had all those toys pictured above except for the ghost trap, which I always really wanted) I'm needless to say, quite excited.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Ever Wonder How The Yellow Line During Football Games Is Produced?

Well, wonder no more my friends because the folks at FanDome kindly posted a video from the fine folks at NBC who produce the Notre Dame Football Games. Check out the video below. Who ever said sports couldn't be educational?

Friday, January 9, 2009

Song Of The Day

So I was flipping through the channels today when I stumbled upon the very beginning of the film Music & Lyrics starring Hugh Grant and Drew Barrymore. I wouldn't have stopped ordinarily, but I was intrigued by this rather comical music video which serves as the opening to the movie.

Hugh Grant plays a washed up star from the 80s group Pop! who hasn't written a song in ten years but is somehow contracted to write a new single for a star who is an amalgam of Shakira, Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera.

Anyway, Hugh can't write lyrics but he gets help from the woman watering his plants, Drew Barrymore. It's not an awful movie. It has just enough humor and jokes relating to the music industry that I laughed a good bit, multiple times even!

It's a fairly formulaic Hugh Grant romantic comedy, but the important thing is the song. So here it is, "Pop Goes My Heart" by Pop!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

More Than Meets The Eye

After perusing some Boston College message boards to get the BC fans take on the horrible public relations nightmare that is the ongoing saga between athletic director Gene DeFilippo and football coach Jeff Jagodzinski, my feelings on the matter have changed somewhat.

Initially I took this to be some kind of power play by the AD, simply trying to play hardball with their coach.

Apparently, the feeling in Chestnut Hill is that Jagodzinski really doesn't like the recruiting process and as a result isn't very good at it.

Recruiting rankings only mean so much, but a quick look at the current committed players across the ACC does seem to show Boston College laggging behind a bit.

One could surmise that if this is all true, that Jags is simply trying to get out of his current position and get back to the NFL in some capacity, even if it isn't as head coach of the New York Jets.

Rumors now have Eagles defensive coordinator Frank Spaziani being the man promoted from within instead of offensive coordinator Steve Logan should the Eagles go that route in replacing Jagodzinski. Of course the Turner Gill rumor mill has been fired up once again, but I really think he'll stay at Buffalo at least one more season. Boston College is a very unattractive job at this point and he can and will do better.

Monday, January 5, 2009

State Of The ACC

The ACC did little during bowl season to silence critics who said the league was soft this year, and this cartoon rather comically sums up the situation. Next year should be better overall, but I can't figure out why the media is so hot for Georgia Tech. I guess that's what a 38-3 shellacking in the Chick-Fil-a Bowl will get you.

I Know It Was You Fredo...

Stay tuned to the situation brewing up in Chestnut Hill. As has been widely reported, if head coach Jeff Jagodzinski interviews with the New York Jets, athletic director and resident moron Gene DeFillipo will fire the coach.

"Jeff is a very good man and an excellent football coach," DeFilippo said. "He did a wonderful job for us while he was here at BC. I wish Jeff would not take this interview and would remain as head coach at BC."

I'm sure he would stay at BC Gene if you don't drop the hammer on him, and assuming he doesn't get the Jets job. More to come on this one.

Some Tar Heels Do Go Pro Early

Standout wide receiver Hakeem Nicks has decided to forgo his senior season at North Carolina and enter the NFL Draft. Nicks is a tremendous talent and this year he amassed 1,222 yards and 12 touchdowns.

His career for the Tar Heels was capped off nicely by his dominant performance in the Meineke Car Care Bowl where he tallied 8 catches for 217 yards, 3 touchdowns and one of the best catches you'll ever see. Good Luck Hakeem, ACC secondaries won't miss you one bit.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Erin Andrews Maualuga?

Found this clip of USC LB Rey Maualuga dancing up on ESPN reporter Erin Andrews during a lull moment of the 2009 Rose Bowl and Southern Cal's thumping of Penn State this past Thursday. It certainly is a step up from the last time he was spotted near something pink.

Tech Triumph at Orange Bowl

Photo Credit/ Sun-Sentennial Photo Jim Rassol

On New Year's Day the Virginia Tech Hokies, powered by fantastic performances from FS Kam Chancellor and RB Darren Evans, were not going to allow a repeat of last year's Orange Bowl performance.    

The Hokies took care of the Cincinnati Bearcats 20-7 for their first bowl win in the last three tries and the ACC's first BCS bowl win in its last nine attempts.   

First Half 
Victory did not come as easily as the final score suggests, though. Cincinnati drove down the field on the opening possession of the game to take a 7-0 lead when QB Tony Pike connected with WR Marshawn (Mardy) Gilyard for a 15-yard touchdown.   

Not to be outdone, the Hokies offensive unit marched down the field on its first possession with the help of a few nifty plays. An end around to Dyrell Roberts went for 26 yards and QB Tyrod Taylor hit a wide open Danny Coale on a post route to the middle of the field for 34 yards putting the Hokies at the Cincy 14 yard-line. Dustin Keys missed a 26-yard field goal, though, as the Hokies came up empty.    

With their third possessions of the game the Hokies and Bearcats reversed the accomplishments of their initial drives. Cincy came up short with missed 44-yard field goal by Jake Rogers while the Hokies put 7 on the board with a nifty 17-yard run by Tyrod Taylor.
The two teams traded punts on the next three possessions and what once looked like
a shootout settled down to a defensive battle. If not for their early game jitters the Hokies D might have putched a shutout as they continually forced Cincy QB Tony Pike out of the pocket and safeties Kam Chancellor and Victor "Macho" Harris were dominant against the Bearcats' aerial attack.   

Chancellor nearly had an INT during the 2nd quarter, assisted by a tip from Macho Harris, but the play was reversed after an official review. Chancellor's right hand came down in bounds but, in order to have possession, a player must have his forearm land in bounds.
Virginia Tech got the ball back and ran at will against an unusually porous Bearcats rush defense as RB Darren Evans amassed 49 of his game high 153 rushing yards on the drive. Evans became the first back to run for more than 100 yards against Cincy this season.
Tyrod Taylor threw an INT to Ohio State transfer Brandon Underwood to end the Hokies drive, setting up a Cincy drive down to the Hokies 8 yard line before Tony Pike was intercepted for the first of his 4 total INTs by VT cornerback Stephan Virgil. Dustin Keys connected on a 43-yard field goal to close out the first half with a 10-7 Hokies lead.     

Second Half 
Virginia Tech opened up the second half of play with a 13 play, 68-yard drive resulting in a Dustin Keys 35-yard field goal. The drive featured continued innovation by Hokies Offensive Coordinator Bryan Stinespring, who experienced well deserved criticisum throughout the year due to inept performances by the Hokies O.    

The "Wild Turkey," which features mammoth TE Greg Boone behind center and is perhaps the greatest package name of all-time, was utilized during that opening drive and provided some spark for the relatively vanilla Hokies offense.    

Pike threw his 2nd pick of the game to Kam Chancellor on the Bearcats first possession of the second half.   The rest of the 3rd quarter was uneventful as neither team managed to cross the opposition's 40-yard line.   

With the score 13-7 entering the 4th it was clear that the Bearcats were only a few big plays away from igniting the pro-Cincy crowd into a frenzy. Cincy could not capitalize on its first possession of the quarter, though, as Pike was intercepted by DE Orion Martin at the Cincy 10-yard line. Darren Evans ran the ball three straight times on the ensuing drive, scoring on a 6-yard run to put the Hokies up 20-7.   

The Bearcats refused to quit, though, as they moved the ball at will through the air and drove deep into Hokies territory. A 7-yard completion from Pike to Dominick Goodman on 4th and 5 set up a Cincy first and goal from the 4-yard line. 

In rather peculiar fashion, however, the Bearcats chose not to run the ball until 3rd down after two consecutive incompletions. On 4th down Cincy opted go for it but the Hokies defense held its own to make the stop.

Momentum had clearly swung the way of the gobblers but Virginia Tech went 3 and out on their ensuing possession. A Cincinnati player ran into Hokies punter Brent Bowden to give the Hokies another opportunity to run down the clock. 

Cincinnati had one last shot when it regained possession with 2:31 remaining on the game clock. An ill-fated Pike pass was intercepted by LB Cody Grimm

As the game came to an end the few fans still in the stands, who were no doubt all Hokies fans, payed tribute to their conference affiliation with chants of "A-C-C!"

Considering how effortlessly the Bearcats scored against the 7th ranked defense in the nation it appeared that Hokies fans could be in for another episode of last year's Orange Bowl bash won by the Kansas Jayhawks.    

But the Hokies were determined not to let history repeat itself. A senior tradition that allows all VT seniors to forgo the first 3 days of bowl practice was broken to set the tone that this was a business trip and not just a fun reward for winning the ACC Championship.
While the Orange Bowl may not have been as hyped as the other BCS bowls this season it certainly was the most entertaining to date. Alabama started playing one quarter too late as the Crimson Tide was blown out by the Utah Utes in the Sugar Bowl and USC pounded Penn State in the Rose Bowl.  

Virginia Tech fans may be pleased at the moment but make no mistake about it - they will not be truly satisfied until the trophy case "reserved for the national championship trophy" is finally occupied.             

Virginia Tech finishd the season a perfect 6-0 in games where its defense allowed 13 points or less. The Hokies were 4-4 in games when 14+ points were surrendered.

Cincinnati punter Kevin Huber is known as "Phil Mickelson" in the clubhouse for his ability to back up balls inside the 10. 

Tyrod Taylor entered the game having thrown 2 TDs and 6 INTs this season. His stat line for the game: 13 of 22 for 140 yards with zero passing TDs and 1 INT. 

VT finished the season 10-4 for their fifth straight 10-win season, trailing only Texas (8) and USC (7) in that category.

FS Kam Chancellor announced to reporters after the game that he would return for his senior season.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Gobble Gobble

The Virginia Tech Hokies are the Orange Bowl Champions. Darren Evans is a man child. That is all. Recap from Brian to come soon.


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