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Steve DeShazo on Virginia Tech-Clemson
By STEVE DeSHAZO
In truth, the Hokies couldn't have asked for a better situation for playing the Tigers. They were at home, playing on ESPN on a Thursday night (when they're 13-2). Clemson was coming off an emotional win over Georgia Tech last. Virginia Tech, meanwhile, had essentially a tuneup over non-conference foe Southern Mississippi.
With no disrespect to the Golden Eagles, the Hokies essentially had 10 days to formulate a game plan for Clemson, while the Tigers were working on a very short week.
Of course, the basic strategy probably took about a minute and half to compile, not a week and a half. Run Ore early and often. Crowd the line of scrimmage, stopping Clemson's explosive tailbacks, James Davis and C.J. Spiller before they got started. Dare Proctor to beat you. And win the field-position battle.
Sound familiar? It's what Beamer and his staff have preached for the past decade. The problem was, the Hokies hadn't executed it well recently.
Last night, aside from Glennon's ill-advised scramble and fumble, Tech made few mistakes. Even Glennon's turnover didn't prove costly; the Hokies forced Clemson quarterback Will Proctor to fumble three plays later.
Unlike Wake Forest--which fell apart and let Clemson steal a victory three weeks ago--the Hokies kept pouring it on. Ore (which today rhymes with sore) passed his previous career high in carries early in the third quarter and seemed to get stronger as the game progressed, finishing with over 200 yards for the second straight game.
Of course, playing it close to the vest gets you only so far. The normally conservative Beamer may have made the call of the game late in the first quarter.
Trailing 7-0, he went for it on fourth and inches from his own 38. Glennon sneaked his way for a first down, and the Hokies scored five plays later (on another Glennon sneak). If he had been stopped, the Tigers might have taken control of the game early.
Instead, The Hokies were alive and well. The same can now be said for their season.
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