The Commonwealth of Virginia's Ultimate Blog

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Morgantown Recap

Wow, there is so much to say about my first trip to WVU I just don't know where to start. I'll start off by praising the folks in Morgantown for an incredible atmosphere. These people take college football seriously and it shows. As a lover of college football, Morgantown was one of the best game day atmospheres I have ever had the privilege of experiencing. The tailgating was phenomenal, and the pre-game parking lot vibe was electric. WVU is a beautiful campus and it is not difficult to see why the students there are so passionate about their school.

As a Hokie fan I have heard many, many stories about the "hooliganism" of 'Eers fans. Perhaps it was because the game was at noon, or perhaps bad feelings have cooled down now that we no longer compete in the same league, but I found the criticisms to be overstated. Mountaineer fans are certainly vocal about their support for their team, and certainly some go a little overboard with crude language and inappropriate T-shirts, but I witnessed nothing this weekend that I haven't seen elsewhere.

Perhaps my favorite thing about the game was the fact that, when I ordered a soda, the concessionaire left room in the cup to add a little something extra. They certainly know their fans at WVU.

As far as the game goes, I am so impressed with how complete a team Virginia Tech is in all three phases of the game. The defense gave up quite a bit to WVU's talented ground game, and Roland Minor's mistake cost us a TD, but overall the defense controlled WVU, especially in the second half.

On offense, Marcus Vick was simply outstanding. Whenever we needed a big play or third-down conversion, he was on point. Marcus is a much better passer than his brother was at this stage in his career, and it helps that the Hokies have a lot more weapons on offense now than we did in '99. Vick, Humes, Imoh, Royal, Clowney, King and the rest will make it very hard for opposing defenses to completely shut down VT this season. Other teams will simply have to pick their poison and hope for some luck.

On special teams, VT's kickers will give them a huge advantage in every game. Pace's consistency will help the Hokies get points on the board, while Develli and Schmitt will help the Hokies win the field position battle. In addition, Beamerball will always be a threat to make a big play out of the opponent's kicking game.

I will point to two critical statistics that, if they continue, could very well lead Virginia Tech to the National Championship game in Pasadena. The first is turnover margin. VT has 12 takeaways and 1 giveaway so far this year. Champions are opportunistic and force the opposition into mistakes. The other statistic is Marcus Vick's 68% completion rate and 9 TD passes to 1 interception. If Vick continues to be that accurate and limit his mistakes, VT will be very tough to beat.

Before the game, I had been glad that we no longer had to travel to Morgantown to face this West Virginia team. But after experiencing it, part of me is a little misty-eyed at the loss of such a dynamic and frenzied rivalry. Though both teams will certainly develop new rivals in their respective leagues, college football is a little bit poorer today without the Black Diamond Trophy on the line.


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3:01 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...


Glad that your trip was a good one. I grew up in West (by God) and we sure can be poor sports when we want to. I have not been to a game in Morgantown since they played on the old field downtown, by the river.

I always root for the 'eers, but since I have now lived in the Old Dominion longer than I lived in WVa, I was pulling for the Hokies this year. I want to see us in a title game this year!

7:56 PM

Anonymous NoVA Scout said...

That was a nice post, Zach. Good combination of travelogue and sports commentary. Fair to all concerned.

9:31 PM

Blogger Steve said...

Your post reminds me of a trip to Clemson a few years back, kind of changed my perspective on Tiger fans.

11:16 PM


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