On October 1st the #13 Clemson Tigers traveled to Blacksburg, Virginia to take on the #11 Hokies of VA Tech. The game was touted as an early-season ACC Championship game preview; the Tigers came in with a young, explosive offense while the Hokies had struggled early, but remained dominant on defense, and with their home crowd behind them, were up for any challenge.
As the Tigers slowly took control of the game and left town that night, having prevailed 23-3, the Hokies were shell shocked; rarely had a conference opponent come into their house and knocked them around like that.
“They beat us soundly, and they certainly took it to us,” Coach Frank Beamer said early this week. ”There wasn’t any question about that. They deserved to win. You know, I think our players understand.”
As the season progressed so did the Hokies, they haven’t lost since. The Tigers extended their winning streak to eight games before Georgia Tech beat them handily 31-17. These two teams, now, are seemingly headed in opposite directions. The Hokies continue their ascension through the national ranks, while Clemson has fallen far since their first loss (having lost 3 of their last 4 games). Now we have what the Hokies wanted the second that October 1st game ended:
Not enough can be said about how improved a team Virginia Tech is since their loss to Clemson. The coaching staff understood they would have to deal with some bumps and bruises while developing their young quarterback Logan Thomas, but after the loss something simply clicked for Logan and the Hokies haven’t looked back.
“Nobody was really talking about it, but everybody wants it.” Thomas said this week as he gears up for the rematch with Clemson. “We didn’t play our best ball that day, and hopefully we can get them this time.”
During the Hokies seven game winning streak Thomas has accounted for 23 total touchdowns (14 passing, 9 rushing). He and RB David Wilson have been electrifying, running the read-option and play-action pass. No defense in the ACC is equipped to stop Thomas; his size and speed is unmatched in the country at quarterback. Wilson has emerged as one of the best running backs in the country. With the ACC Title game and following bowl left to play he should break the Hokies single-season rushing record easily.
For the Tigers it’s gone from great, to bad, to worse. What started with a eight game winning streak quickly turned into close games and losses. Their once great offense, led by red shirt sophomore Tahj Boyd has fallen off track of late. Coach Dabo Sweeny thinks his young QB has lost confidence, and a signal-caller without confidence isn’t a good thing this time of year.
With recent losses to Georgia Tech, NC State, and South Carolina the Tigers have shown their weaknesses. The Hokies are hot and out for revenge. Clemson still has amazing talent all over their roster so Coach Beamer has made sure his team doesn’t take them lightly this time around.
This Saturday night one of these teams will earn the right to play in a BCS Bowl, one of the highest team achievements in college football. For the Hokies to win they need to stay hungry and remember October 1st.
Prediction: VT 38 – Clemson 31
About the Author
Written by Frank Sullivan
Frank is a graduate of Old Dominion University, sports fan, author, and founder of TheBloosh.com. He's been working with prosportsblogging.com since April 2011, and has covered the Chicago Bulls, Baltimore Ravens, Virginia Tech Hokies Football, and the Washington Wizards. Frank can be reached @franksullivan on twitter.