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Tyrod Taylor: 'We beat ourselves'

Where to start with this one? A disastrous first quarter for Virginia Tech followed by a tremendous response. Four lead changes in the second half. A near-perfect game-winning drive. Let's just dive right in.

Call me an eternal optimist but I tend to side with Virginia Tech Coach Frank Beamer when looking back on Monday night's wild 33-30 loss to No. 3 Boise State. Despite a litany of miscues and a 17-point first-quarter deficit, the reality is the Hokies mounted a valiant comeback and in the end, were just "one first down from putting the game away" in the fourth quarter.

But this week, when Virginia Tech's coaches and players sit down and look back at the film, they'll have to come to terms with a troubling reality. The Hokies' trademark special teams unit cost them a victory, and quite possibly, a shot at a national championship.

There was a blocked punt in the first quarter by Austin Pettis -- who came off the edge untouched -- that set up Boise State's first touchdown. Virginia Tech kicker Chris Hazley missed a 34-yard chip shot, and then kickoff specialist Justin Myer sailed one out of bounds to set up a Broncos field goal. And don't forget Hokies sophomore D.J. Coles committing a roughing the kicker penalty and a personal foul on the same punt return to help keep another Broncos touchdown drive alive.

In all, the special teams mistakes cost Virginia Tech 20 points. And that was just in the first half. It was no wonder the Hokies trailed 17-0 by the end of the first quarter.

"We made too many critical mistakes to defeat a top-five football team. I think all the points, after they blocked the kick, everything came right off of big plays from the kicking game," said Beamer, who is the coach in charge of the Hokies' special teams. "Kick the ball out of bounds, roughing the kicker penalty, that’s disappointing. That’s not Virginia Tech.”

Some more notes to chew on
*Speaking of special teams, during his postgame news conference, Beamer took issue with the block in the back that was waived off during the Broncos' final punt return. It set up Boise State with prime field position, on its own 44-yard-line, to begin its game-winning touchdown drive.

"They said the other guy had a better view of it, so I’ll take them at their word," Beamer said of the officials. "I thought we had a block in the back. You’re talking about a big penalty now. With no time on the clock, and not only where they gained the yardage but where the penalty would have taken them back to, you’re talking about a 35-yard penalty.”

*Throughout the preseason, Virginia Tech was adamant its linebacking corps would not miss a beat with junior Barquell Rivers taking longer than expected to recover from a torn quad injury. But the Hokies' youth at linebacker was exposed several times Monday night.

It seemed time and time again, the Broncos scheme forced Virginia Tech linebackers into one-on-one coverage against Boise State wide receivers. Most notably, Pettis scored both of his touchdowns -- including the game winner -- by beating sophomore whip Jeron Gouveia-Winslow.

But Gouveia-Winslow wasn't the only culprit on this night. Middle linebacker Bruce Taylor was called for a pivotal (and some would say debatable) late hit on the Broncos' game-winning drive and missed a tackle in the backfield when Boise State's D.J. Harper broke off a 71-yard touchdown run in the third quarter. Veteran linebacker Lyndell Gibson also missed a tackle on the play.

*It wasn't all bad news for the defense, though. I thought safeties Eddie Whitley and Davon Morgan both had strong games. Whitley finished with a team-high seven tackles and forced a second-quarter fumble that swung momentum back to Virginia Tech after that horrendous start to the contest. Morgan had five tackles, and a key third-down pass breakup in the fourth quarter that gave the Hokies the ball back with a chance to run out the clock.

*Virginia Tech's offensive line had a shaky performance against a tough Boise State front four. It seemed senior quarterback Tyrod Taylor never could get comfortable in the pocket, and if it weren't for his maneuverability, the Broncos would have finished with more than just three sacks.

And the Hokies' supposed strength, the running game, was anything but. Virginia Tech averaged just 2.9 yards per carry. Boise State, on the other hand, averaged seven yards per carry. Afterward, Virginia Tech running back Ryan Williams wasn't shy about his frustration with the situation.

"All I know is that there was a lot of times I got the ball and there were defenders in my face," said Williams, who had three touchdowns but just 51 yards rushing. "I don’t know who let who by or what kind of scheme they ran, but there were people in my face and that prevented a lot of things going on.”

*I thought both quarterbacks had strong games. Boise State's Kellen Moore will draw all the headlines after leading the Broncos on that 56-yard game-winning drive in just 38 seconds. Working with no timeouts, Moore went 4 or 5 on that drive and finished the game with 215 yards passing, three touchdowns and no interceptions.

But my guess is Bud Foster and the Hokies' defense will shake their heads when they look back at how little pressure they got on Moore.The defensive line struggled to generate a consistent pass rush all night, and it was no more evident than on the final drive when Moore seemed to have an eternity to survey the field.

As for Taylor, he took the blame for the fumbled snap on the second play of the game. He said center Beau Warren thought the offense was in a shotgun formation. But without Taylor's performance, there's no way Virginia Tech has a chance after falling behind by so much, so quickly. He finished 15 of 22 for 186 yards and two touchdowns and also led the Hokies in rushing with 93 yards.

Junior Jarrett Boykin finished with six catches for 102 yards and a touchdown, but could not haul in Taylor's desperation heave on Virginia Tech's final offensive play. For the record, Taylor thought it was a pass interference penalty that went uncalled (I disagree).

“It was an opportunity missed," Taylor said after the game. "But I believe that we beat ourselves. It wasn’t anything they did to beat us. I strongly believe that. We just gotta correct those mistakes.”

By Mark Giannotto  |  September 7, 2010; 2:59 AM ET
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Next: Virginia Tech's rushing attack humbled for a night


What a loser thing to say. Reminds me when Matt leiner said that the only reason Texas won was becuase of a freakish athlete and their team was really better , look where hes at now

Posted by: thomasuras | September 7, 2010 12:29 PM | Report abuse

In the history of Virginia Tech, they have never lost to a superior opponent. They always "beat themselves, didn't play to their potential, were jobbed by the refs, etc".

I'd call them the Serena Williams of the NCAA...but she actually has championship trophies to back it up.

Posted by: VamosUnited | September 7, 2010 12:33 PM | Report abuse

Ya gotta love the college football. One loss and it's over man. Game over, man. How sad is college football. About this sad.

Posted by: richs91 | September 7, 2010 12:35 PM | Report abuse

The money I put on BSU last night is in my pocket and Mr. Taylor's excuses will not change that fact.

Posted by: monkeynofind | September 7, 2010 12:44 PM | Report abuse

Wtth all due respect, most of this explanation by the Post reporter of how VT lost sounds as if it were written by the Tech athletic department, not a WaPo reporter. Speaking of special teams, and how VT mistakes helped Boise State, the writer ignored noting the roughing the klicker penalty on Boise State after that VT kicker kicked the ball (very) far wide right. Without that foolish BS foul, VT does nto score that touchdown soon thereafter, so all the writer's numbers would need revising. From a journalism perspective, this column is "about" VTech, not an apology for its loss after a good game. If the writer had stuck to the gritty comeback and the poise of the VT players, every reader would agree, and no one would quarrel. Let's have the columnist look at the game for what it was: a good back-and-forth game where mistakes by both teams kept the game close, and gave fans a cliffhanger.

Posted by: wevans3 | September 7, 2010 12:58 PM | Report abuse

"Bush" is the word I'd use about their "we beat ourselves" statements. Grow up! Actually Boise State beat you, like it or not. Last night the better team won. The same if Tech had won, they would be the better team.

Posted by: tojo45 | September 7, 2010 12:59 PM | Report abuse

Is there something in the coaching scheme prior to the 1st game of the season, especially when the opponent is a top ranked school (Alabama last year),where the Hokies just give up points and make mistakes until sometime late in the 1st half? Once again they gave up 17 and lost by 3. It seems as if in every "big" game the [layers are reading their press clippings and come in not ready to play until they get warmed up. And yes. VT was exposed in the areas they should have been, that's great coaching on Boise State's part,.. where were the Hokies in all this coach????

Posted by: Royedw1 | September 7, 2010 12:59 PM | Report abuse

VarnosUnited has it nailed. What a bunch of whiners the VT players are, starting with the whining they did just to get into the ACC. And Beamer claiming roughing the kicker isn't VT? It's EXACTLY VT, Frank. That's the problem you don't have the guts to acknowledge.

Posted by: Jayne | September 7, 2010 12:59 PM | Report abuse

Taylor's right. Va Tech beat themselves.

It was a close game, and anybody who actually watched it knows that.

Without a few critical and costly mistakes, Virginia Tech would have won that game.

It goes down in history as an 'L', but it was about as close as it gets in football.

Posted by: postfan1 | September 7, 2010 1:12 PM | Report abuse

Right, postfan1, it was a moral victory right? Give me a break. Has VT ever, in the history of the program, acknowledged that any team actually beat them?

Posted by: Jayne | September 7, 2010 1:18 PM | Report abuse

"Would've"..."could've"..."should've"..."Without a couple mistakes...." Blah, blah blah.

Grow a pair and just admit that Boise St. played a better game. You got beat.

Posted by: RosslynSack | September 7, 2010 1:20 PM | Report abuse

I take nothing away from all the plays Boise State made to win that game. Boise State is not the best team in the country. But the Broncos are really strong in every aspect of their game. Hats to the Broncos for walking into a hostile Fedex Field and pulling out a win.

But as for naysayers, put the quotes in the proper context. Frank Beamer does not walk through life with maroon googles. The question is if that was the best possible game the Hokies could have played/coached, and the answer is a resounding no.

Boise State beat Virginia Tech. But the Hokies could have won the game had they played/coached better.

That's not sour grapes. That's how a coach takes a loss and users it to make the team better down the road.

Posted by: hokie92 | September 7, 2010 1:37 PM | Report abuse

I have to agree that Virginia Tech beat themselves and this is taking nothing away for Boise State, it's just the truth. To listen to Brent Musberger and Herbstreet you would like that Tech was the higher ranked team and favored to win, they were not and it took every play they had to win the game. I really don't think they proved much last night. Are they a great team yes, but this was not an overwhelming win as some would have us believe, I saw the game!

Posted by: bscoleman | September 7, 2010 2:21 PM | Report abuse

Actually, the betting line went from Boise State -2.5 early last week to Virginia Tech -1.5 at kickoff.

Therefore, VA Tech was FAVORED in the game by the betting public contrary to popular belief.

No excuses by the VT quarterback, coach or east coast-biased media will be accepted by this football fan.

Posted by: monkeynofind | September 7, 2010 2:51 PM | Report abuse

that late hit call on boise state's final drive was worse than the overturning of the block in the back

Posted by: joe_hill | September 7, 2010 7:16 PM | Report abuse

The moment I saw those God awful VA Tech uniforms knew they were doomed.

You don't see the traditional powers like the USC Trojans or the Notre Dame Fighting Irish mucking with tried but true uniforms.

Note to VA Tech AD,


Posted by: whatyoutalkinboutman | September 8, 2010 9:43 AM | Report abuse

Hey wevans -
You're right on the money - the "writer" is so far up VT's back side that he can't be objective. He has a history of a love affair with all things VT, thinks R. Williams is a football god, (he got 2.1 yards/carry during the game) etc, but fails to acknowledge when a better team exposes VT football for what it is - always overrated during the preseason and then falls like a rock after a loss that "wasn't their fault."

Maybe Beamer should schedual cream-puffs like Seth "I wish they would set the rules" Greenberg does and build a great won/loss. Problem with that approach is, you have to whine when you don't make it to the big dance.

Bottom Line: Both BSU and VT players and coaches knew this was a big game going in. Both teams should have been prepared. The better team won, playing and coaching.

(Did anyone see the Navy/MD highlights? MD's defense had to run 82 defensive plays and still had enough gas in the tank to stuff the Navy QB when the game was on the line. And you know, after the game, I didn't hear any whining from the Navy coach or any of its players. Why? Because Navy is a classy institution.

Posted by: JEGman | September 8, 2010 1:44 PM | Report abuse

Coach Beamer is dead wrong. They weren't one first down away from victory, they were one terrible, terrible call on 3rd and 8 from victory. Boise was out of timesout. all you had to do was run the ball. Even if you don't make it, you chew up 40 seconds, giving the ball back to Boise w/a minute to play, not 2. Big difference. Terrible call by VT staff. Musberger and Herbstreit were too busy making meaningless comments to notice, but everybody where i was watching sure did.

Posted by: mtskins | September 8, 2010 1:53 PM | Report abuse

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