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   Welcome to TSLMail #309 - Friday, December 14, 2007    
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   Tech Sports News

Orange Bowl Bid Brings Back Memories of 1996
by Chris Coleman,

Virginia Tech will be playing Kansas in the Orange Bowl on January 3, 2008. It will be the Hokies' second trip to the Orange Bowl, and they got there in the same style as their previous Orange Bowl entry, the 1996 team.

Both the 1996 team and the 2007 team suffered a humiliating early season loss. This year Tech lost to LSU 48-7. In 1996, the Hokies took the nation's longest winning streak of 13 games into the Carrier Dome and got hammered by Syracuse 52-21. Both of those losses took place in the month of September, and gave little indication that Tech would later be playing in one of college football's top bowls.

However, both teams stayed the course and came through down the stretch. The 1996 team didn't lose the rest the of the regular season, while the 2007 team dropped just one game. Both teams faced tough schedules down the stretch, but played their best football when it counted.

In the 1996 season, Tech ended the year against four bowl teams, three of which were ranked. The Hokies faced East Carolina, Miami, West Virginia and Virginia. Tech won all of those games by double digits. Tech's offensive line was gelling, and they were getting great play from senior quarterback Jim Druckenmiller.

Fast forward to 2007, when the Hokies faced Georgia Tech, Florida State, Miami and Virginia in the last four games. Again, Tech won all four of those games by at least 12 points. They knocked off Georgia Tech 27-3, beat FSU 40-21, whipped Miami 44-14, and beat UVA 33-21 for the Coastal Division crown.

Just like in 1996, the offensive line of the 2007 Hokies played their best football down the stretch. So did quarterback Sean Glennon, along with true freshman quarterback Tyrod Taylor.

The only difference is that the 2007 Hokies had to play a conference championship game. They beat Boston College 30-16 in Jacksonville, avenging their only ACC loss of the season and adding another notch to their belt of quality victories.

The 1996 Hokies also needed a little bit of luck, unlike the 2007 team. Syracuse was all set to represent the Big East in the Orange Bowl, but they were upset at home by Miami in the final week of the regular season. The Orangemen, Hokies and Hurricanes were in a three-way tie at the top of the Big East standings, and the Orange Bowl went with the Hokies.

Just like in 1996, the opponent is from the Big 12. Tech faced Nebraska in 1996, and will take on Kansas this time. Both opponents were National Championship contenders late in the season.

Nebraska, with quarterback Scott Frost and head coach Tom Osbourne, were defending National Champions. They had a chance to defend their title, but Texas upset them in the 1996 Big 12 Championship Game. That loss dropped the Huskers to the Orange Bowl, and the Hokies had a major battle on their hands.

Kansas was undefeated heading into their November 24 game with Missouri. The Jayhawks were riding high and ranked #2 in the nation, until their arch-rival knocked them off 36-28. Kansas didn't get a chance to play for the Big 12 Championship, and that Missouri game was their last game of the season.

Hopefully this Orange Bowl turns out a little better than the one back in 1996. Virginia Tech competed well with Nebraska, until the Cornhuskers' superior depth took over late in the third quarter.

Jim Druckenmiller's 33 yard touchdown pass to Cornelius White with 10:02 left in the third quarter pulled the Hokies within three points. Nebraska led 24-21, and Virginia Tech was in the game with a great shot to win.

It wasn't to be, as Nebraska scored the final 17 points of the game. The Cornhuskers dominated a tired Virginia Tech defense late in the game. Using their patented rushing attack, Nebraska racked up 279 rushing yards against the Hokies. Damon Benning and Scott Frost had big games on the ground, and current NFL running back Ahman Green had 52 yards on just seven carries before leaving with an injury.

The loss spoiled a great performance from Virginia Tech tailback Ken Oxendine, who ran over, around and through the Nebraska defense. The Ox carried the ball 20 times for 150 yards, and also caught three passes for 60 yards. 210 yards of total offense from a tailback is a good night of work.

Jim Druckenmiller had a great game, throwing for 214 yards and three touchdowns. However, he was just 16-of-33, largely because his receivers dropped a high number of very catchable passes.

Overall, the 1996 season was a great year that ended on a sour note. 2007 has also been a great year. Here's hoping this ending is a good one. Pass - Your Ultimate Ticket to Hokie Sports!

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For more info on TechSideline Pass, and to subscribe, click here. Updates From the Past Week

Catching up with TE Commit Eric Martin

December 14, 2007
Hylton (Woodbridge, VA) didn't have its typical successful varsity football season, finishing with a 3-7 overall record in 2007. Virginia Tech commitment Eric Martin, a 6-3, 230-pound tight end senior, helped to lead the Bulldogs through a tough season and ended up turning in a solid individual season.

Basketball Game Preview: Virginia Tech at Old Dominion
December 14, 2007
The young Hokies have quite a challenge ahead of them as they travel to Norfolk to take on Old Dominion in the Ted Constant Convocation Center. Old Dominion is a battle tested and experienced team that would like nothing better than to knock off an ACC team in their own gym.

Hokie Men's Soccer Shoots for National Title This Weekend
December 13, 2007
Virginia Tech's men's soccer team will take on Wake Forest on Friday in the semifinals of the College Cup. The winner will play for the National Championship on Sunday. The Hokies' game with the Demon Deacons will begin at 5pm, and it will be televised by ESPN2.

Class of '09: Hermitage Features Two Top Athletes
December 13, 2007
Hermitage (Richmond, VA) head coach Patrick Kane boasts at least two Division 1A prospects for the 2009 recruiting class. One of the two has already picked up an official 1A offer, while the other has drawn significant interest following a productive junior season on both sides of the ball.

TSL Audio: The Len Martez Show, 12/12/07
December 13, 2007
Wednesday night, Chris Coleman and Len Martez talked about Hokie hoops, fresh off a win over GW on Sunday. They also discussed the football team, including addressing rumors that Bud Foster might be going to South Carolina (he's not) and talking about what the linebacking corps is going to look like next year without Xavier Adibi and Vince Hall (WMA format, compatible with Windows Media Player and MP3 players, 3.2 MB, 13:30).

Worst ... BCS ... Ever
December 12, 2007
I'm not a radical who makes rash, quick judgments. The BCS has existed since 1998, and I've never had strong opinions on it until this year. This year however, I got pretty upset about some of its obvious flaws.

Tech Extends Another In-State Offer
December 12, 2007
Two of Virginia Tech's most recent offers went out to state of Virginia prospects. One went to Hermitage (Richmond) quarterback Ju-Ju Clayton. Another has gone out to 6-3, 245-pound Green Run (Virginia Beach) defensive end Joe Jones, who enjoyed a standout senior season after transferring from a high school in Tennessee.

Hermitage QB Lands Offer from VT
December 12, 2007
Led by senior quarterback Joseph "Ju-Ju" Clayton, the Hermitage Panthers (Richmond, VA) enjoyed an outstanding 2007 season, capturing a Division 6, Central Region championship. Clayton's performance certainly helped Hermitage to great accomplishments, but it also has resulted in a scholarship offer from Virginia Tech.

Tucker Discusses Visit to Tech
December 11, 2007
Virginia Tech hosted 6-2, 275-pound senior defensive lineman Dwight Tucker this past weekend on an official visit, and it was Tucker's first ever experience in Blacksburg. The Oviedo (FL) product, hosted over the weekend by freshman defensive tackle Kwamaine Battle, arrived on Friday.

Hokie Hotline Notes for 12/10/07
December 11, 2007
Presented by Pete Dye River Course of Virginia Tech: Monday night's show was a star-studded event: Athletic director Jim Weaver, defensive backs coach Torrian Gray, and a trio of head coaches: basketball's Seth Greenberg, football's Frank Beamer and soccer's Oliver Weiss.

A Very Early Look at 2008 ACC Football
December 11, 2007
Already got your eye on next year, wondering if the Hokies can win another ACC championship? Sizing up the competition? Chris Coleman takes a look at the ACC next year, concluding that most teams will be better, one or two will hold steady, and one or two more will slip. Check out his early take on the league in 2008.

4-Star Williams Enjoys Tech Official Visit
December 11, 2007
According to Stonewall Jackson (Manassas, VA) head coach Loren Johnson, 4-star running back Ryan Williams had a good official visit experience at Virginia Tech this past weekend. Williams, one of Virginia Tech's top overall targets in this 2008 recruiting class, will now try to visit two other programs before he makes his college choice in early January.

Football Recruiting Notes
December 10, 2007
New Hanover (Wilmington, N.C.) DT/OL Nick Becton, Oviedo (FL) DL Dwight Tucker and Stonewall Jackson (Manassas, VA) RB Ryan Williams each made their respective official visits to Virginia Tech over the weekend. By all accounts, all three official visits went very, very well despite no commitments being made. [Also check out how Virginia Tech recruits performed in state championship games, as well as the latest on linebacker commit Allen Stephens.]

Hokies Thrash GW 68-36
December 9, 2007
Virginia Tech played another excellent game defensively, this time knocking off George Washington 68-36 in Cassell Coliseum. It was the second game in a row the Hokies have held an opponent to under 40 points. The win takes them to 5-3 on the season, and they get the rest of the week off before facing in-state rival Old Dominion next Sunday.

Nyarko's Goal Sends Hokies to College Cup
December 8, 2007
Patrick Nyarko's goal at the 21:39 mark was all the 11th seeded Hokies needed to defeat 3rd seeded UConn on the road. The 1-0 victory sends Virginia Tech to the College Cup, the Final Four of the Division I Men's Soccer Championships.

Basketball Game Preview: Virginia Tech vs. George Washington
December 7, 2007
Virginia Tech gets a chance to avenge one of their out of conference losses of the 2006-07 season when George Washington comes to Blacksburg on Sunday evening. Both teams will look much different than they did a year ago, but this promises to be one of the most entertaining game of the Hokies' out-of-conference slate.

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