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TSLMail #353- October 24, 2008    
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 Tech Sports News

FSU's History of Out-Beamerballing the Hokies
by Chris Coleman,

Virginia Tech has a history of winning football games by making big plays on defense and special teams. However, whenever the Hokies play Florida State, it's generally the 'Noles who "Beamerball" the Hokies to death. It's been tough for Tech to overcome the FSU defensive and special teams scores in the past, and it will be even more difficult this season with VT's struggling offense.

Virginia Tech's offense has never really had a tough time moving the football against Florida State, except for a couple of games early in Frank Beamer's tenure.

Virginia Tech Total Offense vs. FSU
Year Yards Outgained FSU? Result
1988 276 No 41-14 L
1989 174 No 41-7 L
1990 418 Even 39-28 L
1991 420 Yes 33-20 L
1999 503 Yes 46-29 L
2001 312 No 30-17 L
2005 376 Yes 27-22 L
2007 395 Yes 40-21 W
Average Yards Gained by VT: 359.25

If you take out that bad 1989 performance, the Hokies have averaged 385.7 yards per game against FSU under Frank Beamer. Take out 1988 and 1989, and they've averaged 404 yards per game against Florida State. So in the six meetings between the two teams since 1990, Virginia Tech is averaging 404 yards per game! The Hokies have picked up at least 395 yards of total offense in four of those six games.

The Hokies have also outgained Florida State in four of their last five meetings going back to 1991. Before that, the 1990 game was even in total yards. Even when the Hokies didn't have anywhere near the talent of FSU, like 1990 and 1991, Tech was the tougher football team. Their toughness allowed them to move the ball on offense.

Moving the football against Florida State hasn't been a huge problem recently. Instead, the 'Noles always seem to score on defense and special teams, beating the Hokies at their own game.

Here is a look at the big plays Florida State has made on the Hokies with their defense and special teams.

Florida State's "Beamerballing" of Virginia Tech
Year "Beamerball" Type Plays
1989 Two blocked punts
1990 INT and fumble returned for TDs
1991 INT returned for TD
1999 Blocked punt for a TD, punt return for a TD
2001 Blocked punt set up a TD
2005 Returned punt for a TD
2007 INT returned for a TD

Even when the Hokies were moving the ball effectively against Florida State, they couldn't overcome these big plays by FSU's defense and special teams, with the exception of VT's win in Lane Stadium last year. Against Florida State, there isn't much room for error, as we've seen throughout the years.

This time around, there is even less room for error. If Florida State's defense or special teams score a touchdown (or more) against Tech, the Hokie offense isn't going to have the firepower to overcome it. While Tech has averaged over 400 yards per game against the 'Noles since 1990, VT's offensive yardage this weekend will be more similar to the numbers they put up against FSU in 1988 and 1989.

If Virginia Tech wants to defeat Florida State in Tallahassee tomorrow, they need to turn those defensive and special teams numbers around. They can't allow the 'Noles to score on defense or special teams. Instead, the Hokies have to do it themselves.

That's going to be a tall order, in some ways. Defensively, perhaps not. The Hokies have a habit of forcing turnovers this year. The Hokies are #1 nationally in turnover margin, and they lead the nation in interceptions this decade. Florida State also has a nasty habit of throwing other teams the football at times.

Special teams is another story. The Tech punt team has allowed three touchdowns this year, two via returns. Florida State puts so many athletes on the field that Brent Bowden might just be better off kicking the ball out of bounds this time.

Whatever the Tech offense does, the game could very easily come down to special teams. If the Hokies win that battle, they'll have a chance to win the game. However, recent history suggests that's a battle they'll lose. 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

ACC Weekend Football Preview: Week 9

October 24, 2008
There are more big ACC games this weekend, with teams like Wake Forest and North Carolina desperately seeking wins to stay in the race. We'll also find out a lot more about a resurgent UVA team, as they travel to Atlanta to take on Georgia Tech.

2010 Class: Woodberry Forest (VA)
October 24, 2008
Woodberry Forest's (VA) varsity football program, 5-1 so far in 2008, promises to continue its success in 2009 as well. Head coach Clint Alexander boasts at least four potential Division 1 prospects in his junior class, including one who has already received a Division 1A scholarship offer.

Lorenzo Williams Tears ACL, Out for Season
October 23, 2008
Virginia Tech true freshman free safety Lorenzo Williams tore the ACL in his right knee during Wednesday's practice, and will miss the remainder of the season. The loss of Williams costs the Hokies a valuable special teams performer, and leaves Virginia Tech critically short of safeties.

Tariq Edwards Updates Verbal Status
October 23, 2008
Marlboro County (Bennettsville, S.C.) outside linebacker/defensive end Tariq Edwards made an official visit to the University of Illinois this past weekend. The visit was a surprise considering the 6-4, 225-pound standout senior verbally committed to Virginia Tech earlier this summer, but at this time it appears Edwards still plans on signing with Tech in February.

Football Game Preview: Virginia Tech at Florida State
October 22, 2008
In 2006, Virginia Tech rebounded from the loss to Boston College by winning six straight games. In 2007, they rebounded from another loss to BC by winning five consecutive games. In 2008, they've got a chance to do the same thing, but this time they have to travel to Tallahassee to take on Florida State in a place they haven't won since 1974.

TSL Audio: The Jerry Miller Show, 10/21/08
October 22, 2008
Yesterday, Chris Coleman and Jerry Miller talked about the much-discussed "hitch" in Tyrod Taylor's throwing style, the state of VT offensive line recruiting, and other hot topics (WMA format, approx. 3.0 MB, approx. 13 minutes long).
The Jerry Miller Show appears on The Sports Addict Radio Network every afternoon from 1:00-3:00 pm in Blacksburg (1430 AM), Charlottesville (840 AM), and Bluefield (1050 AM), and from 2:00-4:00 in Martinsville (1160 AM).

Q&A with TSL Guru Rev. Zeke Vodka
October 22, 2008
In this latest edition of "Q&A," we catch up with TechSideline basketball guru Rev. Zeke Vodka. Zeke tackles a handful of questions on the 2009 as well as a look ahead to the 2010 class, which already boasts a verbal commitment from top prospect Jarell Eddie. Check out the latest landscape picture of Virginia Tech basketball recruiting in this "Q&A" edition.

Boston College Game Analysis: Hokies Struggle Against Tough Matchup
October 21, 2008
I hate watching games on television, especially when the Hokies lose. I want to watch the players, the coaches and the sidelines between plays, not watch multiple shots of Matt Ryan in the booth. The good news is that I was able to listen to Bill and Mike in-sync with the video feed, so that was a plus. Other than that, there isn't much positive to say about the Tech/Boston College football game last Saturday night.

Hokie Hotline Notes for 10/20/08
October 21, 2008
Monday night's guests were quarterbacks coach Mike O'Cain, athletic director Jim Weaver, and head football coach Frank Beamer. The trio addressed the loss to Boston College and looked ahead to Florida State.

Devin Bolling Awaits Further Word from VT, UVa
October 21, 2008
Virginia Tech head coach Frank Beamer and offensive coordinator Bryan Stinespring stopped by Brookville High School (Lynchburg, VA) the Friday before last, to continue its pursuit of talented senior athlete Logan Thomas and junior defensive end Zack McCray, but also to scout senior offensive lineman Devin Bolling. We caught up with the 6-5, 270-pound Bolling to find out the latest with Virginia Tech and other programs he is considering.

Monday Thoughts: Boston College
October 20, 2008
The elephant in the room -- Virginia Tech's struggling offense -- had been sitting quietly in the corner all season, and the Hokies notched a 5-1 record despite their lack of offensive production. But Saturday night, the elephant got rowdy and starting knocking over furniture and breaking stuff. Things finally collapsed, and in the aftermath of Tech's 28-23 defeat, all eyes are on the offense, or lack thereof.

Around the ACC: Week 8
October 20, 2008
It was certainly a crazy week in the ACC. Virginia Tech, UNC and Wake Forest all entered the weekend ranked in the Top 25. By Sunday afternoon, they were all unranked. In the Atlantic Division, four teams are tied at the top with a 2-1 ACC record. In the Coastal Division, three teams have just one conference loss. It should be a wild finish.

McKie Reflects on Recent ACC Visits
October 20, 2008
Community High School (Richmond, VA) forward Travis McKie, one of the top 2010 class prospects in the country, was in Charlottesville on Saturday on an unofficial visit to the University of Virginia. The 6-6, 185-pound junior discussed his latest experience at UVa, reflected on several other recent visits and updated where his recruitment may go from here.

Hokies Fall in Boston 28-23
October 19, 2008
Virginia Tech scored two defensive touchdowns and was +4 in turnover margin on Saturday night against Boston College. However, that wasn't enough in the end. The Eagles scored a special teams touchdown and kept the Tech offense out of the endzone in a 28-23 setback for the Hokies. The loss drops Virginia Tech to 5-2 on the season and 2-1 in ACC play.
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