But as I noted in my column for tomorrow, this is a program trend but not a 2012 trend. The defense has helped Tech get to 4-4 just as assuredly as the offense has.
“Field position got us a little bit,” Frank Beamer said. “And then, to beat Clemson you’ve got to keep the ball, get some first downs and then get some points out of your possessions. Field position hurt us. But we just need to make a couple plays.”
Mike O’Cain on the wideout pass:
“It happened so quick. And any of those things that you call, you don’t want to say it’s a hope and a prayer. You’re basing it on some things that you’ve done, but they have to play it the way you think they’re going to play it. And we really didn’t get a good look at it the first time. So we thought it was worth another try. And obviously it didn’t pan out. I think sometimes plays like that, they can be really big or they can be really bad. And you’ve got to take those chances at time.
Tech’s off next week before facing Miami a week from Thursday. As always, thanks for stopping by.
Final: Clemson 38, Hokies 17
This one’s getting away from the Hokies, as Clemson leads 31-10 after three (Tech is in Clemson territory).
Two huge calls went against Tech — the most egregious to me was when they called Thomas down when he wasn’t close to it, negating a completion that would have picked up a first down. The other was a ruling that Sammy Watkins was down before fumbling when it looked like he wasn’t. Both big plays.
The offense has to be better than this against a defense that hasn’t been very good all year. Tech ran 10 times for 19 yards in the period. The Tigers have given up an average of more than 200 rushing yards per game this year.
Before the game, you’d probably say “could be worse” than to be trailing 17-10 at the half, but the Hokies have to feel like they should be leading as they head to the locker room. A big turnover on special teams, where a Clemson punt glanced off Tech freshman Christian Reeves, set up a short field for Clemson to drive for the go-ahead touchdown.
Thomas has thrown two interceptions, both on high passes. On the second one, Jonathan Meeks returned it 73 yards for a touchdown. Tech got a 40-yard field goal at the end of the half to put the score where it is.
Continue to be puzzled as why Tech’s still running four tailbacks out there. To me, you’ve got to pick two (three if you want to use Scales as a short-yardage back) and just go with it. Just about every tailback in the world will tell you he plays better after he works up a lather. Tech’s guys, limited though they may be, aren’t getting that chance.
Clemson running back Andre Ellington looks like the best player on the field right now. Containing him might be the biggest challenge of the second half, particularly if Clemson gets the lead up to double figures again and wants to lengthen out the drives a bit.
The defense has held Clemson to 137 total yards. Tech has three sacks on Tajh Boyd. That’s impressive. Like I said, “could be worse” doesn’t really apply here.
Tech will get the ball first to start the second half.
The Hokies become the first team this year to hold Clemson without a first quarter touchdown and lead 7-3 after one. Perfect start for Tech, which got two sacks on Clemson’s first possession, then quickly drove 58 yards on their first possession for a touchdown, capped by a 29-yard pass to Corey Fuller.
Hokies did miss an opportunity late in the quarter, seeing a 15-play drive stall at the Clemson 18 when Michael Holmes was stuffed on fourth-and-1.
Michael Cole’s interception — snared while he was on the seat of his pants — was the third time the Cave Spring graduate had contributed to a turnover in the past four quarters. He had a pick and a fumble recovery last week against Duke.
VT—Fuller 29 pass from Thomas (Journell kick), 10:28. Drive: Seven plays, 58 yards, 2:52. Key play: Thomas 3 run on fourth-and-2 to CU 30. Virginia Tech 7, Clemson 0.
CU—FG Catanzaro 27, :00. Drive: 13 plays, 73 yards, 2:55. Key play: Ellington 26 run to VT 12. Virginia Tech 7, Clemson 3.
CU—Boyd 1 run (Catanzaro kick), 9:29. Drive: Six plays, 26 yards, 1:53. Key play: Steward recovers Reeves fumble at VT 26. Clemson 10, Virginia Tech 7.
CU—Meeks 73 interception return (Catanzaro kick), 3:46. Clemson 17, Virginia Tech 7.
VT—FG Journell 40, :03. Drive: Nine plays, 52 yards, 3:43. Key play: Fuller 22 pass from Thomas to CU 30. Clemson 17, Virginia Tech 10.
CU—Ellington 12 run (Catanzaro kick), 4:30. Drive: Seven plays, 52 yards, 2:54. Key play: Watkins 27 pass from Boyd to VT 10. Clemson 24, Virginia Tech 10.
CU—Hopkins 37 pass from Boyd (Catanzaro kick), :50. Drive: Three plays, 47 yards, :50. Key play: Humphries 13 punt return to VT 47. Clemson 31, Virginia Tech 10.
VT—Thomas 19 run (Journell kick), 9:52. Drive: Four plays, 61 yards, 1:13. Key play: Holmes 7 run plus 15 facemask penalty to CU 19. Clemson 31, Virginia Tech 17.
CU—Boyd 1 run (Catanzaro kick), 1:33. Drive: Nine plays, 41 yards, 5:22. Key play: Brewer interception to VT 41. Clemson 38, Virginia Tech 17.
Virginia Tech, Jarrett 5-4-0, Tyler 4-5-1, Taylor 5-2-1, Bonner 5-0-0, Exum 3-2-0, Hopkins 3-2-0, Maddy 3-2-2, Cole 2-3-0, Marshall 2-2-0, Gayle 2-2-1, Tweedy 3-0-0, Fuller 2-0-0, Vandyke 1-1-0, Collins 1-0-0, Scales 1-0-0, Hopkins 1-0-0, Hughes 1-0-0, Malleck 1-0-0, Davis 1-0-0, Harley 0-1-0, Totals 46-26-5.
Clemson, Hall 7-5-0, Willard 3-7-0, Shuey 4-5-0, Reader 3-4-0, Crawford 1-6-0, Christian 3-3-0, Jarrett 3-3-0, Watson 4-1-1, Meeks 1-3-0, Watkins 2-1-0, Wright 1-2-0, Goodman 1-2-1, Robinson 1-2-0, Brewer 1-2-0, Anthony 0-2-0, Davis 1-0-0, Benton 1-0-0, Blanks 1-0-0, Peters 1-0-0, Smith 1-0-0, Steward 0-1-0, Townsend 0-1-0, Williams 0-1-0, Breeland 0-1-0, Totals 40-52-2.
Greetings from Clemson, where we’re about 2 1/2 hours away from the Hokies and Tigers. The line has been bet down to Clemson by 7.5.
The Tigers are averaging 41 points per game, while the Hokies are giving up 22 a game. Clemson wideout DeAndre Hopkins has logged four 100-yard receiving games.
Clemson’s defense is ranked 97th in the country, allowing 445.50 yards per game, including more than 200 rushing a contest.
The usual today: Thoughts after each of the first three quarters, plus a wrap-up post after the game.
Kickoff is noon. Drop by and share your thoughts.