Sunday, October 04, 2009
Wright wronged, Duke misses out on upset bid
Saturday afternoon I took my daughter to her first Duke football game. Sunday morning she woke up screaming with a fever of 103. Have I officially subjected her to a life of physical and emotional anguish? Apparently so…
- I was a little confused about the spread. We were 17-point underdogs, but against a much-lower-ranked Kansas team, we were 24-point underdogs. Is the mystique of Wallace Wade worth a touchdown? I guess so.
- Actually, I left the game feeling okay. I never thought I’d say this about a Duke game, but there were simply too many field goals. We hung tough with a top-10 team, and while there were certainly some missed opportunities, I don’t feel like we shot ourselves in the foot and missed a golden opportunity. But Vince Oghobaase disagrees with me. “We don't celebrate moral victories here. We didn't get it done as a ballclub. We got to get better."
- Recognizing that the future of Duke kicking (my daughter) was in attendance, Will Snyderwine had the game of his life, booting FGs of 29, 25, 47, 43. Unfortunately, this wasn’t enough. In the second half, Duke had three drives stall inside the 30, including one at the seven.
- Duke’s first TD was a beauty; a 48-yard play-action pass to a wide open Brandon King. Duke ran the playaction really well all game (the best I've seen), especially impressive considering their running game was pretty much no threat (38 yards).
- That said, I still really like Desmond Scott. He had seven rushes for 34 yards and moved with the ball really well. The Desmond Scott era might be a good one.
- The Hokies’ seven first half penalties helped the cause.
- The key play of the game came with VaTech up 10-7 with six minutes left in the half. On first down from Duke’s 28, the Hokie QB dared challenge Leon Wright. Wright seemed to have the interception, but as he and the receiver came down, it was ripped out of his hands. It was ruled a TD, but by my very biased eyes, I would say maybe an INT, maybe a completion out of bounds, but I don’t see a touchdown. The play was reviewed, and unfortunately upheld. Coach Cut called a timeout after the review and before the extra point just to yell at the officials as Duke players and fans gestured at Joe Alleva’s $1 million screen. Later, Cut had this to say: "I wanted to argue just for the sake of arguing. I wasn't happy, but it's just part of the game. It doesn't come down to those kind of things in a ballgame very often. You just make the plays you've got to make and move forward." And kudos to the Herald Sun photographer who took the above image from the game's key play.
- Another interesting Cut case happened in the third. Tech had the ball on the 40 (after our second kickoff out of bounds), then a series of penalties pushed them back. Ultimately, Cut had to choose between 4th and nine on the 41 or 3rd and 34 from the 16. He took the penalty, Tech connected on a long pass, and they end up kicking a field goal. I (nervously) agreed with Cut’s decision at the time, but it turned out to be an important moment.
- In the fourth quarter, there was a highly entertaining stretch of about three minutes. A brawl broke out one section over from me as two guys came to blows and began wrestling around. It took a solid two minutes for a yellow-shirted security guy to finally arrive, and an additional two more before the cops came. They were probably too busy making sure Big Daddy didn’t sneak into the good seats. But as that fight ended, an errant Thad Lewis pass conked a photographer in the head. A busy few plays!
- Defensively, in the fourth quarter we simply could not stop the run. They were just bigger and stronger, and although everyone in the stadium knew what was coming, they ran right over us on two long, clock-killing drives. This was especially frustrating because throughout the game, Duke, and Oghobaase in particular, did a great job stuffing the run.
- Interesting relatively irrelevant turn of events in the end. The Hokies ran a pick back to go up three scores, then the call was overturned, so Duke continued its drive and cut the margin to eight with 25 seconds left. Alas, the onside kick could not be recovered and the upset bid was lost.
- Frank Beamer said they played "the new Duke football team, not the old Duke football team." I just liked that he stole our “Old Duke,” “New Duke” theme. Who knew that he visited DudeSpin? I just hope he wasn’t able to exploit weaknesses he learned from the blog.
- A long wait for my next game, but I’m excited to know that when the Terps come to town I’ll be flanked by the dudes, wearing matching t-shirts, in perhaps our all-time gayest moment (and that’s saying something!) This year fans were allowed to buy spots in the Cameron lot for tailgating, and Duke provided them all with a tent and a name sign. I hope we visit them all, including Cutcliffeville, Cut’s Cookers, Crazy Towel Guy’s Tent, and my favorite, Oghobaaseville.