LIVE: Tech looks for win over Virginia, new life in ACC

On the video board: An ACC trophy and Orange Bowl promotion. Hey, why not dream?

On the video board: An ACC trophy and Orange Bowl promotion. Hey, why not dream?

Hello from Bobby Dodd Stadium. Can anybody explain what’s going on in Pittsburgh?

As I took a seat in the press box to read some game notes — yes, I actually do research, although I try to cap it at seven minutes — Pittsburgh was capitalizing on the third Virginia Tech turnover to take a 21-0 lead over the Hokies. This is the same Virginia Tech team that beat Georgia Tech in overtime in an ACC opener two weeks ago.

If you’re the Yellow Jackets, there’s two ways to look at this. There’s the depressing side: “We lost to a team that’s losing to Pitt … by three touchdowns?” And there’s the bright side: “They might lose! We’re alive!”

That game is far from over — actually, it’s 21-3 as I reach the second paragraph — but the game should be taken as a positive sign for a Tech. The loss in Blacksburg wasn’t a season-defining setback, despite the defensive collapse in the final 44 seconds of regulation and Tevin Washington’s game-deciding interception in overtime. It just makes today’s game against Virginia that much more important.

The Jackets can’t afford to lose this one, especially with Miami and Clemson following as the next two conference opponents. Lose to Virginia and suddenly visions of the Independence Bowl may be dancing in their heads. But win and anything it still possible.

(Halftime scoring update: Pittsburgh 21, Virginia Tech 3.)

Here are a few obvious keys today:

• Tech’s run defense has to be better than in last year’s meeting between the teams, when Virginia rushed for 272 yards in a 24-21 win. It had to be particularly humiliating for defensive coordinator Al Groh, who was making his first return to Charlottesville since being fired as head coach. But the Jackets appear more comfortable in Groh’s 3-4 defense now.

When asked if this game could illustrate that the defense had turned the corner, Groh told our Ken Sugiura: “I don’t think it’ll be the final chapter, but it certainly has the possibilities of being a significant chapter in that direction.”

• Virginia might as well have had three weeks to get ready for the Tech game last season. It had a soft non-conference game against Idaho followed by a bye week before the teams met. But the Cavaliers have no such advantage today, and they’re coming off a narrow 17-16 win over Penn State. In theory, that should given an edge to Paul Johnson’s offense over Virginia’s defense. Opposing defenses tend to perform better when they have extra time to prepare for the triple option.

• There’s a pretty good chance we’ll see redshirt freshman quarterback Vad Lee take some snaps behind starter Tevin Washington. Johnson isn’t disclosing much. He called Lee’s role “situational.” But after Lee threw an 82-yard touchdown pass to Jeff Greene and ran for 79 yards on a quarterback draw against Presbyterian, it’s safe to assume there are more “situations” now than before that favor Lee coming in.

OK, that’s it for now. What are your thoughts on Tech today and moving forward in the ACC?

The cyber venting lines are open.

(Scoring update: Pittsburgh 21, Virginia Tech 10. Oops.)

By Jeff Schultz

345 comments Add your comment

GtFan86

September 15th, 2012
2:14 pm

Hope to see Lee today! And hope to see the D stuff the run! Guys should be hungry for revenge! Go Jackets!!

True Gold

September 15th, 2012
2:31 pm

60-0 Tech! Hey, let a guy dream :)

Jaxjacket

September 15th, 2012
2:32 pm

Why couldn’t VT pull its annual early in the season stinker against someone in the conference?

faultline

September 15th, 2012
2:39 pm

Oh No, data mining from Pittsburgh now suggest Tech optimism will fade today. Panthers have almost as many yards in first half as Jackets did in entire game. V T only score on a punt return. Panthers lost badly to the youngin’s of Youngstowns State. Welcome to ACC, see, it’s really easy here. Model of current data now predicts Tech 6 – 6 season.

Steve

September 15th, 2012
2:44 pm

Faultline, that sounds about right for Tech. We all know Tech can for sure expect the annual loss to UGA. Over/Under on attendance today is 30,000. How that high school stadium is not full for each home game, I will never understand. There were even empty seats against UGA last year and that’s after 10,000 of the fans there were for UGA.

jackette

September 15th, 2012
2:47 pm

what’s the latest on Orwin and David Sims? God, we need them to be good to go in this one

GT Fan

September 15th, 2012
2:48 pm

GT needs a W today. IMO the Coastal is lost for the Jackets with an L today! A W keeps the Coastal crown VERY attainable, b/c VT will lose 2-4 ACC games this season, and finish 3rd or worse in the Coastal.

Just be the best team (on the scoreboard) in BDS today, then get ready for their next opponent.

UGA Grad

September 15th, 2012
2:51 pm

What an ugly stadium GT has. They lose today. Big.

GSUStud

September 15th, 2012
2:53 pm

A very poor Pittsburgh team is beating a very poor Va Tech team that beat a very poor Ga Tech team. Virginia should win this game today.

UGA Grad

September 15th, 2012
2:55 pm

It’s gonna get UGLY in Athens for the Nerds! 40-14. Our defense will shut them down once again, and Murray will pick apart their secondary with ease AGAIN. Make it 11 out of 12 years this season Nerds! Or is it 12 out of 13? I forget. We OWN YOU! Live with it!

faultline

September 15th, 2012
3:00 pm

Can’t get my bookie to answer phone in Vegas. It is too late to put a K on Virginia and 10

Ken

September 15th, 2012
3:00 pm

LOL vt getting killed by a crap 0-2 pitt team. Shows how bad gt is. Uva will win again. And dumb gt fans will still think PJ is the answer with his boring high school offense.

Hunter

September 15th, 2012
3:02 pm

Jax
Because vt stinks. Just as ur team does. Enjoy another typical gt game. 20-17 loss to the cavs. What happened to the offense? oh that’s right. Paul Johnson recruits! LMAO

Cavs

September 15th, 2012
3:03 pm

Uva 27 gt 10

UGA Grad

September 15th, 2012
3:07 pm

GT actually thinks they have a good team. They beat Presbyterian 59-3 and now they’re the kings of the ACC? Give me a break. I’ll be watching the GT vs. Virginia game and posting here. If GT does good and does win, I’ll give them props, but I doubt it. :) Go Dawgs!

Steve

September 15th, 2012
3:09 pm

Even if Tech does win, the will have won against a team who beat Richmond and a terrible Penn State team. I’d like to see Tech win against a quality team. Losses coming up against Miami, Clemson, NC, and UGA.

TheBabe

September 15th, 2012
3:11 pm

How pathetic is Tech’s schedule? Presbyterian is losing 55-0 to VANDERBILT!!!

JustinSyder

September 15th, 2012
3:14 pm

I forgot that the dawgs have a true grudge match against the mighty owls tonight. Should be a good one.

collegeballfan

September 15th, 2012
3:14 pm

The game, as all games under Johnson’s offense, comes down to the ability of the GT offensive line to block the UVA defense. Look back over the loses by GT under Johnson, the GT OL did not block the defense.

And this year’s OL is basically the same line that did not block well against the better teams on the schedule last season.

Note: If UGA grad is a UGA grad, he is an embarrassment to UGA as he is ignorant of the basic fact that Nerds control planet earth.

Ths

September 15th, 2012
3:14 pm

Techs schedy is pathetic but so is ugas.

Steve

September 15th, 2012
3:19 pm

UGA’s schedule is pathetic? Tennessee, ranked. Florida, ranked. SC, ranked. SEC Championship game opponent, ranked. Plus at Missouri and the bees in Athens. Wouldn’t call that pathetic.

What's pathetic

September 15th, 2012
3:21 pm

UL Monroe possibly beating two sec teams that started the year ranked.

Dave

September 15th, 2012
3:22 pm

Hey Jeff

Does the press box seem different without Bisher there?

Dave

JustinSyder

September 15th, 2012
3:22 pm

I’m sorry, but what have Tennessee, Florida, and USC done to make them known as sturdy? Didn’t USC almost lose to Vandy? I promise you that either Tennessee or Florida will not finish in the top 25. USC will not finish in the top 10, I can assure you.

Jeff Schultz

September 15th, 2012
3:23 pm

Dave — Every sports event seems different without Bisher there, mostly the Masters.

Ths

September 15th, 2012
3:23 pm

Oh so a ranked team means a team is good. Look at vt. Tenn and Fla will both drop out once they play the sec west. And one will drop out after this week. IDIOTS ABOUND!!

Jeff Schultz

September 15th, 2012
3:24 pm

Virginia should be taking the field soon. Wearing orange socks, as part of plan to make everybody nauseous.

Steve

September 15th, 2012
3:24 pm

Latest strength of schedule ranking per Jeff Sagarin of USA Today. UGA – 73, Tech – 145.

Ol'Jacketfan

September 15th, 2012
3:24 pm

I guess we’ll just have to see how the season plays out, don’t worry trolls you’ll have all season to whine and yap LOL!

JustinSyder

September 15th, 2012
3:25 pm

It’s only a matter of time until we hear SEC fans claiming that UL Monroe is the next Boise State. In reality they beat an overrated SEC team and are scaring a bad SEC team to death.

JustinSyder

September 15th, 2012
3:27 pm

Steve, I’m sorry, but you’re making UGA trolls look worse than they already are. Please be a good boy and hush now.

Steve

September 15th, 2012
3:29 pm

Nope, just go by the facts little Justin. Don’t take your anger a jealousy out on me. Not my fault your school is irrelevant and average. Sad that Tech fans are happy with and accept 8-9 wins a year and annual bowl losses and losses to UGA.

Jeff Schultz

September 15th, 2012
3:30 pm

Final: Pitt 35, Virginia Tech only 17.

Ths

September 15th, 2012
3:32 pm

How can you be 145 when there are only like 112 teams?
Lying idiot. sagarrins system is flawed anyway

Fair n Balanced

September 15th, 2012
3:33 pm

College football is hard to figure. In the ACC…..FSU is the team this year! They should vault to number 3 this week!

Ol'Jacketfan

September 15th, 2012
3:35 pm

Nice 3 and out, goos start D

UGA Grad

September 15th, 2012
3:36 pm

Well at least as a UGA fan, I won’t have to hear trash talk from Auburn again.

Steve

September 15th, 2012
3:36 pm

Yup, THS, total lie by me. http://www.usatoday.com/sports/sagarin/fbt12.htm
Who is the idiot now??? All football teams are included which is more than 112.

Ol'Jacketfan

September 15th, 2012
3:36 pm

good rather lol

Jeff Schultz

September 15th, 2012
3:36 pm

Ol'Jacketfan

September 15th, 2012
3:36 pm

TD Jackets!!!!!

Jeff Schultz

September 15th, 2012
3:37 pm

Johnson calls pass on first play. Nobody on UVA covers Laskey . Easy TD. 7-0 (assumes kick).

faultline

September 15th, 2012
3:38 pm

ESPNU channel went OOS here in California on Cox. Maybe that ’s a good thing ? How about that powerful Vandi offense

Ths

September 15th, 2012
3:38 pm

Yep that sec sure is tough. La Munroe will tell you. LOLOLOL

Ol'Jacketfan

September 15th, 2012
3:38 pm

Did someone say Laskey was slow last week?

Jefferson Davis Hogg

September 15th, 2012
3:39 pm

Things lookin good all over today!….Also, ULM Auburn tied at 28 with a minute left!…LOL

Steve

September 15th, 2012
3:40 pm

Presbyterian THS? What a moron. I am sorry you don’t understand college football. You see, all major programs play 1-2 cupcakes a year.

Paul in NH

September 15th, 2012
3:41 pm

That was quick

Jawja"T"Bill

September 15th, 2012
3:41 pm

Way to set the tone Jackets!!! BBbbzzzzzzzzzzzz!

Ths

September 15th, 2012
3:41 pm

Let’s see how the d does. good start for tech