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Frank Beamer is so well-known for his special teams acumen that a word was invented just for him to describe the way his players make things happen in that facet of the game (Beamerball). However, as good as the Virginia Tech Hokies' special teams are most of the time, they once again let Beamer down in a big game.
The examples are numerous. In the 2000 Sugar Bowl (Virginia Tech's only national championship game appearance), the Hokies outgained Florida State but were undone by a blocked punt returned for a touchdown and punt return touchdown from the Seminoles. Last year against the Boise State Broncos, they had another punt blocked.
Against the Alabama Crimson Tide in 2009, they lost fumbles on a punt and a kickoff. Against the No. 2 Matt Ryan-led Boston College Eagles in 2007, the Hokies lost because they failed to recover an onside kick by Boston College.
And in their last Sugar Bowl appearance in 2005, the Hokies lost to the Auburn Tigers by three thanks to a missed chip-shot field goal.
But last night was perhaps the worst game for Virginia Tech special teams in Beamer's career. The Hokies roughed the Michigan Wolverines punter, fumbled a kickoff, held three times on kickoffs/punts, botched a fake punt and missed an overtime field goal (though I'm not blaming Justin Myer for the loss. He performed admirably with the first four made field goals of his career).
In order to win one of these big games, the Hokies have got to stay out of their own way. And that starts with (ordinarily) their bread and butter, the special teams.