Virginia Tech Football: Hokies in Must-Win Situation Against East Carolina

Justin CocchiolaCorrespondent ISeptember 15, 2010

LANDOVER, MD - SEPTEMBER 06:  Virginia Tech Hokies players line up against the Boise State Broncos at FedExField on September 6, 2010 in Landover, Maryland.  (Photo by Geoff Burke/Getty Images)
Geoff Burke/Getty Images

The last program to fall from grace as quick as Virginia Tech has in 2010 is Michigan back in 2007.  What do these two schools have in common?  They are the only ranked teams to ever lose to an FCS (Former Division-II) opponent in the history of college football.

That's not a stat you want to see in your school's record book, but it is what it is.  If anything, the Hokies proved they're weak mentally.  If anyone gave Virginia Tech the excuse of playing a short week, you must be delusional.

There was a two day difference.  Okay, not as long as a week.  However, they were playing James Madison University.  The Hokies should have beat that team in their sleep, and instead it looked like they slept through the game, coaching staff included.

Now, the Hokies are faced with a must win situation against East Carolina.  Don't sleep on this Pirates team, because they are very good.  Dominique Davis is their star quarterback and he came to ECU from Boston College.

Davis actually played against the Hokies in the 2008 ACC Championship game.  The Hokies won, and went on to win the Orange Bowl, but that means nothing come Saturday.

What does mean something is ECU has a top 20 offense.  That's going to be bad news for a Virginia Tech defense who ranks near the bottom in college football.

However, it's not just this young defense that's struggling.  The offensive line has been an absolute embarrassment, and the Hokies offensive line looked like the weaker, smaller, and had slower athletes against JMU. 

The big boys upfront got dominated consistently against the Dukes, and it's just not excusable.  These are supposed to be some of the best athletes in college football, playing at one of the top programs in college football.  It's time to start to acting like it.

Ruffin McNeil will look to get his biggest win as head coach.  At least that's what it would look like on paper.  Virginia Tech has almost a Notre Dame like feel right now.  People that don't like Virginia Tech love to see them struggle, so when they're down everyone tries to get their punches in on them, much like the Fighting Irish over the last few years.

That being said, the Hokies season is still salvageable.  Luckily for the Hokies, the ACC has turned out to be an absolute joke this season.  Anyone in the ACC could win the conference right now, and the teams that play hard every week have the best chance.  Virginia Tech is no where near that description so far.

Tyrod Taylor, Ryan Williams, and Darren Evans' success depend a lot on the offensive line.  However, Taylor and Evans had a couple of awful turnovers in the game.  Evans obviously fumbled late in the red zone, and Taylor lost the ball early in the game and threw an awful interception.

Taylor has also struggled to lead his receivers with his passes.  This happened on a pass to Jarrett Boykin in the endzone on a 4th down and one attempt against JMU.  Taylor just under threw the ball and it was an easy play for the defender.

These are all mistakes that shouldn't be happening.  When are these guys going to wake up and start playing like a team that was supposed to compete for a national title?  The Hokies looked awful at home last week, and they have a tougher opponent to host this week.

If the Hokies play even half as bad against ECU as they did last week they will get blown off their own field.  This game is a must win situation for two reasons—

1. If the Hokies don't win, the alumni and fans are going to start calling for coaching changes to be made immediately.

2. A team that was expected to play for a national championship can't start 0-3, can they?  Especially when two of the opponents faced in the first three weeks were supposed to be weaker out of conference opponents.


If the Hokies lose, the ACC continues it's free fall from bad to awful and if they win, well, they were supposed to.  Expect this game to be close throughout, and the offensive line will prove key for Virginia Tech.

If the offensive line struggles Virginia Tech is going to lose, again.