Hokie Fans Stunned By The Nebraska Finish

Justin CocchiolaCorrespondent ISeptember 22, 2009

1 Dec 2001:  A Virginia Tech Hokies fan celebrates during the NCAA game against the Miami Hurricanes at Lane Stadium in Blacksburg, Virginia.  Miami defeated Virginia Tech 26-24.  Mandatory Credit:  Criag Jones/Getty Images

Even after a couple of days to reflect on the game last Saturday, Virginia Tech fans, students, and on-lookers can't get over the finish.

"It's Virginia Tech," is the typical response from many people, "how did it even happen?"

Disbelief would be an appropriate adjective for everyone's reaction...and for good reason.  The Hokies' offensive performance against Nebraska was abysmal in between the first and last drives of the game, literally.

The Hokies came out of the gate fast and were set up by another great kick-off return by freshman Dyrell Roberts.  Tyrod Taylor converted three third downs through the air on the first drive, and Ryan Williams capped it off with his sixth rushing touchdown of the season.

After that first touchdown, the stands were electric. Nebraska fans, who were scattered about Lane Stadium, were stunned and it was loud.

From that point, until the 1:44 mark in the fourth quarter, the Hokies did next to nothing on offense but struggle.

Before the Hokies' last drive, fans began leaving the stadium.  There was under two minutes left, the Hokies had no sign of offensive life and the frustration had reached an all-time high.

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And then a safety severely misread a play and left sophomore wide receiver Danny Coale wide open to run 81 yards to the three-yard line.

Those fans that left were desperately trying to re-enter the stadium, but to no avail.

Hokie fans, at least in recent years, have been on the other side of that play (Boston College comes to mind).  Taylor, who struggled much of the day through the air, and seemed hesitant to run the ball, made a play with his arm.

Yes, the receiver was wide open, but for an offense that's struggling, anything can make a difference in terms of a confidence booster.

Many fans, including myself, thought Coale was in the end zone.  The replay that was shown on the Hokie Vision in Lane Stadium showed nothing that would have made us change our minds, and we were stunned to say the least.

Obviously, Coale went out of bounds, but the fans in the stands had no evidence of this revelation.

The mood went from pandemonium to absolute panic within 10 seconds.  The Hokies had struggled all day, and the only sign of life in the last 60 minutes had come on the previous play.

Boom.  Taylor is sacked for an eight-yard loss on the first play.  The Hokies had just gone from their own 16, into the end zone, out to the three, and now they're on the 11-yard line with under 30-seconds left.

After the incomplete pass, fans were getting restless.  However, the next play looked incredibly similar to a play that Matt Ryan made on the Virginia Tech defense in Lane Stadium, just under two years ago.

Taylor ran around, with a lot of time and protection, for a whopping nine seconds before finding Roberts in the end zone for six to go up by one with 20 seconds left.  Lane Stadium erupted, as the Hokies' offense had done the unthinkable.

To say people were losing their minds would be an understatement.  I think everyone in the stadium was embracing two or more people at once (I'll let your mind wander).

The Boston College loss that the Hokies suffered ended up being a wake up call for Virginia Tech in 2007.  They didn't lose again that year until they played in the Orange Bowl against Kansas.

With a Boston College-like comeback under their belt early in the season, Hokie fans are hoping that this can turn around their offensive production for the rest of the season.

With the return of "The U," the Hokies will have to play better on offense and defense.  The feeling of this rivalry is beginning to overtake the campus, but there's a lot of reason for concern because Miami is a formidable opponent, and the Hurricanes beat the Hokies last season when the Hokies seemed to have the better team.

With the improbable win over Nebraska, the Hokies still have a lot of work to do for Miami.  As for the fans, the game as a whole was forgettable, but the comeback will be in the forefront of their minds for years to come.

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