To the credit of the kids in the Hokie locker room, what they saw wasn’t how far they had fallen, but how far they could still go.
“After the game the seniors did a good job of motivating everybody, just trying to talk to them and let them know that we have to turn things around and said don’t hold your head up by the last two games, and we still had goals to reach which, was the ACC championship, and that we needed to start working with that – with coming out and beating ECU, and we did that, and got to Boston College and had a big win and just tried to keep the energy flowing and just the positive vibe going in the locker room,” said senior quarterback Tyrod Taylor, who has #12 Tech on a 10-game winning streak since the Sept. 11 loss to JMU entering Saturday’s ACC Championship Game matchup with #20 Florida State.
Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer had said back at the ACC Football Kickoff in July that the 2010 Hokies group was one that he really enjoyed being around, that win or lose he knew that his players would be back at it the next Monday with a focus on what they’d need to do to get a win the next game out. That feeling was put to the test following the loss to JMU.
“I’m not sure we ever got off track,” Beamer said. “We just had two tough losses within a week. Played on Monday, played on Saturday, and got beat. But I think we’ve got good kids. I think we had good leadership. I think there’s a strong caring within our program, coaches for players, players for coaches. If you got that, I think then you’ve got a chance to come back from two tough losses like that.”
It wasn’t an easy road back, to say the least. ECU, the Week 3 opponent, led Tech in the third quarter before the Hokies stormed back to win by a 49-27 final tally. Then in Week 5 Tech had to rally from a 17-0 deficit at N.C. State to post a win that wasn’t secure until the final minute.
The N.C. State win seemed to unleash the national power that we had expected Virginia Tech to be back in the summer. The only hiccup from that point on was a narrow 28-21 win over Georgia Tech on Nov. 4 that featured another double-digit comeback that was, like the State win, not secured until the final minute. Convincing wins over Coastal Division contenders North Carolina and Miami followed, and the Hokies ended the regular season with a routine 37-7 beatdown of in-state rival Virginia as a tuneup to the conference title game.
The winning streak has taken on a life of its own, to the point that it’s almost hard to figure that it’s the same program that seemed to be reeling after the improbable loss to JMU, which for its part struggled following the historic upset and didn’t even make the I-AA playoffs.
The seeds of the return to the title tilt were planted the Monday after that loss.
“I’ve said this a couple different times, but we practiced the same way Monday before Boise State, when we were all hyped up and ready to go, and we practiced the same way Monday after James Madison as we did the Monday of Boise. We went about our business, had good tempo. We were ready – I think everybody was ready to get back on the winning way and cracked what was wrong. We weren’t trying to find blame or pin something on anybody. We just wanted to correct what was going wrong and get it right and try to get some wins,” Beamer said.
Story by Chris Graham. Chris can be reached at [email protected].