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  • Writer's pictureBlake Holzgrafe

OCTOBER 9, 2021: Notre Dame Fighting Irish v. Virginia Tech Hokies

Updated: Nov 5, 2022

Irish Fans it is time to

Put your right foot in,

Put your foot out,

Put your right foot in and

You shake it all about . . .

OCTOBER 9, 2021

Lane Stadium

Blacksburg, Va.

Notre Dame Fighting Irish


Virginia Tech Hokies

OMG! Not two weeks in a row! Argh, Argh, Argh yes! Last week our lay-out editor misunderstood the direction to secure a cover photo of the “Queen” City of Cincinnati and instead gave us a photo of Queen. This week, with a short deadline we directed him not to be “pokey” in selecting an appropriate Virginia Tech Hokie picture. So, what do we get? A picture making us “turn ourselves about” in bewilderment. Yes, a picture of “The Hokey Pokey”. Please read on because “that’s not what it’s all about” .

Remember the pre-season when the Irish were undefeated and looking at some tough games against some tough competion like the North Carolina Tar Heels? Well, those Tar Heels “lane” an egg at Lane Stadium and started 0-1. And, after the Irish topped the Seminoles in overtime with much praise for the vastly improved Florida State squad, that team proceeded to wins over the Jacksonville State Gamecocks (NOT), the Wake Forest Demon Deacons (NOT), and the Louisville Cardinals (NOT). Talk about “egg-laying”, Florida State would have been been beet red in embarrassment had they not come across the color Orange.

Are you excited about the looming Irish-Hokie game? Well, if not, you may have another opportunity to get excited as CBS Sports currently projects there will be a rematch in the Peach Bowl. Unfortunately that may be your only chance to watch these two teams matchup against each other live unless you have (i) a Lane Stadium ticket , (ii) access to the ACC Network, or (iii) access to some streaming service.

The burning question for Irish fans is who will take the first snap of the game at Quarterback? Many Irish fans wonder why Pyne was on the pine until the second half against Cincinnati. Our crack investigative team got the answer and we are now revealing on an exclusive basis. Here it is. Kelly and Rees had decided to flip a coin to see which Quarterback would start each series against the Bearcats. And it was “Heads”-Coan goes. “Tails”- Buchner goes. “On the Edge”-Pyne goes.

Now, back to that burning question. It really takes a two-part analysis. The first part of the answer is easy as unless Chris Tyree “takes it to the house” on the opening kick-off, the first snap will be by Jarrett Patterson to the Notre Dame Quarterback who we will temporarily call “Who da Man”. The officials should just do away with the coin flip formalities for Irish games because if Notre Dame wins the flip, they take the ball, and if the opponent wins the flip, the opponent defers. As to the second part of the answer, the “Who da Man” part, we will follow last week’s process and select the starting Quarterback by the flip of a coin. “Heads”-Pyne goes. “Tails”-Pyne goes. “On the Edge”-better make room on the ledge for it will get crowded.

What can the Irish expect from the Hokies? Let’s first focus on the Hokie Defense. The leader of the Hokie Defense is a Hamilton, not unlike the Irish’s Kyle. The Hokie’s Hamilton is “Justin” who is in his second season as the Defensive Co-ordinator. Things have improved this season as the 2020 version surrendered 32.1 points per game while the current version is much more successful with a 15.3 points per game average.

Based on current statistics, one might anticipate Notre Dame’s scoring will have to depend on “big plays” as the Hokie Defense has only allowed 7 trips by their opponents into the “Red Zone”, a mark topped only by the Georgia Bulldogs, probably the best defense in college football. Couple that with the Irish entering the “Red Zone” only 11 times, and it may well seem the field is just 60 yards long (or short) based on your 20/20, 20 to the 20 vision perspective. From this writer’s perspective, multiple “Red Zone” visits might take the heat off the Irish offensive line, perhaps allowing the typical “feverish” Notre Dame fan’s crimson visage to be a more natural, less intense hue. Wait! If it were so easy that crimson visages would render CrimsonTide-like results, then I say let those neck veins pop getting that blood to explode in those scarlet, flushed faces.

Whether 60 yards long or short, that distance may be just outside Jonathan Doerer’s field goal range. By the way, did you know that his missed PAT against Cincinnati was just the second in his Notre Dame career? The first miss was his very first attempt, so after his first made attempt which was his second, he could say he had converted 50% of his attempts. Then before his second miss he could have said he had converted 99.21% of his attempts. Unfortunately, after his second miss he could say he had converted only 98.44% of his attempts.

Jonathan’s streak came to an end last week. As did the Irish streak of consecutive wins at home. Some streaks thankfully come to an end (like these)

They even sell streaker gear!!

(Bless me Father for I am about to sin right now. They even sell that gear at ________(well you know even if I don’t write it).

For my penance I will say three Hail Mary’s. I just hope the Irish don’t need a “Hail Mary” to steal a win from a loss against Virginia Tech, no matter how hokey that may sound.

Well, I do not want to jinx the Irish but they have another streak going that just might be in jeopardy. Thay have won 35 consecutive games against unranked teams. Virginia Tech is unranked. Ugh!! And a 2.5 point favorite.

I guess what Irish fans want is the streak Alabama now enjoys of 19 consecutive wins!! And that is against all opponents, both ranked and unranked!

Back to the game. (I might add, before doing so, that a streaker’s back to the camera is preferred to a frontal assault, for sure.) Back? Back? Back? Yes, Linebacker!

Start with one time Irish target Dax Hollifield (#4). The Junior is the leading tackler for the Hokie’s with 30 tackles, 4.5 for a loss and 3.0 sacks. Up front look for Garbutt (#45) (now that would be a great name for a streaking fish) and Barno (#11) to be the the most productive bookends, whilst at the back Jermaine Waller (#2) has three interceptions and 22 tackles, with Charmarri Conner (#1) forcing two fumbles plus making one interception, being something of a “1-2 punch”.

On the flip side, the offensive line is MASSIVE averaging 316.5 pounds and topped by red-shirt Sophomore, 322 lb. left tackle, Luke Tenuta whose uniform (#69) mirrors his height at 6’9’’. Luke is one of Jon Tenuta’s sons. Jon became a Senior Defense Analyst for Virginia Tech in February of 2021. Irish fans may recall Jon as the Defensive Co-ordinator for 2 years at Notre Dame in 2008 and 2009. He arrived with much fanfare and left with much fanfare.

The Quarterback is 6’1” Braxton Burmiester. No Burgermeister he be, but we do not want his performance against the Irish to leave Irish faithful in need of a Braumeister. (For the perplexed, Burgermeister was a short-lived beer in the early 1960’s and Braumeister is German for a master brewer.) Braxton was a 4-star high school Quarterback and began his college career as an Oregon Duck where he played parts of two seasons.

In its last two games against an FCS foe in the Richmond Spiders and a Power 5 foe in the West Virginia Mountaineers, the Hokies have accumulated just 106 rushing yards in each game. Not very good, especially when one compares it to the Irish rushing offense . . . . . (I don’t think I should go there!!) In any event, the primary runners are Raheem Blackshear (#5) and Jalen Holston (#0), which is where the Irish faithful wanted their team to be going into Blacksburg. (5-0).

Tre Turner (#11) and Tayvion Robinson (#9) are Braxton’s leading targest with 16 receptions and one TD and 14 receptions and 2 TDs so far.

So how will the Irish prevail against what Offensive Co-ordinator Brad Cornelsen has brewing for Burmeister? We have one wiser bud in Marcus Freeman who will be coaching a Stout defense. Eschewing an Old Style approach, Freeman will employ Blue Ribbon tactics seeking to hold the Hokies not only to zero points but also to zero yards which would sure be one for the Guiness record book. In this game, Kyle Hamilton will not be the Lone Star on defense. The Irish front, while certainly Lite compared to the Hokie O-front, will be Stella(r) as they Foster Freeman’s forces.

So at the end of the day, the Irish defense will have been Ultra-good and when paired with the Irish Rolling the Rock on offense will provide win #5, just one short a a six pack. And there will be no Ale-ing to those crimson- and scarlet-visaged Irish fans who can relax to their more natural Pale. So how about a Yuengling or Leinenkugel?[1]

So there you have the Hokie report. This will be Chris Tyree’s first game in his home state as a member of the Fighting Irish. He was present in 2018 when the then #6 Irish took down the then #24 Virginia Tech Holies 45-23. You must recall Dexter Williams three rushing TDs including a 97-yard run from scrimmage.

Dexter on the run!!!

Chris on the run!!!

Before our well-reasoned and thoroughly supported and analyzed prediction is made, our readers might wonder, what the heck is a “Hokie”? It is apparently a purely made-up word that describes a loyal Virgiaia Tech fan. Might that have been created to replace the former team nickname of the “Gobblers”? That would not be a bad guess. After all, who would want to be known as a bunch of turkeys? Not a Hokie!!

So here come the Irish . . . and

the prediction

Notre Dame 31

Va Tech 17


Here are your Irish Trivia Questions for this week.

The Irish colors are Blue & Gold. There have been occasions when the “lads”, as Coach Frank Leahy referred to his players, were adorned in green uniforms. Can you pick which of these games was the first time the Irish wore Green:

1921 v. Iowa at Iowa City, Iowa

1942 v. Georgia Tech at Notre Dame Stadium

1963 v. Syracuse in Yankee Stadium

1977 v. USC at Notre Dame Stadium

Only one player has won the Heisman Trophy while playing for a team with a losing record. The record was 2-8. Can you name the player? (Okay, that is a gimme!!) Can you name the player who was the Heisman runner-up that year? And, for a real tester, can you name the player who finished 5th that year but who many consider should have won it that year? That player, who won 10 varsity letters in college, was recognized as the best college football player of all time in ESPN’s list of the top 150 players of all time recognizing College Football’s 150th year. For more of a challenge can you name the four sports in which he lettered?

Here is the answer to your Irish Trivia Question from last week.

When Brian Kelly left the Cincinnati Bearcats to beome the head coach of the Fighting Irish, a Cincinnati Assistant Coach served as the Head Coach for the Cincinnati Orange Bowl game. Can you name him? Jeff Quinn

And, our hearts forever . . .

I I tried and tried to work these brews into this tome without success. But, had this been 2014 and had the Irish opponents included Moravian College, you would have read about Greyhound linebacker “Kugel kept in line”. Where else can you get this stuff!!

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