Blue and Gold Illustrated

Oct. 8, 2018*

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

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Page 37 of 55

38 OCT. 8, 2018 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED BY LOU SOMOGYI UPSETTING DAYS There are different tiers that con- stitute an "upset" in college football. There are the minor ones, where a one- to seven-point favorite gets toppled, but they don't really move the needle much nationally. Such an example occurred Sept. 3 when No. 20 Virginia Tech and No. 19 Florida State were deemed relatively equal, but because the game was at FSU the Seminoles were 7.5-point favorites. Virginia Tech's resounding 24-3 victory prompted some confusion on whether the Hokies were that good or if the Seminoles were vastly overrated. Then there are major upsets, where a double-digits underdog, even by as much as two or three touchdowns, pulls off a "shock the world" stunner. And then there is a different strata, a la 0-3 Old Dominion — losers to Liberty, Florida International and Charlotte — as a 28.5-point under- dog racking up 632 total yards in a 49-35 victory Sept. 22 versus the Vir- ginia Tech outfit that displayed so much promise at Florida State a few weeks before. A year earlier, Virginia Tech had defeated Old Dominion 38-0. It was a head scratcher of epic proportions, yet another example of how "the given day" can strike at any time. Notre Dame experienced it to a de- gree when after defeating a much- ballyhooed Michigan team in the opener it stumbled along before defeating 34.5-point underdog Ball State the next week by a mere 24-16 count. Motivation as an underdog is easy, but dealing with success can some- times be more exacting. "I told them, 'I liked you guys a lot better when everybody told you, you were terrible," Virginia Tech head coach Justin Fuente commented on what his message was to his troops after the Old Dominion debacle. "When everybody told you, you didn't have any chance in that first game, all you did was work your tails off.' "And then we get all feeling good about ourselves, and we got brought back down to earth. We got what we deserved." Virginia Tech had taken a 28-21 lead over the Monarchs late in the third quarter before the wheels — along with the fenders and steering wheel — came unhinged. It was another blow to a season that has seen major setbacks, includ- ing both its offense and defense get- ting exposed after some game-chang- ing attrition: • The cornerback slots already lost its incumbents from 2017, and then this summer it saw Adonis Alexan- der declared ineligible and junior college transfer Jeremey Webb get derailed by an Achilles injury. • Question marks already were abundant on defense despite the presence of venerated coordinator Bud Foster, who has been at Virginia Tech since 1987 and the coordinator since 1995. Among the seven starters lost there were linebacker Tremaine Edmunds and safety Terrell Edmunds — the first pair of brothers to be selected in the first round of the NFL Draft in the same year. The line also lost stand- out tackle Tim Settle, although Ricky Walker could be among the best the Irish face in 2018. Then the day after the loss to Old Dominion, Virginia Tech standout defensive end Trevon Hill, who led the team in sacks with 3.5 through three games, was dismissed from the team for "not upholding the high standards we have for our student- athletes," per Fuente. • Most devastating of all, redshirt sophomore starting quarterback Josh Jackson suffered a broken left fibula during the fourth quarter in the loss to the Monarchs and had to be replaced by backup Ryan Willis, who did lead a 75-yard touchdown drive that tied the score at 35 before Old Dominion tallied the final two touchdowns. GAME PREVIEW: VIRGINIA TECH Top STorylineS The Hokies lost more than a game when they fell 49-35 to heavy underdog Old Dominion Sept. 22. Redshirt sophomore starting quarterback Josh Jackson suffered a broken left fibula during the fourth quarter of the stunning defeat. PHOTO BY DAVE KNACHEL/VIRGINIA TECH ATHLETICS

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