Everything was coming up East Carolina early, when the Pirates jumped out to a 21-0 lead in the first quarter. Shane Carden threw three touchdown passes for ECU, and they looked primed to step on Virginia Tech's neck. Then a funny thing happened:
Back-to-back possessions after Michael Brewer interceptions resulted in zero points for ECU, and the Virginia Tech defense adjusted and clamped down. What once looked like a boat race became a slow, slogging march, and the Hokies hung around. Tech got on the board right before halftime on a wonderful touchdown catch (that probably wasn't a catch) by Isaiah Ford, and was finally able to pull even with less than two minutes remaining in the game on an 18-yard touchdown pass to Cam Phillips.
It wouldn't be enough, though. ECU used the remaining 1:20 and moved down the field quickly before Carden scored on a QB keeper with 16 seconds left to break Virginia Tech's heart.
GIF credit: ESPN
Three things we learned
1. Virginia Tech is a weird, confusing mess. The same team that knocked out Ohio State last week is the one that fell behind early at home and then lost it late against East Carolina. The Hokie offense is disjointed and inefficient, and the defense can't pull the entire weight. They could still be a force in the ACC, but what you'll get on a weekly basis from this team is really anyone's guess. They left their fans feeling like this a lot today:
2. East Carolina could very well win the AAC. The Pirates were predicted to finish fourth in the conference by the AAC media this summer, but they look just as likely to win the conference as anyone else. Ruffin McNeil has assembled one of the best passing offenses in the country, and there may not be a team in their conference that can slow them down.
3. The pursuit of knowledge is futile. Last week, Virginia Tech went to Columbus and punched Ohio State square in the teeth. One week later, East Carolina does the same thing to them in Blacksburg before having to score late to hold on. None of us have any idea what is going to happen in college football, and to say otherwise is a bald-faced lie. This is why this sport is so much fun.