October 9, 2021 was like a roller coaster ride in college football and the Fighting Irish were right in there with all the exhilarating curves and climbs and devastating sudden drops that the best amusement park ride can offer.
Lane Stadium in Blacksburg was throbbing with excitement as the Hokies took the field to Metallica’s Enter Sandman. The crowd seemed to pulsate with excitement as the Virginia Tech defense denied the Jack Coan led Irish offense again and again. The Hokies took the early lead and they could see the definite possibility of an upset. Brian Kelly pulled Coan and to the surprise of many Irish fans put in Freshman QB, Tyler Buchner. Buchner’s electrifying plays quickly quieted the Blacksburg crowd and an all-out battle on the field between the two teams ensued.
Credit has to be given to Virginia Tech’s QB, Braxton Burmeister who battled through a painful shoulder injury to keep the Hokies in the game. While Tyler Buchner gives the Irish a double threat with his quick feet, it’s also obvious that his lack of experience shows in his passing game. A pick-six by Jermaine Waller put the Hokies right back in the game, but fortunately, Bo Bauer was able to intercept the two-point conversion pass to keep the Irish close.
When Tyler Buchner tweaked his ankle in the 4th quarter, the entire Irish Nation held its breath as previously benched Jack Coan trotted back out onto the field. Coan then proceeded to show the fans the experience and poise he possesses that made Coach Kelly choose him to be the starter in the first place. The Irish marched steadily down the field and Coan ended the drive with a touchdown pass to Avery Davis followed by a spectacular catch by Kevin Austin for two points that tied the score at 29-29! The Hokies failed to convert on their next possession as the clock ticked down and overtime seemed likely, but then ENTER JONATHAN DOERER! With “laser” focus and ice in his veins, Doerer kicked the winning field goal and the Irish came away with their 5th victory of the season.
A well-deserved bye week follows this hard-fought battle, and then the Irish will take on our arch-rival Southern Cal on Saturday, October 23, 2021 at 7:30 PM on NBC. Rest up everyone because it should be another South Bend Classic against the Trojans.