Stream of Consciousness - 2008 Orange Bowl
Kansas CB Aqib Talib
Kansas CB Aqib Talib
Posted Jan 3, 2008

Kansas pulled off the upset over Virginia Tech in a weird, fun game with a big play from Aqib Talib and the Jayhawk defense, a punt return for a score by Virginia Tech, and a lot of second guessing for both sides. Check out Pete Fiutak's quirky, self-serving thoughts and musings on the 2008 Orange Bowl.

By Pete Fiutak
Welcome again to my pretentious, goofy and self-serving stream-of-consciousness thoughts and notes on the big games, the broadcasts, the ads and the teams for the attention deficit disordered. E-mail me with your own thoughts and notes and what you'd like to see. 


- I've spent the last few weeks telling anyone who'd listen that this game was going to be really, really good. I was right that the first three BCS games would totally and completely suck, although the Fiesta was a blowout in a far different way than I ever imagined, and was actually entertaining, and now I'm hoping Virginia Tech and Kansas each show up and play up to their capabilities.

- Virginia Tech is the number one team in the country, at least according to the BCS Computers and the CFN Season Rankings Formula at the end of the season. This really is a strong team, while Kansas is going to play much, much better than it did in the first half against Missouri in what turned out to be the Big 12 North championship game. These are two terrifically coached teams that should play sharp.

- Somewhere, Missouri is watching this saying (in the voice of Tom Hanks at the end of Saving Private Ryan), "Earn this."

- Somewhere, a Big 12 bigwig is praying KU saves the league's bacon after the Oklahoma fiasco.

- Yeah, like I'm going to make a crack about Mark Mangino's weight after I checked in this morning at nine pounds over my regular playing weight. As I've learned in 2008, you have to crank out more than just three workouts to get in shape.

- You just know Jeanne Zelasko is all grouchy with the Miami humidity wreaking havoc on her hair. The Anistonian straight look was not an option.

- With this appearance, over the last five years, has the Kansas program officially accomplished more than the basketball program?

- Introducing the Michael Vick drinking game. The over-under on how many times he's mentioned is 1.5. Every time the name Vick is mentioned, you have to shotgun a beer, get in a pit with whomever's watching the game with you, and fight to the death. 

First Quarter
Virginia Tech on the Kansas 43
- Just when I was about to make a crack about the Virginia Tech special teams not being nearly as great as the hype, Eddie Royal tears off a 57-yard kickoff return.
- With Branden Ore out for the first quarter, VT should try pushing the ball deep a little bit. Just get KU thinking early.
- Sean Glennon tests KU CB Aqib Talib early but overshoots his receiver.
- I don't agree with this. I know the two-QB thing has worked well for Tech. but Glennon just threw a perfect third down strike for a first down. It was the type of throw he wasn't making earlier in the year, and then he comes out for Tyrod Taylor. Don't mess with what's working.
- Two plays, for Taylor, two sacks. KU has this sniffed out. Send everyone at Taylor, confuse the hell out of him, and make him make the right decisions. He'll be a great one, but he's not going to read this KU defense like Glennon will.
- Third and long and in comes Glennon to clean up the mess. VT just coached its way out of a sure scoring drive.

Kansas on its own 20
- Let's see how aggressive VT is early. Part of me thinks KU is begging for the Hokies to bring the house so Todd Reesing can get the ball out of his hands quickly on slants with room for his targets to move.
- However, if Tech isn't generating pressure from the front four, Reesing is going to go ballistic.
- Uh oh Hokies, KU is coming out sharp.
- Bob Stoops, June Jones, take notes on how you call plays to get the ball out of your quarterbacks hands in a hurry. Tech is getting a push, but the quick timing patterns are so fast and so crisp that Reesing isn't getting touched.
- Yeah, that's not going to work. If KU wants to run the ball, line up and run it. That little delay handoff is going to get blown up reel good (as the Farm Report would say) with these Tech linebackers.
- Yeah, that's not going to work either. Throw out any option play calls, too.
- Yeah, that's not going to work either. Reesing had no one within ten yards of him, started taking off, and got swarmed on in a nanosecond. However, it's fourth and short and KU is going for it.
- Offsides Tech D. First down.
- The term "energy" get misused way too often. It applies when talking about 18-to-22-year-old kids playing in bowl games. KU seems to have energy.
- While Reesing is hot, he's not going to get time to hit his second and third options. He'll have to make his decision at the line and go with it. There's nothing wrong with throwing it away; he can't take a sack like he just did.
- I love this gameplan. On third and 11, Mangino has a designed roll out away from the Hokie pass rush, Reesing has Marcus Henry open in the end zone, and the two didn't connect.
- Scott Webb 44-yard field goal .... missed.

Virginia Tech on its own 27

- VT is trying to get in KU's head. It runs with Glennon in, and throws with Taylor in. That'll only work for so long. I'd like to see Tech line up and just go with its fastball and run the offense. Tech can win this game without getting cute, while Kansas probably has to come up with a quirky play or two.
- The Hokies keep going against type with Taylor throwing it. I'm not sure I like this, but he threw a nice strike for a first down. If you're going to keep switching quarterbacks, go with what they do well.
Did the VT coaching staff get the memo that Aqib Talib is really, really good? Why throw at him, and why let Taylor test an All-America playmaker? Taylor stares at his receiver like he's a hot chick with three boobs, Talib jumps all over the pass, touchdown KU.
Unsportsmanlike conduct penalties after scores are such killers. The kickoff comes from the 15. Just give the ball to Tech at midfield and move on.
Kansas 7 ... Virginia Tech 0

Virginia Tech on its own 45
- Don't try to make a statement, Tech. Don't try to get it all back. Blow off the last play, run the offense, and use the good field position to get on the board.
- Keep Taylor out. Again, I like him, but in a game like this in a situation like this, go with the veteran early and get your teams' feet wet.
- The Tech coaching staff must have seen something in the film room over the last month because they're picking on Talib. Glennon throws a perfect deep ball to Josh Morgan, and it's dropped. Talib was drooling to jump all over a short pass, and he got burned.
- Glennon is on. He got the ball to Justin Harper on the move for a big first down. Stick with No. 7.
- Both Hokie quarterbacks have to move their heads. Glennon just stared down his receiver and the play was broken up.
- Jud Dunlevy comes up short on a 49-yard field goal, Talib takes it and tries to pull a Hester/Cromartie. Once again, it shows the KU coaching staff is on its game. It's outthinking the Tech staff early on.

Kansas on its own 39
- I'm not saying Kansas isn't talented, but again, I think it needs as many breaks as it can get. It has to take advantage of solid field position whenever it gets it.
- The Tech front four hasn't been hitting Reesing, but it's obviously a factor. Reesing threw while backing up off his back foot, and got nothing on it.
- Three and out. 
- Terrific punt by Brent Bowden.

Virginia Tech on its own 14
- Glennon has to be smarter than that. He has time, but he let the KU pass rush get to him.
- Tech probably wants to just get this first quarter over so Ore can come in.
- The pressure from the KU defensive front has been the story early on.

First Quarter Score: Kansas 7 ... Virginia Tech 0


- The passing game isn't clicking for the Hokies. Deep in their own territory, they should try to get its offensive line going and pound the ball.
- Oh Sean. He had time stepped into his throw, and pitched a perfect strike to KU CB Chris Harris. It wasn't even close. If he gets that much time, he has to do a better job of reading what's happening. Again, he's not remotely close to looking off his targets.

Kansas on the Virginia Tech 34

- The Jayhawks have to take advantage of this with a touchdown.
- Got to love Fox. On the bottom of the screen ticker with the Iowa caucus updates, guess which party was up first?
- The KU plays are sort of working now, but not really. However, the Tech defense isn't remotely close to controlling the game. Any sense of aura about the Hokie defensive front seven is completely gone at the moment.
- Direct snap to Brandon McAnderson. He's not Darren McFadden, and this still is the Virginia Tech defense. The play didn't work.
- Field goal KU.
- Kansas is controlling the tempo and the action with its offense. It hasn't found its way into the end zone yet, but it's 10-0 and it hasn't made the big mistake the Hokies did.
Kansas 10 ... Virginia Tech 0

Virginia Tech on its own 31
- Daryl Johnston basically echoed my thoughts. Virginia Tech continues to play against the strengths of its quarterbacks.
- Taylor has to start running. If he's not effective, he's not going to do anyone any good. Then again, if Glennon is throwing picks, the Hokies will be stuck.
- Third and two and Taylor is still in the game. Why make him a pocket passer? Get him rolling. Nothing is there, Taylor makes a good decision by not forcing it, and KU gets the ball back.
- Talib is the star of the game. He's the only one making things happen.

Kansas on its own 41
- It sort of seems like if Tech just hangs around right now, and KU continues to not take advantage of the field position, things could change in a hurry.
- The KU offensive line is more physical than the Hokie defensive front. The running game might not be cranking out big yards, but it's working.
- Just as I write that Xavier Adibi and Nekon Brown blow past the KU O line for a sack. Reesing never had a prayer.
- It'll be interesting to see which team gets more impatient. Tech is going to want to come up with the big defensive play and do something to change the momentum around, while KU will eventually want to hit the home run.
- That makes absolutely no sense. Virginia Tech showed blitz on third and 19, KU saw it coming from ten miles away, and Reesing dumped off a little pass to Jake Sharp who took it for 18.
- The fourth and one worked, but on the Tech 40, it was a strange gamble. With the lack of offense from the Hokies, why not pin it really, really deep?
- Of course, if you have a quarterback playing the way Reesing is, you let him roll. He makes the right read and the right throw for a first down, and then he avoids disaster by fielding a bad snap and throwing a strike to get inside the Tech 20.
- Barry Alvarez was so good last year. Is he even in the booth?
- Again, nothing big is working, and there are way too many third and longs, but KU is in total control by mixing up the play calls.
- Touchdown Kansas. Ressing makes yet another terrific decision, throws a perfect strike to Marcus Henry for a score, and now Tech is screwed.
- Oh yeah, I forgot. It's Virginia Tech in a big bowl game.
Kansas 17 ... Virginia Tech 0

Virginia Tech on its own 35
- Virginia Tech has shown absolutely nothing on either side of the ball to suggest it has a shot to come back from 17 down.
- So what can the Hokies do to get back in this? With just under seven minutes left in the half, just line up, blast the ball with Ore, and get the running game going. See if the O line can establish something.
- And there it is. The right side of the O line, Segio Render and Ed Wang (tee hee) are burying the KU defenders. There's no need to be pretty, just keep feeding Ore.
- Ore runs to the left, gets stopped. He runs to the right, behind Wang (tee hee), and he gets a big first down.
- I hate it when teams do this. Tech has just run the ball five straight times without getting stuffed cold. Ore is in a groove, and it tries a passing play. Until KU proves it can come up with the play, stick with what's working.
- VT realizes this, keeps running Ore on the right side, and he's getting three yards a crack. Third and three, just go to the right side again. It'll work.
- Render and Wang (tee hee) are KILLING Caleb Blakesley in the middle. The entire KU defensive front is sucking wind.
- Touchdown Tech. Terrific drive. The formula has been created, now the Tech defense has to play up to its talent.
Kansas 17 ... Virginia Tech 7

Kansas on its own 23
- With just under two minutes to play, does KU sit on it? I sort of think so. Up ten, deep in your own territory, don't make a big mistake and let the Hokie defense come up with a game-changing play. KU has owned almost all of the first half. It can't have asked for anything more than this after playing so well.
- Under a minute left and third and five, you tell Reesing to try for a big pass, but if it isn't there, put it in the fourth row. Don't force it.
- BIG throw by Ressing for a first down to Kerry Meier. Now you try for one more big pass to get into field goal range.
- Interesting respect given to the Hokie special teams. Now that KU is in field position to do some damage, it runs out the clock. Obviously Mangino wanted to avoid a possible punt block that would've completely screwed up the first half.

Second Quarter Score: Kansas 17 ... Virginia Tech 7


- Not sure who the Orange Bowl was targeting with ZZ Top as the halftime show, it was as timely as a where's the beef commercial, but it so worked.

- It's raining. Ahhhhh, a wet Jeanne Zelasko. I know, but it all works for me.

- Winning the Iowa Caucuses is as important as beating UL Monroe on September 1st.

Kansas on its own 24
- After the way Virginia Tech pounded the ball at the end of the first half, KU could use a good first drive.
- You've heard of quarterbacks trying to get a specific receiver into a game with a couple of easy throws, well that's what Kenny Albert is doing with Barry Alvarez. The former Badger head man isn't getting any yards after the catch.
- Kansas can't keep getting into third down situations in its own end, especially on long out patterns.
- Has Vince Hall done anything yet?
- It didn't work, but Reesing almost threw a gorgeous pass to Talib on third and 18. Tech's Cody Grimm made a tremendous play to break it up.
- Ohhhhhh, this was too pretty to be called back. Justin Harper took a reverse on the punt return 84 yards for a touchdown after weaving his way through several Jayhawks and breaking a few tackles.
- It's on Kansas. Touchdown. About that crack I was going to make about the Tech special teams being overrated, I'm going to sit in a corner right now and suck on my thumb for a few minutes.
Kansas 17 ... Virginia Tech 14

Kansas on its own 20
- Kansas has to remember that it's still winning. All the momentum is on Tech's side, but it can't panic.
- On the flip side, everything worked for the first 27 minutes for the Jayhawks and they weren't able to deliver the knockout punch. The offense has only come up with one decent drive.
- Reesing has to settle down. He's trying to make too many plays there aren't there.
- The Hokie defense is frothing at the mouth. The D line is jumping now.
- There's Vince Hall.
- Another KU punt, and Tech is going to sell the house to come up with the block.
- FANTASTIC punt by Kyle Tucker. Under pressure, the dude nails a 63 yarder to get out of trouble.

Virginia Tech on its own 24
- Why, Virginia Tech, why? In the first two plays, the Hokies try the deep ball with almost disastrous results on the second try. KU should've picked it off, bobbled it, and tight end Greg Boone took it off Eddie Royal's stomach. I know Tech is trying to capitalize on the momentum, but nothing's more demoralizing than getting pounded on, and Ore is unstoppable.
- The catch stands. This could turn out to be the signature play of the game if Tech wins.
- For some reason, after blasting away for several yards a crack on the right side, Tech is running to the left. It's like Tech is adjusting to counter KU's adjustment before it was made.
- Fourth and one on the seven and Tech is kicking the field goal?! I know you have the momentum, but Kansas isn't stopping the ground game and the defense is humming. Go for it, get the first down behind Render and and Wang (tee hee), and if you miss, let your D clean up the mess.
- And then there's that. Kansas blocks the kick, takes back all the mo, and Tech is still losing. Kansas is playing like it's trying to win. Virginia Tech is playing not to lose. I'll now put the cliché book back on the shelf.
- Frank Bearer on the sideline: "Ohhhhhh fudddddddddge." Bit he didn't say fudge. There's a bar of Lifebuoy waiting in the locker room for him.

Kansas on its own 20
Unfortunately, KU has to give its D a break and has to milk a little clock. It can't get into its up tempo offense.
- Reesing is playing with fire. He should've been picked off by D.J. Parker, and he's coming this close to giving up a big play.
- Now the Tech call to go for the field goal looks really, really bad. Trust your defense. KU wasn't going anywhere, anyway, and now the Tech drive is starting deep in its own territory.

Virginia Tech on its own 26
- I use productivity enhancers. It's a combination of the Starbucks light coffee in a can, a bowl of Reese's Peanut Butter Puffs, and Moby's Thousand.
- Alvarez is wrong. He quipped about how he's shocked Taylor isn't playing more because he gives Tech more in the running game, meanwhile Ore is tearing off five to ten yards a crack. With Taylor in, KU brings up the safeties and linebackers. With Glennon, there's at least a threat of a deep ball.
- O.K., I didn't understand why Tech was throwing deep before on its earlier drive, but now I get it. The plays aren't really working, but it's opening things up just a little bit. Again, just taking a shot or two forces KU to not sell out to stop Ore.
- Taylor has been a deathblow to the Tech offense. I don't mean to be ripping on him, but the two QB thing isn't working. I know he just ran for seven yards, but then Glennon comes back in and nothing happens. You go with what got you to the dance, but right now, Tech needs to make up its mind.

Kansas on its own 11
- Nice play. A little play action pass took advantage of the aggressive Tech linebackers, and KU gets out of big, big trouble.
- I'll ask ... does this really feel like the Orange Bowl?
- Dezmon Briscoe drops two passes in a row.
- The drive stalls. KU has completely given up on its running game. Brandon McAnderson has to get back in the game.
- Well, he gets in the game in a different way. On the fake punt, McAnderson makes the pass for an easy first down. Beamer looks like he's about to break something tasteful. He can't believe his guys didn't sniff that out.
- Reesing makes Tech pay with a perfect throw to Dexton Fields to get down to the one.
- Again, there's a time to get cute and a time to show you've got a pair. Run the ball behind Anthony Collins, power the ball in. Instead, McAnderson looks to throw it on a halfback option, it' not there, he gets stuffed, fumbles the ball, and KU gets flagged for a penalty. Now it's first and goal on the 19 ...
- ... and it's going to be even worse. Now there's a hold on Adrian Mayes to make it second and goal on the 30.
- And then Reesing really screws up. It's amazing it's taken this long to get picked after throwing it into a crowd time and again. He's floating the ball too much when he needs to be driving the ball. Big interception, Tech has everything going it's way again.

Virginia Tech on its own 7
- Again, it's interesting that Tech has no fear whatsoever of Talib.
- Branden Ore rips off yet another huge gain. If you're Tech, you just keep feeding him the rock until his legs fall off.

Third Quarter Score: Kansas 17 ... Virginia Tech 14


- Kansas isn't generating anywhere near the pressure it did over the first 35 minutes.
- Glennon is getting time to get comfy in the pocket, but he's not making anything happen.
- Again ... RUN THE FOOTBALL. Who cares if Ore get 45 carries? He can go sit on the beach and rest up for a few days.

Kansas on its own 34
- Kansas, you're still leading but you're screwing up. Just try to run McAnderson and power the ball a bit. Let Reesing have a drive off. See if it works.
- Instead, Reesing rolls out, sack.
- Reesing was dancing around, and Cody Grimm came shooting over like a guided missile to make a big-time pop. I'm shocked Reesing got up.
- This third and ten is so going to be a handoff to Jake Sharp. Reesing might not be all there.
- Reesing forces yet another throw, almost get picked off, and KU goes three and out again. The offense has to go back to what sort of worked earlier and go with quicker passes off the line, hope your receivers can make a play, and get things moving again. Instead, the offense is trying to make Reesing throw into double and triple coverage time and again. It's not working.
- Kyle Tucker might be the MVP of the game. He pinned a 58-yard punt deep in Tech territory. He has put it inside the Tech 20 three times.

Virginia Tech on its own 8
- Both teams are playing like they're waiting for the other one to screw up, and each one has been way close to doing it.
- As I write that, Glennon throws a lollipop across the field for an easy interception. Justin Thornton takes it down to the two.

Kansas on its own 2
- If Kansas does anything but run it four straight times up the gut I'm going to throw something expensive.
- Reesing takes it by himself and ducks in for the touchdown. Weird, weird game.
Kansas 24 ... Virginia Tech 14

Virginia Tech on its own 32
- Time is ticking and Tech is getting antsy, but it has to go back to what worked and pound Ore 15 times in a row over the right side. Glennon, at this point, isn't going to move the offense through the air, and KU will tee off if Taylor's in the game.
- There's still 10:50 left. That's an eternity. Tech can go on a ten play, six minute drive and be fine.
- Taylor's in the game. I guarantee you this is going to be an utter disaster. Even after the last throw, there's at least the threat of a deep completion with Glennon.
- I just don't get it. It's first and 15, you have the speed and quickness of Taylor in the game, and you're throwing?!
- You just know Alvarez is dying inside at the Tech offensive game plan. His team would've run the ball 67 times in a row.
- KU basically just said, "enough of this." "If you're going to keep throwing, we'll be happy to sack you."
- The Tech passing game isn't close to working. Outside of the miracle play by Boone, has anything worked? I know I'm a broken record, but Hokie fans have to be wondering what happened to the one drive that worked. What happened to running it?

Kansas on its own 29
- Up ten and with the Tech coaching staff screwing up, KU can't let the Hokie D come up with a big play to turn this thing back around. With the way Reesing has been throwing, don't give up anything easy. Feel free to run it three times, work off two minutes off the clock, and let Tucker put it on the seven.
- Oh gee, McAnderson tears off a 27-yard run against an overaggressive, overpursuing defense. Amazing how that works.
- KU just realized it has Anthony Collins. "Oh yeah, maybe we should run the ball behind one of the nation's best tackles."
- What kind of a bowl season would the Big 12 have had if OU didn't soil itself last night?
- Seven minutes. Overall, this is such a well-coached KU team. Everyone's staying in bounds ...
- ... as I write that, Jake Sharp goes out of bounds.
- Third and one and KU goes to a long, deep handoff to Sharp. That's not going to work against the Hokie defensive front. Why not pound McAnderson?
- Fourth and two on the Tech 22, kick the field goal. Make it 13 and force the stumbling Hokie offense to score two touchdowns.
- Again, Reesing lobs a pass he should've drilled. He's giving the Tech corners way too much time to make plays.

Virginia Tech on its own 22
- Now, if Tech goes on a three minute touchdown march and gets a stop, it'll have roughly a minute to get into field goal range to force overtime. Play like you believe in your defense; kick the field goal.
- Not even for a single, solitary second do I think Tech has any sort of a chance to come back and win this.
- Glennon makes something happen with his feet, his arm, and his decision making ability all in one play.
- KU is starting to bring it a little more, but Glennon should take one shot on a deep ball just to give it a shot.
- Glennon might have kept the game alive with a scramble out of trouble to get out of bounds.
- Third and six and Justin Harper drops the first down pass.
- Alvarez, "you've got to make that play." America, "No duh."
- Tech gets the fourth down conversion and keeps the game alive.
- There's still over four minutes to play. Again, go back to running the ball. Glennon, eventually, will put it in the hands of a Jayhawk.
- Talib almost makes it happen, but is just out of bounds.
- It's Sarah Jessica Parker ugly, but the drive is moving.
- FANTASTIC throw by Glennon. He sets up, drills it to Harper, who makes a great catch, and Tech scores.
- Hindsight might be 20/20, but I said both things at the time. Had Tech gone for it instead of going for the earlier field goal, which was blocked, it'd be leading. Had KU kicked the field goal, it'd be up six instead of three.
Kansas 24 ... Virginia Tech 21

Kansas on the Virginia Tech 42
- KU gets the onside kick.
- 2nd and 6 and Reesing throws a strike for a first down. It worked, but ...
- KU is down to the 22 with 2:42 to play, second and 2.
- McAnderson runs for the first down, game over. Tech has no time outs left.
- McAnderson down two the two. Just take a knee and get out.
- This was a weird game. The Hokie defense did its job, the special teams were solid, and the offense wasn't bad. The KU offense did just enough to get by, it got a big game from the punting game, outside of one big return, and it let Tech shoot itself in the foot.
- Magnificent job by Mangino and KU. Absolutely magnificent.
- Ha! Alvarez about giving the Gatorade bath to Mangino, "Mangino's not hard to find."

FINAL SCORE: Kansas 24 ... Virginia Tech 21