ESPNMiami vs. Virginia Tech was one bizarre football game. The ACC Coastal match-up featured a first quarter quarterback benching, compounding turnovers, a player barfing on the field right before a play, a massive comeback, the network cutting away from the game before it was over, and a successful hail mary. That last part got the ESPN broadcast duo of Mark Jones and Dusty Dvoracek some heat from Virginia Tech fans.Virginia Tech went up big on The U, after the Hurricanes managed to turn the ball over five times in their first six drives. Heading into the last play of the first half, Miami faced a 28-0 deficit, and looked pretty dump for all intents and purposes.Things started to turn around on the last play of the first half. N’Kosi Perry, who replaced Jarrett Williams after his disastrous start, let go a long Hail Mary, which was hauled in by Mark Pope for a touchdown to cut VT’s lead to 28-7.Miami pulls off the Hail Mary TD right before halftime 😱pic.twitter.com/Wq8dVEdI55— Sporting News (@sportingnews) October 5, 2019 The play clearly gave Miami a bit of life. After forcing a punt, Miami scored on its first drive of the second half, and wound up tying the game at 35 late in the game. They scored touchdowns on all but three drives in the second half to get back into the game.After coming back from a break, ESPN showed the booth reaction to the Hail Mary. Dvoracek was very fired up, and high-fived Jones after his call.Here they are high-fiving after the Miami Hail Mary TD earlier pic.twitter.com/l244OAiIEo— Cameron Overton (@coverton_) October 5, 2019Virginia Tech fans were very angry with the broadcast throughout the game, accusing the pair of Miami homerism. To Hokies, this Hail Mary, which seemed like it wouldn’t have a huge impact at the time, was the prime example.There were plenty of accusations of unprofessionalism being lobbed their way throughout the game.As someone with a journalism degree, if I went into a courtroom and high-fived my co-worker after a judge hands down a life sentence in a murder trial, I’d be fired.Not advocating he be fired, but they took a dump all over professionalism with that move.— Ryan Dye (@Ryan4VT) October 6, 2019That referee crew and Dusty Dvoracek should never work in this business again— Nick (@VTBox) October 5, [email protected] why are these two partisan hacks, Mark Jones & Dusty Dvoracek, doing this game? Caught on your broadcast twice highfiving after Mia score. Garbage!#VTvsMIA— Play Ball! (@boomerfan15) October 5, 2019What’s the deal with ESPN announcers Mark Jones and Dusty Dvoracek clapping in booth when Miami scored against VT – very classy ESPN #ESPN #collegegameday #Hokies— Sharon Conner (@sc2713) October 5, 2019After the game, Dvoracek took to Twitter to defend his excitement. He responded to an Awful Announcing article about various issues during the ESPN Miami-VT broadcast, saying it was his first time seeing a Hail Mary live, and he was excited.1st Hail Mary I’ve ever seen live in all my life being around football, let alone in a game Im calling.I get excited when I call a game.Especially when big plays happen.I’m not gonna apologize for that. Congrats to @HokiesFB on the win.The venom coming my way hurts and is trash https://t.co/HORfBFLlu8— Dusty Dvoracek (@DustyDvoracek) October 6, 2019That’s pretty understandable, honestly. Dvoracek is an Oklahoma alum, while Jones went to York University in his native Toronto. Neither is a ‘Cane, and if they were, plenty of broadcasters call their alma maters’ games without issue.To that point, both probably thought they were going to have to sit through a 48-7 slog. Calling a blowout can’t possibly be fun, so it seems reasonable that they were excited about the prospect of the game gaining some steam. As it turns out, they were right, as Miami had a chance to tie the game on its final play.The Hokies picked up a much needed 42-35 win, after a pretty huge collapse. That should be the bigger focus coming out of Blacksburg.
Mateo Kovacic has said he’s adjusting well to life under new Chelsea manager Frank Lampard, claiming he is enjoying more freedom playing in his system.The midfielder made a permanent switch from Real Madrid to Chelsea for £40 million (€45m/$51m) this summer after spending 2018-19 with the Blues on loan.The 25-year-old was in the lineup on Saturday at Norwich, replacing the injured N’Golo Kante as the Blues won 3-2 at Carrow Road to give Lampard his first win as Chelsea manager. Article continues below Editors’ Picks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? Ox-rated! Dream night in Genk for Liverpool ace after injury nightmare Messi a man for all Champions League seasons – but will this really be Barcelona’s? Are Chelsea this season’s Ajax? Super-subs Batshuayi & Pulisic show Blues can dare to dream Kovacic got the assist for Tammy Abraham’s winning goal, and the Croatia international says he has been given more freedom under Lampard than he had under Maurizio Sarri last season.”I am a Chelsea player now so I feel better about that,” Kovacic said. “Last year was only a loan. I feel better and more confident than last year. It makes me feel more relaxed as last year was difficult and I needed to prove myself.”Last year was also good, not perfect. This year I started well and I hope to continue like that. I am missing some part of my game and I can improve and get better, but I think it will come for sure.”Lampard gives me more freedom and I can take the ball and go forward. I feel good. I have a good connection with the coach and all the team. We can change positions. We are aggressive. We are doing well but it is only one month with the coach so we can improve.”Last season was also a good connection with the coach. It was also a good year last year. The connection is good [with Lampard]. The fans love him and so do the players. He is young and he understands us. We have a good connection with the coach.”I feel better and more confident than last year. It is really important [that we got the result] because I think we started very well, in terms of playing. The results were not perfect but we played well. Today, we needed the three points more than a beautiful game. We did well and we won. Everything was perfect.”The Blues spine was solid against Norwich and they kept possession better than in any of their previous games to fend off criticism that they fade in the second half.Lampard’s high-energy press to win back the ball is becoming a mark of the latest Chelsea side and young players are leading the way. Tammy Abraham scored the winner against the Canaries in the second half and Kovacic has echoed Lampard’s belief that the 21-year-old is capable of being a Chelsea player for years to come.”I think he knows where he needs to go,” Kovacic said of Abraham. “As a striker, sometimes he needs to go long and sometimes he needs to come short. So he already knows what to do. I can’t teach him much because I am not a striker or a great goalscorer.“I think Tammy is doing well and he will improve this year for sure. It comes naturally. Tammy is a great player with great movements. He is still young and he can improve a lot. I think the whole team is doing quite well in these first games.”Of course [I can see it meant a lot]. Every game is important; every goal is important. I think, in particular, it was important that today he scored. He will now be more confident and for sure he will score more goals this season.”We have a good connection and I think we can only get better from now on.” Check out Goal’s Premier League 2019-20 fantasy football podcast for game tips, debate and rivalries.