Blacksburg, VA —
Going out in style on Senior Day, Virginia Tech quarterback Bryan Randall threw two touchdown passes to Josh Hyman in a
near-perfect second half, bringing the Hokies storming from behind to defeat the Virginia Cavaliers 24-10. Down 7-0 in
the third quarter, the Hokies outscored UVa 24-3 the rest of the way for the win, clinching at least a share of the ACC
title and setting up an ACC championship matchup with Miami in the Orange Bowl next weekend.
Randall hit 16-of-22 passes for 200 yards, 2 TDs, and no interceptions, including 10-of-12 in the second half for 141
yards and both scores. The yardage total moves him into first place on the Tech career passing yardage list with 6,061
yards, pushing him past Don Strock (6,009 yards) and Will Furrer (5,915).
But more important than the yardage total was Randall's cool head under fire and his performance down the stretch.
With Virginia leading 7-3 late in the third quarter, Randall lobbed a perfect 45-yard touchdown strike to Hyman to pull
the Hokies ahead 10-7. Then after a VT defensive goal line stand limited the Cavaliers to a field goal, Randall hit
Hyman for another touchdown, this one a 32-yarder that broke a 10-10 tie and put VT up for good at 17-10 with 9:52 to
Fully in control at that point, the Hokies tacked on an insurance touchdown on a 37-yard run up the middle by Cedric
Humes, who was subbing for the injured Mike Imoh. Imoh's strained hamstring, which made him questionable for the game,
held up for almost the entire first half. He rushed for 22 yards on 7 carries but was slightly gimpy, and he gave way to
Humes, who rushed for 85 of his 95 yards after the break. Hyman was the star at the receiver position with 4 catches for
93 yards and 2 TDs.
Randall, Humes and Hyman awakened a Hokie offense that had slumbered throughout the first half. At half time, VT only
had 82 yards of total offense and had lost the battle of the line of scrimmage to a UVa team that had 155 yards rushing
and 170 yards of total offense in the first half alone.
But in the second half, Virginia Tech turned the tables. The Hokies outgained the Hoos 265-129 after the break, and
by the end of the game, the Hokies were pushing Virginia's defensive line around, and the Hokie defenders were
infiltrating a Cavalier offensive line that had given them fits early in the game. The change in momentum reached its
peak in the fourth quarter, when VT outscored UVa 14-3. Virginia gained just three first downs in the fourth quarter,
two of them coming from penalties, while the Hokies had nine of their 19 first downs. The game ended with the Hokies
taking a knee twice on the Cavaliers' 10-yard line as the clock wound down.
Defensively, the Hokies shut down UVa's stellar tight end, Heath Miller, holding him to just 2 catches for 35 yards.
Alvin Pearman had 147 yards on 28 carries, but 78 of that came on one play. The Hokies gave up 188 yards rushing to the
Hoos but held them to just 33 rushing yards in the second half as VT took control. UVa QB Marques Hagans, who entered
the game second in the ACC in passing efficiency, did little damage through the air, completing 8-of-14 passes for 111
yards and a touchdown, with no interceptions. The TD came on a 32-yard pass to Pearman in the third quarter that put the
Hoos up 7-0.
Linebacker Vince Hall led the Hokies with 10 tackles. Cornerback Jimmy Williams, who was beaten on the touchdown pass
to Pearman, otherwise had a solid game in coverage and run support, making 7 tackles. The Hokies had three sacks, one
each from Jim Davis, James Anderson, and Noland Burchette, who chased down Hagans and knocked the ball loose for one of
two UVa turnovers on the day.
The first half ended in a scoreless tie in which the only excitement was a blocked field goal attempt on UVa's first
possession and a 78-yard run by Pearman late in the first quarter that moved the ball from the shadow of UVa's goal post
to the Hokie 16-yard line. On the play, Pearman burst off-tackle right and raced down the sideline in front of the
Virginia Tech bench, where he was finally run down by Tech's Jimmy Williams on a touchdown-saving tackle reminiscent of
Torrian Gray's tackle of Tiki Barber in the 1996 Tech-UVa game. The Cavaliers advanced the ball to the Tech 4-yard line
but squandered that opportunity when Hagans and tailback Wali Lundy botched a handoff attempt, and Jonathan Lewis fell
on it for the Hokies.
That missed chance for the Cavaliers was their second of the quarter, the other coming on their first possession,
when they returned the opening kickoff 54 yards to the Hokie 46, moved the ball down to Tech's 27-yard line, and then
had a Connor Hughes field goal blocked by Jim Davis. The block was the third this year for Davis, who has all but one of
VT's four blocked kicks on the season.
After the Hokies fought off those two Virginia scoring chances in the first quarter, the two teams traded punts in a
second quarter that was characterized by offensive futility. Neither team could put two first downs together in the
second quarter, and the half ended 0-0.
At that point, it was a question of which team would make the first mistake, and in the third quarter, it was the
Hokies. Eddie Royal fumbled a punt in Tech territory, and the Hoos recovered on the Hokie 31-yard line. Though UVa
failed to get a first down, they struck gold when Hagans rolled right and launched one into the end zone, where Pearman
outleaped Williams for the touchdown to put Virginia up 7-0.
The UVa TD snapped the Hokies out of it, and VT proceeded to score on their next four possessions. First they put
together an 8-play, 66-yard drive that ended in a 31-yard field goal by Brandon Pace. After a three-and-out and a
27-yard punt by Chris Gould gave the Hokies the ball back at Virginia's 45-yard line, Randall and Hyman hooked up on the
first play for a 45-yarder that put the Hokies up 10-7.
That was the score going into the fourth quarter, as the Wahoos mounted their last offensive threat. Taking
possession on their 20-yard line with 5:41 left in the third, Virginia took off on a monster 17-play, 78-yard drive that
picked up 7 first downs and consumed 7 minutes, 38 seconds.
As impressive as the drive was, it ended with a game-turning goal line stand by the Hokies. From the Tech 4-yard
line, UVa ran a crossing pattern to Fontel Mines, and VT's Eric Green was whistled for pass interference on the play.
The Hokies were also called for unsportsmanlike conduct on the play, giving UVa a first and goal from the one.
On successive plays, the Hokies (1) threw Pearman for a loss of 1 on first down on a tackle by Noland Burchette; (2)
forced an incompletion on a pass to Deyon Williams; and (3) forced Hagans out of bounds at the 2-yard line on a rollout
to the right.
Virginia kicked the field goal to tie the game at 10-10 with 13:03 to go, but from that point on, it was all Hokies.
VT turned the screws by marching 80 yards in just 7 plays, mixing the run and the pass. Randall hit Jeff King for a
12-yard gain that made Randall the VT career passing leader, and on the next play, Randall threw a ball up in the air
from the UVa 32-yard line and let Hyman go get it. Hyman snared the ball over UVa cornerback Tony Franklin, who seemed
unaware the pass was in the air. As Franklin flailed and fell to the turf, Hyman took the ball the last few yards into
the end zone for a 17-10 Hokie lead.
UVa went three and out, and the Hokies responded with the drive that put the game away, going 58 yards in six plays.
The capper came on a 37-yard run up the middle by Humes, who took the handoff up the middle, changed direction into an
empty spot, then burst untouched up the middle of the UVa defense for the score. It was 24-10 with 5:08 to go, and the
Wahoos were done. On a 3rd and 1 for UVa, Noland Burchette tracked down Hagans from behind and knocked the ball loose.
VT recovered on the UVa 39-yard line and ran the last 4:39 off the clock, driving down to the Cavalier 10-yard line and
taking a knee twice to end the game.
The win by the Hokies moves them to 9-2 overall, 6-1 in the ACC, and sets up the most ironic of situations: next
Saturday, December 4th, the two newcomers to the league, VT and Miami, will square off in a game that will determine the
league champion. If the Hokies win, they win the league outright at 7-1 and go to a BCS bowl, likely the Sugar Bowl
against an SEC team. If Miami wins, it sets up a three-way 6-2 tie between Miami, the Hokies, and Florida State. The
tiebreaker in that case would be BCS ranking (because VT didn't play FSU, head-to-head can't be used to break the tie),
and Miami (currently #9 in the BCS) would win out over the Hokies (#14) and FSU (#18). If the Hokies don't go to the
BCS, their most likely destination is the Peach Bowl.