Thomas Torches Miami, Tech Wins 38-35 in Dramatic Finish

, TechSideline.com, on October 8, 2011
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Logan Thomas led Virginia Tech on a dramatic game-winning drive in the final three minutes as the Hokies edged Miami 38-35 on Saturday evening in Blacksburg. Tech moved to 5-1 overall and 1-1 in the ACC with the win. The Hurricanes are now 2-3 after three very close losses. At 0-2 in the ACC, they are effectively finished in the Coastal Division race.

After a tough game against Clemson last week, Logan Thomas was nearly perfect against Miami. He was 23-of-25 through the air, passing for 310 yards and three touchdowns. He also ran for two touchdowns, including the game-winning 19 yard run on fourth and one with 56 seconds remaining in the game.

Thomas threw a three yard touchdown pass to David Wilson, and also torched the Hurricane secondary on deep touchdown passes to Danny Coale and Jarrett Boykin. He hit Coale on a 40 yard touchdown on the first play of the second quarter, and hit Boykin in stride on 60 yard bomb in the fourth quarter.

Boykin, who appears to be healthy for the first time since early September, finished with seven catches for 120 yards and a touchdown. Coale had five receptions for 91 yards and a touchdown. David Wilson was also a favorite target of Thomas, with four catches for 25 yards and a score. Tech even managed to get tight end Chris Drager involved. The senior pulled down two big receptions for 36 yards.

The offensive coaching staff rolled Logan Thomas out more in this game, which led to some big plays down the field, including the touchdown pass to Boykin. The read option was also a major part of the gameplan, and David Wilson finished with 23 carries for 127 yards.

Thomas was almost perfect through the air. His only incompletions were a drop by David Wilson, and an incomplete shovel type pass to Wilson following a botched shotgun snap. In fact, the performance of Logan Thomas against Miami has to go down as one of the best quarterbacking performances in Tech history.

The Hokies needed every bit of it, because the defense is starting to run out of players. Tech lost Antoine Hopkins in the Clemson game, and things got worse against Miami. Starting defensive end James Gayle and starting whip linebacker Jeron Gouveia-Winslow went down early in the first quarter with injuries. They were replaced by the undersized Tyrel Wilson (6-1, 219) and defensive end and Alonzo Tweedy (6-2, 189) at whip. Corey Marshall (6-1, 253) got the start at defensive tackle in place of the injured Hopkins, so the Tech defensive front was extremely undersized against the biggest, most physical offensive line they’ll see this season.

The Hokies hung in there, but by the fourth quarter they were gassed. Tech even had to play Courtney Prince at defensive tackle. Prince was Tech’s #2 left guard last week.

Thanks to their lack of size and depth up front, Tech was worn out late in the game. Miami scored three touchdowns in the fourth quarter, mostly from big plays in the running game. Lamar Miller, who finished with 18 carries for 166 yards, scored on a 30 yard run with 2:51 remaining in the game, and that was Miami’s first lead of the contest. It set up the late heroics by Logan Thomas.

Thomas was 3-of-3 for 31 yards on that final drive, and David Wilson also had a key 18 yard run to help set the Hokies up deep in Miami territory. Tech called a timeout on fourth and one, and elected to go with the read option for the third straight play. It worked beautifully, with Logan Thomas running 19 yards untouched up the middle for the winning touchdown.

For the game, the Tech offense put up 482 yards, while Miami gained 519, much of which came in the fourth quarter against the undermanned and undersized Tech defense.

The Hokies will enjoy the win this weekend, and hope to get some defensive players healthy for next week’s big game at Wake Forest. The Demon Deacons are 4-1 overall, and 3-0 in the ACC after beating Florida State 35-30 on Saturday afternoon. Kickoff is scheduled for 6:30pm, and the game will be an internet-only broadcast on ESPN3.

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