Hokies Outlast Jackets, Win 20-17 in OT

Chris Coleman, TechSideline.com, on September 4, 2012
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Virginia Tech had some not-so-good moments on the offensive side of the ball, but they managed to rally and make plays late to beat Georgia Tech 20-17 in overtime on Monday night.  The Hokies are now 1-0 overall, and 1-0 in the ACC.  They are a game up on the Yellow Jackets in the loss column in the Coastal Division, and they also control the head-to-head tiebreaker.

The VT offense began four drives with great field position: on their own 44 yard line or better.  They came away with just seven points on those four drives, continuously missing opportunities to put Georgia Tech away.  However, they came away with critical plays down the stretch both to retake the lead in the fourth quarter, and to tie the game with a last second field goal.

Logan Thomas was 21-of-38 for 230 yards, with 2 touchdowns and no interceptions.  He also 40 yards rushing.  However, Thomas was off for much of the game, sailing a few passes over the receivers, and in general the passing game was just not in sync until the fourth quarter.

His favorite target was Corey Fuller, who caught five passes for 82 yards, including two huge catches on Virginia Tech’s game tying drive in the fourth quarter.  Marcus Davis had six catches for 82 yards, but in general it was Fuller who came through with the big catches when the Hokies needed them the most.

Michael Holmes had 13 carries for 54 yards, while J.C. Coleman added four carries for 25 yards.  Both of those freshmen backs ran the ball well.  The Hokies were held to just 96 yards on the ground, though that’s deceiving.  Freshman punter A.J. Hughes mishandled a snap that led to a loss of 22 yards.  Other than that, Hughes had a good debut game, averaging 36.2 yards per punt.  Georgia Tech had just one punt return for one yard, so while Hughes didn’t boom them, he did an outstanding job on the whole.

His one mistake was the dropped snap, which led to a Georgia Tech touchdown after a short 24 yard drive.  The Virginia Tech defense, other than a 72 yard for a touchdown in the fourth quarter, played an outstanding football game.  Georgia Tech was limited to only 288 yards of total offense, and the Yellow Jacket rushing attack was held to just 3.5 yards per carry.

The Hokies held Paul Johnson’s Georgia Tech offense under 200 yards rushing for the first time. (Yes, there’s a Yellow Jacket ball carrier in there.)

Virginia Tech had a lot of great defensive performances, and we’ll go over them in more detail in tomorrow’s day after breakdown.  For now, we’ll just go over the guys who put up good numbers statistically…

Jack Tyler: 17 tackles, 1 TFL
Jeron Gouveia-Winslow: 11 tackles
Derrick Hopkins: 11 tackles, 1 TFL, 0.5 sacks

Those guys were VT’s top three tacklers, though there were a number of other players who deserve credit, and we’ll get to them in the more detailed breakdown tomorrow.  For now, we can be satisfied with the fact that the Hokies held one of the toughest offenses to defend in the entire country to just 288 yards.  It was a great effort by Bud Foster’s defense.

It was almost a wasted effort by that defense, however.  Cody Journell missed a 38 yard field goal, and the VT offense didn’t do much to inspire confidence for most of the game.  However, when they needed to make a play, they did.

Trailing 10-7, Logan Thomas hooked up with r-freshman Demitri Knowles on a 42 yard touchdown to take the lead with 7:46 remaining.  Knowles burned Georgia Tech’s top cornerback, Rod Sweeting, on the play.

After Georgia Tech took a 17-14 lead, the Hokies got the ball back with just 44 seconds remaining.  Logan Thomas calmly moved the offense down the field, hooking up with Corey Fuller on two big passes.  None were bigger than Fuller’s 23 yard gain on fourth and 4 from the GT 47, setting up a 41 yard field goal from Cody Journell as the regulation clock ran out.  Journell’s kick tied the game, sending it to overtime.

On Georgia Tech’s overtime possession, pressure from the VT defense (specifically Bruce Taylor) forced quarterback Tevin Washington to throw one up for grabs in the front corner of the endzone while scrambling to his left.  The ball was under-thrown as Bruce Taylor nailed Washington, and it was picked off by Kyle Fuller.

Two carries by Michael Holmes for 24 yards advanced the ball to the Georgia Tech one, and though none of the three successive sneak attempts by Logan Thomas got across the goalline, Cody Journell’s 18 yard field goal attempt split the uprights, giving the Hokies the hard fought win.

It was a physical football game on both sides of the ball, and the Hokies will have a light week of practice while preparing for Austin Peay.  That game will take place this Saturday at 1:30pm, and it will be shown online by ESPN3.

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