A Hokies’ Dozen: Virginia Tech 23, Virginia 20

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Frank Beamer celebrates with the Commonwealth Cup after the Hokies downed Virginia, 23-20.
Frank Beamer celebrates with the Commonwealth Cup after the Hokies downed Virginia, 23-20.

Charlottesville, VA — Virginia Tech fought back from a deficit three times and downed Virginia 23-20 in Frank Beamer’s final game against the Wahoos. The win was Tech’s 12th in a row over their in-state rival, and Beamer will retire having won 16 of his last 17 games against Virginia.

Joey Slye hit a 41-yard field goal with 1:38 left to break a 20-20 tie, and Chuck Clark picked off UVa quarterback Matt Johns three plays later to lock up the win. In the process of winning, the Hokies came back from deficits of 6-3, 13-6, and 20-13, and outscored the Cavaliers 17-7 in the fourth quarter.

The win came despite the Hokies being outplayed in a number of statistical categories:

  • Total Yards: UVa 433, VT 304
  • Rush yards: UVa 262, VT 67
  • Plays: UVa 78, VT 59
  • First downs: UVa 21, VT 12
  • Possession Time: UVa 34:37, VT 25:23
  • 3rd down conversions: UVa 8-18, VT 3-14
  • Sacks: UVa 3, VT 1

So why did the Hokies win? Because they made big plays in the passing game, took advantage of a failed punt fake by the Cavaliers, had just three penalties to UVa’s nine, and won the turnover battle 2-1. The Hokies also gave up just six points on two first-half drives by Virginia that consumed a total of 25 plays, 118 yards, and 12:56 of clock time.

Michael Brewer
Michael Brewer

Michael Brewer bounced back from a crushing shot to the ribs early in the second quarter to complete 15-of-29 passes for 237 yards, 2 touchdowns, and 1 interception. Brewer’s touchdown passes both came in the fourth quarter as the Hokies rallied from a 13-6 deficit to tie the game twice, at 13 and 20 points, setting up Slye’s game-winner.

Brewer’s second TD pass was a 32-yard toss to Isaiah Ford, who set a single-season Tech record with his tenth TD reception of the year. The record was a 22-year-old mark previously set by Antonio Freeman (1993) and matched by Andre Davis (1999).

Brewer’s other TD pass was a misdirection throwback to Sam Rogers, who scored easily from three yards out.

Defensively, the Hokies gave up 6.6 yards per carry to the Wahoos, including a season-high 58 yards rushing to quarterback Matt Johns, who had just 55 yards rushing on the season coming into the contest. UVa tailbacks Albert Reid (9 carries, 103 yards, 57-yard TD), Olamide Zaccheaus (10 carries, 50 yards), and Taquan Mizzell (11 carries, 26 yards) shredded the Hokies, but Johns was just 18-of-38 passing for 171 yards, 1 TD, and 2 INTs.

Game Recap

The Cavaliers outgained the Hokies 165-69 in the first half, but the game was knotted at six points at halftime. The Hokies couldn’t get any momentum offensively due to three sacks of Michael Brewer and a Virginia defensive line that dominated the Virginia Tech o-line. But the Hoos were unable to finish drives with touchdowns, and late in the half, they made a mistake that handed the Hokies a late field goal

Der’Woun Green returned the opening kickoff to the Hokie 41 yard line, and from there, Tech moved to the UVa 31-yard line on the strength of a 16-yard pass from Brewer to Bucky Hodges (3 catches, 31 yards). Joey Slye knocked in a 48-yard field goal from there to open the scoring.

Joey Slye
Joey Slye

Virginia responded by driving from their own 25 to the Hokies 24 in 14 plays, but settled for a 41-yard Ian Frye field goal due to a holding call.

The two teams traded punts into the second quarter, and Virginia went on another long drive, going from their own eight yard line to the Virginia Tech 25, where a 3rd and 3 run by Albert Reid was stuffed. The Cavaliers again settled for a Frye field goal, this one from 42 yards out, ending the 11-play drive.

The Cavalier defense continued to dominate the Hokie offense for the remainder of the quarter, but late in the second, Virginia faked a punt from their own 34 on 4th and 16. Virginia punter Nicholas Conte was run down from behind by Tech’s Tremaine Edmunds after 14 yards, and the Hokies took over on the UVa 48 with 2:09 left.

From there, the Hokies moved to the UVa 27 due primarily to a pass interference call on the Hoos’ Kelvin Rainey, and Slye nailed a 44-yard field goal to tie it at six with 57 seconds left in the half.

Second Half

Virginia Tech was fortunate to be tied with the Cavaliers going into the second half, and through most of the third quarter, VT’s offensive struggles continued. Tech didn’t break the 100-yard mark until there were about two and a half minutes left in the quarter.

Virginia had an opportunity to score with about five minutes left in the quarter, when Brewer was picked off by UVa’s Tim Harris at the Hokies’ 31 yard line. But the Tech defense held, giving up just three yards and forcing a 45-yard field goal by Frye that the kicker left short, and the Hokies had escaped.

Tech wasn’t so lucky later on, when Virginia’s Albert Reid burst through the left side of the Hokie defense and ran untouched for a 57-yard TD run that put the Cavaliers up 13-6 with 59 seconds left in the quarter. The run capped an 84-yard drive.

That play opened the floodgates for both teams offensively. On the Hokies’ next play from scrimmage, Brewer hit wide-open tight end Ryan Malleck down the middle. Malleck crashed into safety Quin Blanding, shook him off, and rumbled a total of 71 yards before being downed at the Cavalier five yard line.

Ryan Malleck
Ryan Malleck rumbles downfield with a 71-yard reception.

On the first play of the fourth quarter, on 2nd and goal from the Virginia three, the Hokies finally hit paydirt. Running from a two tight-end, two-fullback formation, Brewer faked a handoff left to Travon McMillian (18 rushes, 81 yards) left, then rolled right and lofted the ball to Sam Rogers, who turned and burst in for the tying touchdown.

The Cavaliers came right back, driving 90 yards in 12 plays to tie it up. Mixing the run and the pass, Virginia drove methodically down the field, going ahead 20-13 on a 27-yard pass to Canaan Severin over Greg Stroman. Severin’s catch was first ruled out of bounds, but after reviewing the play, officials correctly rewarded Severin with the TD, with 10:04 left.

Canaan Severin, Greg Stroman
Canaan Severin hauls in a TD pass on Greg Stroman.

The Hokies’ next drive started from their 25, and Brewer hit Isaiah Ford with a 38-yard pass early in the drive, then tossed a 32-yard touchdown strike to the wide-open Ford on 3rd and 15. The touchdown tied it with 8:04 remaining at 20 points.

The Hokies forced a UVa punt for a touchback, and took over on their 20 with 6:38 left. Tech embarked on the game-winning drive, going 56 yards in 11 plays to set up a 41-yard field goal by Joey Slye. On the drive, Brewer completed two passes to Ford for 27 yards, and McMillian carried it six times for 28 yards.

With 1:38 remaining, Slye nailed the field goal for a 23-20 lead.

The Cavaliers took over on their 20 with no timeouts, but their hopes for a comeback win died when Johns, under pressure, threw down the middle of the field, where Tech’s Chuck Clark picked the ball off on the Hokie 37 with 59 seconds left.

Chuck Clark
Chuck Clark skies for the game-clinching interception

Clark’s interception started a wild celebration on the Hokie sideline, where Frank Beamer embraced Bud Foster and his son Shane, reveling in his 12th straight win over the Cavaliers — a Hokies’ dozen.

With the win, the Hokies are assured of a bowl bid for the 23rd consecutive season, currently the longest streak recognized by the NCAA. The Hokies also hold a large (and growing) 55-37-5 lead in the series.

(All photography by Ivan Morozov)

Dadi Nicolas
Dadi Nicolas celebrates with Hokie fans after the win
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13 Responses You are logged in as Test

  1. How we won this game is a mystery to me the day after. We were dominated by UVA except on the score board. As CB said “maybe this was just meant to be.” Regardless, I am thrilled with the “W” and sending Beamer and coaches off with another great effort. Won it with heart and soul for CB! A great send off to a great coach and greater person. Without Hokies in the stands the place would have been half full. Not much support from the Hoos from their fan base. Well, Hoo cares because in the end the Hokies continue to own the Cavs on the football field. Go Hokies!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. Some credit to Hughes too, consistent good punts all day long, didn’t win the game but never made it easy for the Hoos.

  3. Very proud that team hung in there yesterday. Brewer, Ford, Slye are MONEY. Great win for Coach Beamer.

    But … “Houston, we have a problem!!!”

    We have serious defensive and offensive problems when UVA can dominate as they did yesterday. Their talent level is easily equal to ours. Serious recruiting work needed. Welcome Coach Fuentes and a new era.

    1. Was looking at that as well. At first Bud just looks much taller than everyone else because you can see someone else’s legs behind him. Great photos!

  4. Congratulations to CFB for a tremendous victory over the Hoos! I was really impressed how the Hokies battled back and found a way to win! It was a great weekend to be a Hokie and I’m looking forward to getting a W in the bowl game to keep the winning season streak alive! I think really good things are on the horizon for Hokie football program with CJF hire!

  5. Can’t help but respect the Hoo’s heart and effort too. We were lucky to win. Did Beamer get to shake London’s hand post game? If he did I missed it. Beamer’s right “with Mike Brewer we always have a chance” ie Duke, Carolina and UVa games. What a tough kid and competitor. I’m glad we have him for one more game. Kudos to the rest of the Hokie squad and coaching staff for not giving up and hanging in there. Great finish for Coach.

  6. We won because WE are Virginia Tech and THEY are uva….THat’s all the karma needed.

    Couldn’t be happier for Frank..I got JUST what I wanted for Christmas. Frank going out with his uva (and bowl) streak intact!!

    Thanks Hokies for refusing to let them take this one from us and OUR Coach!!

  7. Great atmosphere at Scott stadium. Good to get the win. So many Hokies there, does it count as a home game?

  8. I was at the game, and still can’t believe we won. I thought they totally outplayed us in almost every phase of the game. Poor Brewer was harassed all day. Both of their lines dominated ours. Their running game was unstoppable. I was actually thrilled beyond belief to somehow win. The only thing I can figure is the Beamer Karma was in full on mode, and I was so happy to see him get carried around at the end of the game. All in all it was a pleasant game day experience, not only because we won, but because I though the UVa fans were gracious and congratulatory, which surprised me. Let’s win one more for Frank and send his off 7-6. Go Hokies and welcome Fuente

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