Virginia Tech trailed late in the third quarter, but rallied behind Logan Thomas, David Wilson and a solid defensive effort to beat Georgia Tech 37-26 in Atlanta on Thursday night. The Hokies are now 9-1 overall and 5-1 in the ACC, and they control their own destiny in the Coastal Division. Georgia Tech dropped to 7-3 overall, and 4-3 in conference play.
The Hokies got big games from their best players. They didn’t throw the ball a lot, but Logan Thomas was 7-of-13 for 209 yards with three touchdown passes. He also ran for 70 yards and two touchdowns, including a 12 yard touchdown run on a quarterback sneak.
Thomas made several NFL quality throws in this game, including a nine yard pass to Jarrett Boykin in the second quarter and a 63 yard touchdown pass to Danny Coale over the middle right before halftime.
David Wilson did lose a fumble while the Hokies were driving inside the Georgia Tech 20 in the third quarter, but other than that one play, he dominated the Yellow Jacket defense. Wilson ran for a career-high 175 yards on 23 carries. Wilson broke numerous tackles, and his balance was incredible as he shredded the Georgia Tech defense all night long.
As a team, Virginia Tech outrushed Georgia Tech 267 to 243. It was just the fourth time in the Paul Johnson era that the Yellow Jackets have been outrushed, and the Jackets have lost all four games. The Hokies were 10-of-16 on third down, and 2-of-2 on fourth down. Meanwhile, Georgia Tech was 5-of-13 on third down, and 0-of-2 on fourth down, including a critical fourth and one stop by the VT defense in the fourth quarter.
Critical penalties helped both teams at different times. Georgia Tech took a 7-0 lead in the first quarter, but might not have scored on the drive had Derrick Hopkins not jumped offsides on a key fourth and five at the Virginia Tech 20.
The Hokies rallied to take a 21-10 lead, and led 21-13 at halftime. The Yellow Jackets came right back and took a 26-21 lead, and stopped Logan Thomas on a third and 19 from the VT 17, and it appeared they had all the momentum However, after the officials blew the play dead, outside linebacker Jeremiah Attaochu slugged Thomas in the head with a punch, which gave Virginia Tech a first down. The VT offense took advantage, with David Wilson breaking off a 44 yard run two plays later, and Logan Thomas scoring on a 12 yard quarterback sneak on third down. The two-point conversion was no good, but the Hokies reclaimed a 27-26 lead.
The Virginia Tech defense came up with their biggest stop of the season on the next drive. Facing fourth and one from their own 31 early in the fourth quarter, Paul Johnson elected to go for the first down, as he usually does. However, a designed run by quarterback Tevin Washington was stopped for a no gain by the Tech defense, giving the Hokie offense the ball at the Yellow Jacket 31.
Logan Thomas took advantage, hitting tight end Chris Drager with a 14 yard touchdown pass on third and seven to make the score 34-26 with only 9:49 remaining. On Georgia Tech’s next drive, Tevin Washington was sacked on two of their three plays, and the Jackets were forced to punt. Virginia Tech then ran the ball on seven straight plays, tacked on a 23 yard Cody Journell field goal, and won the game 37-26.
Defensively, Virginia Tech held Georgia Tech to just 340 yards of total offense. Jack Tyler played a great game from his mike position, finishing with 12 tackles, a tackle for loss and a sack. J.R. Collins, moving inside to defensive tackle, had 11 tackles and 0.5 tackles for loss. Tyrel Wilson and James Gayle had 1.5 sacks each, and Tariq Edwards also had a sack. As a team, the Hokies sacked Tevin Washington five times despite the fact that Georgia Tech rarely passes the ball.
Defensive tackle Derrick Hopkins also deserves a lot of credit. He dominated the middle of the offensive line for most of the night, and finished with nine tackles.
With the win, the Hokies eliminated Georgia Tech and Miami from the Coastal Division race. Virginia is the only team left with a shot at the division championship. Virginia Tech’s magic number is two, meaning that any combination of Virginia Tech wins and Virginia losses totaling two will give the Hokies the Coastal crown. The Cavaliers host Duke this weekend, travel to Florida State on November 19th, and host Virginia Tech November 26th.
Virginia Tech will return to action next Thursday night when they host the North Carolina Tar Heels in Lane Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for 8pm, and the game will be televised by ESPN.