Hokies Rally to Beat Rutgers

It was ugly, but Virginia Tech pulled it out.  The Hokies scored 13 points in the fourth quarter and overtime to rally and beat Rutgers 13-10 on Friday night.  Tech finished the season 7-6 with the win, while Rutgers dropped to 9-4.

Bruce Taylor celebrates the bowl victory over Rutgers.

This was an ugly game for Virginia Tech from the opening whistle.  After Logan Thomas overthrew Randall Dunn on the first play from scrimmage, there was a miscommunication on a shotgun snap.  The snap from Caleb Farris floated past the right ear of Logan Thomas, and it was recovered in the endzone by Rutgers.  The Scarlet Knights took a 7-0 lead just 17 seconds into the game.

Despite that setback, and despite the fact that the Tech offense didn’t score a single point in the first three quarters, the defense hung tough.  Rutgers led just 10-0 heading into the final 15 minutes of the game.

Tech finally got it going on their first possession of the fourth quarter.  A 32 yard pass to Dyrell Roberts was followed up by a 25 yard pass to Corey Fuller to the Rutgers’ 13 yard line.  Even though the Hokies squandered the scoring opportunity by going with three consecutive unsuccessful running plays, Cody Journell nailed a 25 yard field goal to make the score 10-3 Rutgers with 12:14 left in the game.

The Tech defense came through on the next drive, with Antone Exum snagging an interception and returning it to the 21 yard line of Rutgers.  The Tech offense finally came through, with Logan Thomas hitting Corey Fuller for a 21 yard touchdown pass on third and 10 to tie the game.  Two possessions later, the Tech defense recorded another turnover when Tyrel Wilson fell on a botched snap, but the VT offense couldn’t come through, and the game went to overtime.

Tech got the ball first in overtime, and though their drive was halted at the 5 yard line, a Cody Journell field goal put the Hokies up 13-10.  Rutgers quarterback Gary Nova was sacked by Derrick Hopkins on the first play of their ensuing possession, and the Scarlet Knights ended up missing a 42 yard field goal that would have tied the game.  The Hokies walked off with a 13-10 win, despite the fact that they trailed 10-0 going into the fourth quarter.

Both defenses dominated this game.  Both the Virginia Tech offense and the Rutgers offense totaled only 196 yards each.  The Scarlet Knights scored a defensive touchdown on the second play of the game, and the VT defense set the Hokie offense up with good field position in the fourth quarter, which led to a touchdown on third down.  In the end, it was the Hokies who were the clutch team in overtime, winning 13-10 on a Cody Journell field goal.

Tech’s defense recorded 12 tackles for loss and three sacks, and in general dominated the Rutgers offense through four quarters of football.  With a month to prepare, Bud Foster’s defense was outstanding.  The Tech offense wasn’t so good, though they were able to score when needed in the fourth quarter and in overtime.

With the win on Friday, the Hokies finished the season 7-6 and won their final three games of the season.  They avoided a losing record for the first time since 1992.

Box Score

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  1. Hey, AD Weaver – please stop with the cutsie helmet designs. There is a reason professionals exist at every station in life. They are recognized to be good enough to earn $ at what they do. Either hire one or quit. Take note – the Hokie faithful are generally proud of the existing VT logo design on the helmet.

    1. I couldn’t agree more, I cringed when I saw those Helmets. I like the VT Logo, We have enough on our minds without having to constantly be shocked about what kinda Offbeat and ugly BS that Tech is gonna wear! Lester Karlin needs to just say No!

  2. I don’t know if anybody else noticed this, but I think Benedict was playing right guard and Via left guard on the possession when we made the first field goal and when we scored the touchdown. He is twice the football player that Wang is, I just cannot understand why he didn’t play more or start this season!! The kid is a gamer and Newsome is an idiot for not playing him more!!

    1. Via HAS started most of the games this season…at three different positions…right guard, left guard and center. In the 4 games he didn’t start, he alternated most series with Wang and Benedict, (and sometimes for Farris). I don’t know how people always overlooked the 6-7 guy out there. If you look back over the season, people might see that we moved the ball when he was in the lineup more often than not.,

  3. anyone know what in the wide wide world of sports the o was thinking when we ran it three times in a row in the redzone after getting down there by passing?? typical horrible O play calling. Hey it hasn’t work all night lets force it now when we have a shot at getting a touchdown. Can’t wait for OC changes.

  4. How Rutgers won 9 games with that QB is puzzling to me. We were one step away of several pic 6s. Big Ten is licking their chops.

    1. agree, he was atrocious. However I do believe Rutgers D scored a lot this year and that may have been the difference in a lot of games.

  5. I kept waiting for the Tech D to get tired, it didn’thappen. Bud Foster and His Defense was amazing, I was Wowed. Va. Tech won the Game somehow. It is very obvious that changes will now be made on Offense, all of America and Virginia is talkin about the Pathetic Offense-it is an embarassment to all. Glad that We won, but there is tons of work to do-as in 9 Yards of Total Offense in the 1st Quarter. Not to mention, Zero points in the first 45 Minutes, it makes You wanna puke! Bottom Line, We won a Bowl Game, that’s nice, it’s good for Recruiting, Pride, and Alumni bragging! But, in a way, I am Happy with the disgusting Offensive performance, as in changes will have to be made, fer sure!

  6. Can’t wait til next year, maybe with a new offensive coaching staff and Q-back coach.
    O-line seems bewildered and out of sync. No huddle offence doesn’t seem to work for the Hokies. Plays taking way too long to develope, not running North & South. Just not smooth on offence. Running back by committee, not working. TV Comentators and even people not interested in VT all seem to say pretty much the same thing. Still 7 & 6 much better than 6 & 7. Go HOKIES , get ready for the TIDE.

  7. My feeling at the end of the game summed it up. I was relieved (and a little mystified) to get the win. But I was hardly jubilant. I wonder how many non Tech and RU fans were watching by the time the game got interesting. Only the truly hard core football fans would have lasted that long.

    Happy for the seniors that they went out with a win. It’s a shame Danny Coale couldn’t do the same.

    1. Most stayed until the bitter end. The Rutgers side was pretty upbeat for 3 quarters, but were finally drowned out by Hokie noise in the final 10 min.

    2. Got back from the game a couple of hours ago. I sat in upper deck at 45 yard line and it was brutal. My father went back to the tunnel but my 12yo and I sat through it. Most of the upper deck crowd disappeared into the walkways at each end of the upper sections.

      I must say I was relieved more than excited that the Hokies won. That game sat college football back a few years.

      Couple of comments:

      The one side judge (the one that TV showed threw the flag) was brutal. He didn’t call anything close to going the Hokies way. He didn’t call interference against RU against Fuller (obviously pulling his arm down), he didn’t call the blocking in the back against the Tweed (the call was made by the other sideline ref from 40 yards away) and then he called the interference on the other Fuller brother. The crowd was not happy with him.

      Our left guard was embarrassing the entire night. He was even trucked over by the safety on one play. After a month off, the injury excuse isn’t going to cut it. I watched that side of the line closely and several times there was no blocking at all.

      How do you have to call a timeout on a change of possession because you can’t get a play called?

      All in all, you had the entire makeup of the season on display.

    1. Completely Agree. Bud has put out a great product year after year and got this defense playing lights out after very rough start! Stiney actually got his O playing worst as the season finished! Hope our stat of 3 yards rushing for the game (yes ladies & gentlemen you read that correctly! 3 yards total rushing for Hokies last night!) gets CFB attention and finally gets him to make sweeping changes to O staff! The commentators pretty much summed it up…Logan was expected to do everything due to the fact our O-line continued to be an embarrassment as they were “fundamentally unsound in their blocking!” Would love to see Bud take the HC position and bring the same fire to the O!
      Happy New Year and go Hokies!


    There is an elephant in the room. Her name is “your offense needs improvement.”

    If you want to go out in style, “on top,” get some guts and hire a proven, successful OC and let him bring in his staff to kick some butt and separate the men from the boys.

    You have nine months to BEAT ‘Bama!!

  9. I think CFB gave us a little insight during his half time interview when he displayed his frustration about the lack of a running game… “Ya gotta be able to block em’… that’s the only way I know how to do it…” Hope the offensive staff gets shown the door…
    For the game as a whole I expected it to be just what we got…just like Chris’ preview, 2 offenses that struggle and 2 good defenses that would be able to stone them.
    Here’s a New Years wish we can get an offsensive staff as capable as Bud and his group!

  10. Bud Foster cover Franks butt yet again. Bud should make as much as Frank, because he is responsible for many of his career wins.

  11. Season in review short summary:

    1. Mediocre freshmen running backs.

    2. O-line couldn’t run block my grandmother.

    3. Defense finally came around and looked like a Bud Foster defense.

    1. 1. O-line couldn’t run block my grandmother.

      2. O-line couldn’t pass block my grandmother.

      3. O-line coaching = epic fail

    2. All true points, but let’s not forget that this defense was poor for most of the season, and only came on strong at the very end.

      From games 3-10, the defense gave up an average of 28.3 points per game, and we went 2-6 during that stretch. If you take out the Bowling Green shutout, we gave up 32.3 points per game (yikes!).

      FWIW, during that same stretch the offense scored 25.5 points per game. Not great for sure, but not the worst in the world either.

      1. Not true. The defense played pretty damn well for the FSU, Clemson, and Miami games ….giving the offense ample opportunity to get us in the ball game. Only after repeated failure/short field turnovers by the O did the defense finally give up some points. The defense kept improving and came to play the second half of the season.

        1. I think you are both right. But, had the D played up to par we likely beat UNC and Cincy and go to the ACC champ game at 8-4. Lose to FSU, then we go to Sun Bowl, likely beat USC and end up 9-5. Or we beat FSU the 2nd time, go to Orange Bowl and likely beat NIU and then we finish 10-4. In either case the season feels very different.

  12. Maybe this is oversimplifying it, but I think this season comes down to this:

    Players: Good kids with good character, but not a ton of talent (at certain positions at least). They tried their best, and scrapped as hard as they could. They willed their way to 7 wins, and I’m going to give them credit for what they did accomplish.

    Coaches: Dedicated professionals who do things the right way, but simply lack some of the innovation (and in some cases maybe even the motivation) of their counterparts. They coached to the best of their abilities, which turned out to be good enough for 7 wins.

    If we want to return to an ACC championship level we’re going to need some better players at certain positions, and an overhaul of the coaching staff. But we already know that, don’t we?

    1. As a fan, in my opinion it is time to replace Logan with Mark and put Logan at tight end. I think he would be better suited for that position in the NFL.

      1. I think if Logan starts off next year as poorly as he played this year I would be up trying Leal. But, as far as his pro career, they will give him a shot at tight end if he can’t make it at QB, whether he plays it in college of not.

  13. thankful for a trench-like attitude…we have exhibited this several times recently where we just dig in and come out on top at the end. That shows real character. This team may lack some things prior VT teams have had but they have shown real determination. They also seem to be a team, vice a collection of individuals. All great traits.
    Frank has some real issues with officiating. Sometimes I think his “awwww shucks” attitude opens him up to these calls. I can’t think of any other way to categorize it. He seems to willing to accept it. he only got fired up late in the game on the intentional grounding/delay of game melee. He should have been up the ref’s butt on the 2nd play of the game and all along thereafter. Frank is kind of a living legend in CFB. he needs to bring that attitude, that demeanor, and those credentials to the sidelines. Coach K gets a ton of calls to his benefit because he IS Duke basketball. Frank should be in a similar club (no offense intended to Frank for associating him with Coach Ferret, but the point stands).

    1. You are 100% correct on CFB. Bud’s D had some major breakdowns this year but ended up being the pillar of this team. The defense lacked the critical mix of talent and experience but showed a lot of character and resilience. LT has character but just is not a good QB because he can’t pass the ball. Indecisive, inaccurate. Even last year he wasn’t that great a passer, but teams weren’t prepared for his running so he had a good year. Now everyone knows to tackle him low and it has hurt his game. That part is on the coaches for his regression. The whole Marcus Davis issue is also on them, at least partly. No reason why a guy with an NFL body should be so unmotivated.

    2. It’s difficult to say this after all that CFB has accomplished at Tech (and been paid for the success), BUT … Frank just looks tired. I think that he would be wise to hang it up, and turn the reins over to a “youngster” who has the fire burning in him.

  14. Responding to an earlier post that dismissed the notion of Mark Leal’s potential…
    I don’t want to be deemed a Logan-basher here, but I’m not sure you can classify Logan’s performance as a passer this year as even average. His overall performance as a leader of the offense on the field was very good, with his effort and heart on display every series. But in the end, that unit never clicked, never was able to sustain drives… I think everyone realizes that lack of consistency is the result of several factors, including injuries to the OL (not under our control), player turnover everywhere (inescapable), and a complete hodge-podge of an offensive mindset (the only thing CFB can control going forward). In the end, there was no chance Logan would have been taken out. He’s clearly the recognized leader of the team, with big-time measurables, and his running carried the offense at times.
    However, I don’t know how anyone can assume to know how well Leal would have done with this group if he had gotten an opportunity to practice and play. That guy strikes me as a baller, and he has years more of experience as a QB than Logan. Do you think he’d be able to hit a 60% completion rate with play calls that would have been simplified, probably more traditional in a sense knowing that Leal is not a bruising runner?
    My whole post in pointless (acknowledged) because we’ll never know the answer to that hypothetical. Ideally next year will offer a whole new offensive staff and strategy, and Leal will probably be the starter. If that turn’s out to be the case, I look forward to seeing him play, and to what our offense looks like (probably more so after the bama opener).

    1. Leal will not be the starter if Thomas comes back. Our O line is terrible and our receivers aren’t much better. We need a better scheme and better coaching to utilize Thomas’ obvious talents.

    2. Leal still would have needed to deal with the OL issues, the lack of consistency at the WR position including route running and drop issues and the offensive mindset which makes it hard to believe the result would have been any better and we would have lost our #1 rusher in the move.

      I hope that Logan is back for his senior year in a better situation so he can reach his full potential and I thin this give us the best opportunity to win next year.

    1. I believe that each team has one opportunity to challenge a play. If so, that is so early into the game to challenge.

  15. I believe we are undefeated when Matt Millen is involved in broadcasting our games. His favorite phrase “Nothing is cute about football.” Can we request he broadcast the Bama game.

    1. I agree, he was great at the Nebraska game and was back the following week against Miami when Grimm went mental on Harris. He is also a hometown dude for me though he played for my rival HS, Whitehall. His brother is COP in Whitehall and looks just like him. Matt is one of my favorite commentators.

      GO HOKIES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      1. Matt Millen tries like heck to be positive about the kids when he’s announcing college football games. Even when he’s being critical of their performance, he couches it in strength-based terms. I appreciate that.

  16. Our offensive problems start with the offensive line…you lose the battle of the trenches and you lose the game. We are fortunate to have Bud Foster and his defense!!!

    1. I used to feel the same way, but I’m not sure the the big playbook is the cause for that. But I agree, it all starts up front.

  17. Just one play: after the Hokies recovered the botched snap, they ran a couple unsuccessful plays, it was third down, LT bought time and kept looking to pass, I just kinda wished he would take off and run there. Think he was trying too hard to still get the first down when maybe he should have just thought about hacking off a few yards to get the team in field goal range. You know the result, 15 yard intentional grounding call and a punt. I may be off on this but I’m too frightened to go back and look at the game (on espn3)

    1. I agree – I think LT had several opportunities to run and get us into more favorable down and distance situations. when involved in a defensive battle like this one field position is important and it is crucial to avoid 3rd and long.

      Just the same – I am glad to have the win – particularly after having to listen to Millen’s cliches and stupid comments.

  18. I think the passage “and [the snap] was recovered in the endzone by Rutgers” should read “and Rutgers was credited by the referees for recovering the fumbled snap in the endzone” — because everyone I talked to agreed that Thomas’ knee was down in the endzone while he had full control of the football. Should have been a safety. There was not even a review — pathetic!!!!!

    1. Concur – it was definitely a safety! The play should have been over the second Logan’s knee hit the ground.

    2. It appears that LT actually touched that ball down on the ground outside of the goal line which ends the play inside the one. The video replay shows he did this prior to his knee hitting the ground. No safety, third down inside the one.

      1. The entire ball has to be across the goal line and into the field of play for it to be out of the end zone and not a safety. Only the nose of the ball came into the field of play

    3. I agree…the refs blew that play from beginning to end. When the game was over I went back and watched that play in slow motion. First, the Rutgers nose guard was offsides. The flag was thrown but inexplicably picked up after the play along with a comment from the ref that the “Rutgers nose guard was not offsides.” Huh? Then it was so obvious Logan’s knee was down in the endzone…but the play was never reviewed. If we had lost by 3 or 4 points that play would have really stood out. CFB even said after the game that the reason Farris snapped the ball was because the Rutgers player jumped. That was a really weird sequence by the refs.

      1. The offsides is what caused the whole mess in my opinion. The center snapped the ball because the nose guard came across…that’s why Logan wasn’t ready. Terrible officiating all night long.

        1. How about coaching up a kid to snap the ball when a d linemen jumps off while in shotgun. Just not a good idea. When under center, I get it, the QB still should receive the snap without much of a problem. But not in shotgun. Just not smart.

    4. The Refs had a pretty poor performance all night long. In fact, their performance might well have been worse than our O.

      It was interesting how the officiating crew would go on the PA and say, “there was no intentional grounding call on the play” or “there was no block in the back on the return” and in the process confirm what should have been the call – very curious.
      They were as inconsistent as any crew I have seen since the NFL replacements were retired and all the inconsistencies seemed to go against us.

      Rutgers DB was all over our WR and there was no call but Fuller gets flagged for a tough one. Ruts DL was offsides several times but we only get one call. They call Bruce offsides but the replay shows he timed things pretty well. I am not sure how it ended but at one point the penalty total was something like 12 against VT versus 3 against Ruts. Even a Rutgers fans was texting us that they were benefiting from some questionable calls.

      I seem to recall this crew doing one of our games in the past with similar results.

      1. Abosulutely.This crew was awful.Camera showed that sideline ref smerking after the terrible PI call on Fuller.A clear helment to helment on Roberts at the sidelines that was not called even though they love to flag that one.The announcers almost allways buy into the missed calls to cover for bad officiating which chaps my arse.

        1. There was another play where they hit our WR 3 feet out of bounds and almost beyond the white stripe while the correctly called a similar play against us on the punt return.

      2. Did anyone hear the reason why the Refs picked up that flag on the play when the snap went in the endzone?? The replay looked like Rutgers #94 was clearly in the neutral zone at the snap. Was offsides the call or was it something that was called on us and declined?

        Why do I always feel ‘hosed’ with a PAC-12 crew officiating the game when we play a current (Mich) or future (Ruts) Big-1G team?? Last night’s penalties:we had 14 for 95 yds vs Rutgers 4 for 35 yds. I won’t re-hash last year’s Sugar Bowl…… Not sayin’ they were the reason for our poor offense, but just sayin’.

    5. The bowl radio network covering the game for ESPN said that the replay booth official realized it was a safety but didn’t get it buzzed down to the field soon enough

      1. a change of possesion for a TD with no one ready for it and the extra point teams getting on the field and getting set up is plenty of time for the replay official to review. Even if he was not positive, he should know that he needed to take time to review. Must have been the replay official from last years bowl game. that is his only job to do.

      2. What’s the delay in ‘buzzing down’ in this day and age? Are they sending word down on the leg of a carrier pigeon? Inexcusable.

  19. Couch + Newcastle + Hornsbys + 3xbean chili observations:

    1. Fumbled snap: Offsides? A lot of chatter about this play re: the knee down and safety, which I agree was the correct call, or at least should have been reviewed (Frank? Bueller?). But anyone see if C. Farris caught Rutgers in the neutral zone?

    2. Worst O series in the game: After the Ty Wilson fumble recovery at the 30, MOC/Stiney ‘squandered the opportunity’ (again) running laterally and 2 x incomplete passes. If we just stick with the usual conservative three straight running plays up the middle (like the previous squandered opportunity) we could have attempted at least a FG to win the game straight away late in Q4. But again, another keep em guessing series and we wind up losing 12 yards and punting. CFB probably aged 10 years on that series alone and looked like it ‘talking’ with the side judge.

    3. #25: Great to see the senior M. Scales get a lot of snaps, important snaps at that. He was key in maintaining some N-S movement on offense. Even if it was for minimal gains, it was positive yards, or better yet, it wasnt negative yards.

    4. #7: Who’da thought the much maligned WR would lead the offense out of the sorry for ourselves pit we dug in half #1? Great comment by Matt Millen about Logan being frustrated and Marcus Davis talking to him on the sidelines to keep wits about. And where was our QB posn coach? Or, perhaps the O-Coord? That’s right, sitting in the booth 500 yards and a headset away. Never understood this all season long having both of those coaches in the booth when the QB is struggling.

    5. #51 et al: Bruce Taylor had a great game. As dominant on the field as the Rutgers media hype player #20, who was pretty good, but #51 stole the show from the 2 x BigE D-player of the year. Good tackling by J. Tyler too, man that kid has a nose for playing MLB.

    Bittersweet to watch at home. Sweet because of the Q1, then Q2, and then Q3 offensive offensive spectacle. Bitter because it was the first time in over a decade (other than deployments), but c’est la vie and it’s the economy, stupid.

    1. Completely agree with #2 and #3. Rutgers pursuit was excellent against sweeps/options all night long. We rarely made it to the line of scrimmage on those plays. Scales did a good job of getting some tough yards. Hopefully next year we will have a power back who can move the pile 3-4 yards.

      1. hopefully next year, we will have a new OL coach who can work on the fundamentals to get our OL back to where it should be. Also hopeful that we change our OL recruiting strategy and stop recruiting HS TEs to convert to O Lineman. We need some added size and strength up there. That and a nasty attitude.

  20. I am tired of all the Logan bashing, he is what he is a solid college QB nothing more and nothing less. I do not care about his pro potential at QB, I want Va Tech to put the best player on the field to win the game. Honestly, how many QBs would of done any better with this offensive line and recievers not to mention the coaching staff? And no Leal would not of won seven games with this group.

    1. 100 percent agree.Also tired of all the Sunshine Patriot fans ,are on the bandwagon when we win, but dont seem to support the team when we have less than 10 win seasons…

    2. I totally agree….Logan carried this O and we would not have kept the bowl streak alive much less win a bowl game without him. Replacing him with Leal would not have lead to greater success.

      The TD pass last night was a thing of beauty and shows what he is capable of doing. I hope he stays and brings such things with greater consistency.

  21. Glad the Hokies got the win…..but it was difficult to watch. Why did the Hokies not run LT more? As B’ street said in his preview….he is bigger than 3/4 of their defense.

    Go Hokies!

      1. yet when he ran, he got yards and also kept the D honest. we should have run him more. hell, running coleman sideways for -4 ypc killed us

        1. We should have run more from the gitgo. We over matched their line weight-wise. Just pound them and negate their quickness.

  22. Logan Thomas reminds me of what the actress Lauren Bacall said about a former husband, “he was terrific, he just wasn’t terrific often enough” Everything I hear is that Logan is an outstanding young man but I would bet a lot of money that he will never ever be the starting qb in a regular season NFL football game. I know some of you will think I need to be committed, but I would like to see Logan return for his senior year—as a tight end where he might wind up being a first round draft choice in 2014.

    And JC Coleman would be better off playing college football at a lower level (and I did see the Duke game).

    1. You meant to say Michael Holmes instead of JC Coleman, correct? I am not sure he is a D1 player

    2. You HAVE TO BE HIGH if you think JC Coleman is in ANY way part of the problem. #1 he’s a true freshman, #2 he’s been our most explosive RB who STILL isn’t being used enough…he made some great runs just not to lose yards last night and made a couple very nice runs after catching short passes

      After being in th S&C program here for another year, he will be a Ray Rice/Darren Sproles type of athlete. He’s the only good RB I’ve seen play for us this yr…unless you were talking about Holmes have mistaken him with JCC you’ve got absolutely no clue or eye for talent

      1. I think we need to use him more as a receiver out of the backfield where we can get him in to space.

  23. I also thought it was clear that Logan was down, either in the endzone or out, that was the only question. It at least deserved a lot more and longer review than what it appeared to not receive.

  24. Need to find another term besides “ugly”. That doesn’t describe how horrible it was…..ugh.

  25. This game shouldn’t have gone to overtime. Both offenses were as awful as the defenses were dominant but Rutgers TD was a flat out blown call and I have no idea why it wasn’t stopped for review. Only the replays it was clear as day that Logan’s knee was down. The inconsistency of the use of replay from one game to the next is very frustrating.

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