With an Independence Bowl bid secured, Virginia Tech traveled to Charlottesville in a loose mood with something to prove. The Hokies had not won in Scott Stadium since 1985, and UVA had beaten No. 13 North Carolina in Scott earlier in the year. The showdown marked the first time both teams were nationally ranked going into the game (UVA was No. 23 in the AP; Tech was No. 25), and the Cavaliers were six-point favorites. But defensive tackle Jeff Holland returned a fumble eight yards for a touchdown, defensive end Cornell Brown had two sacks, running back Dwayne Thomas rushed for 89 yards, and the Hokies won 20-17.
Late in the game, Virginia Tech stopped Virginia on 4th-and-3 at the Cavalier 29. After taking possession, the Hokies proceeded to lose 23 yards, back to their own 48-yard line, while trying to run out the clock. With nine seconds left, they had to punt the ball safety and make the tackle to secure the win. Suddenly a routine play took on a huge amount of pressure.
As they huddled up, lineman Andy Miller turned to punter Robbie Colley and said, “Whatever you do, don’t drop the snap.”
Colley looked at him and said, “No s—t.” (And it wasn’t “no sweat.”)
But yes, Colley was nervous. “I didn’t care how far I kicked it,” he said. “I just didn’t want to get it blocked.” The snap was good, Colley handled it cleanly, and booted the ball 36 yards, securing the win.
The same day, Boston College beat No. 1 Notre Dame in South Bend and West Virginia upset No. 4 Miami—proving that you had to be a pretty good team to beat Virginia Tech that season.
After the game, Hokie fans stormed the field and attempted to take down the goal posts, but they found the posts were padlocked and heavily guarded by security personnel.
“Ya’ll had a good win today,” said a policeman, calmly, to a group of fans with big ideas. “Go on home and enjoy it.”
For Hokie perspective, observations, and interesting links, follow me on Twitter: @OtisHokie
Excitement High On Both Sides
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