(Thursday, November 4th)
Final Score: (20) Virginia Tech 28, Georgia Tech 21
Blacksburg, VA (Sports Network) - Frank Beamer's renowned special teams won another big game for Virginia Tech, as David Wilson's 90-yard kickoff return for a touchdown with 2:23 left in regulation lifted the 20th-ranked Hokies to a 28-21 victory over the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets in a pivotal ACC clash.
Wilson scored another touchdown on the ground, while Tyrod Taylor threw for 137 yards with an interception and a TD to Andre Smith, as the Hokies (7-2, 5-0 ACC) pulled out a seventh straight win after losses to still-unbeaten Boise State and James Madison of the FCS to start the year.
"I'm proud of our football team. It wasn't always a pretty game, but we did what we needed to do," Beamer said. "We have some great kids that are hanging in and battling. Where we started out and where we are right now, to be able to control our own destiny...I'm proud of them."
Georgia Tech's Josh Nesbitt had two rushing touchdowns in the opening quarter but left with a right forearm injury after attempting a tackle following an interception late in the first half.
Tevin Washington filled in admirably and moved the ball to the Virginia Tech 16-yard line in the closing seconds, but threw an interception in the end zone to end the comeback bid.
Anthony Allen rushed for 125 yards on 23 carries for the Yellow Jackets (5-4, 3-3), losers of two straight for the first time in three seasons under head coach Paul Johnson.
The winner of this game has represented the Coastal Division in the ACC title every year, and the Hokies came in with a two-game lead looking to maintain control.
They scored 21 straight points for a 21-14 cushion with 6:34 remaining, but a Washington-to-Tyler Melton hookup of 42 yards ignited a game-tying 80-yard drive for the visitors. Roddy Jones rushed for five yards on 4th-and-4 from the VaTech 32, and Orwin Smith went in from the nine with 2:34 showing.
Wilson fielded the ensuing kickoff between the hash marks at his own 10 and went untouched until reaching the kicker near midfield. He shed the arm tackle with ease and was in the end zone shortly thereafter to the delight of the Lane Stadium faithful.
Kevin Cone caught a 38-yard pass to move GaTech to the opposing 37 with under a minute left, and a mix and runs and passes gained the 16 with 14 seconds to go. Rashad Carmichael made sure the Hokies came away victorious, picking off Washington's lob to Melton in the left corner of the end zone to seal it.
The Yellow Jackets used the running game to amass all 58 yards on the first touch of the game, and Nesbitt's one-yard plunge 3:40 in resulted in an early 7-0 lead.
The Hokies punted in enemy territory their first time with the ball, and on 3rd-and-1 from his own 29, Nesbitt took a delayed draw, made one cut to the left and sprinted the rest of the way for a 14-0 cushion. The 71-yard jaunt moved him past Clemson's Woodrow Dantzler for most rushing yards by a QB in ACC history.
Ryan Williams capped VaTech's 10-play, 77-yard drive with a four-yard TD run on the first play of the second quarter, and both Taylor and Nesbitt threw interceptions deep in the red zone to keep it 14-7 at the half.
The Hokies came up with a big stop on 4th-and-2 at the their own 45 and took over on downs with 1:24 left in the third.
After Taylor overthrew Wilson in the end zone on 3rd-and-3 on the ensuing drive, he hit Jarrett Boykin for a seven-yard gain to keep the drive moving. A pass interference penalty moved the ball to the 15, where Wilson took it in around the left end to tie the game 1 1/2 minutes into the fourth quarter.
A three-and-out was forced, and Taylor finished off an 11-play, 62-yard trek by hitting Smith in the middle of the end zone on 3rd-and-goal from the two.
Virginia Tech, which improved to 21-2 in November games since 2004, has scored 128 touchdowns by defense and special teams since Beamer arrived in 1987...Nesbitt ended with 86 yards on six carries and did not complete any of his three attempts through the air...Washington had 45 yards on the ground and completed 2-of-7 throws for 80 yards...The Yellow Jackets amassed 346 rushing yards...Taylor connected on 15-of-25 passes and also rushed for 57 yards on nine attempts...Wilson had 39 yards on seven carries...Boykin led all receivers with five catches for 54 yards...Dantzler rushed for 2,761 yards from 1998-01....The Hokies play at North Carolina next Saturday.
11/05 02:57:21 ET