With Frank Beamer announcing earlier this month that 2015 would be his last as Virginia Tech’s head coach, much was made of this being the long-time Hokie boss’ final Thursday night game. In the end, the Hokies turned it into a night to remember for the departing coach.
Trailing by two touchdowns early on, VT was able to come back late in the first half, then again late in the second to secure a 23-21 win over Georgia Tech. The win improved the Hokies to 5-5 on the season, meaning Tech needs to win one of its last two (North Carolina, at Virginia) to ensure Beamer will be going bowling one last time in his storied career and the Hokies won’t be home for the postseason for the first time in more than two decades.
VT had appeared in 22 straight bowl games — all under Beamer — entering the 2015 season, the second-longest streak in the country behind Florida State’s 33 in a row that will be extended to 34* this season. GT, meanwhile, tumbled to 3-7, meaning their streak of 18 straight bowl appearances has officially come to an end. That streak had been tied for third nationally with in-state rival Georgia.
The Yellow Jackets jumped out to a 14-0 lead in the first quarter, only to see the Hokies score two unanswered touchdowns in the last six minutes of the second to knot the score at 14-all entering the half. A Brant Mitchell pick-six off a Michael Brewer pass a minute into the third quarter gave GT a seven-point lead at 21-14, with a Joey Slye field goal from 27 yards out slicing the Hokie deficit to four a little less than five minutes later.
Scoreless through the rest of the third and the first third of the final quarter, a Broderick Snoddy fumble was recovered by the Hokies at their own 32-yard line with 10:41 remaining. A three-and-out gave the ball right back to the Yellow Jackets at their own 20-yard line… only to see GT generously hand the ball right back to VT on a fumble of their own on their first play following the punt. Aided by a third-down pass interference call, Travon McMillian‘s four-yard touchdown run, coupled with a missed extra point, gave the Hokies a 23-21 lead, its first of the night, with less than seven minutes left.
That missed PAT didn’t prove costly for the Hokies, however, as the Yellow Jackets failed to get into field goal range on either of their last two drives.
The Hokies outgained by the Yellow Jackets 343-258, and won the turnover battle 3-2 as well. McMillian led all rushers with 135 yards on the ground, throwing in a pair of touchdowns for good measure.
Tonight’s game was the Yellow Jackets’ 31st on ESPN’s Thursday night package, the most of any FBS program. The second-most? Their opponents, the Hokies, with 30.
(*I refuse to comply with this FSU nonsense. The Seminoles’ streak is at 34 straight.)