SHREVEPORT, La. - In a stunning turn of events, Virginia Tech scored two touchdowns in the final 35 seconds of the first half to spark an unforgettable 45-20 victory over No. 20 Indiana in the Poulan Weed Eater Independence Bowl.
Tech led the New Year's Eve bowl game by one point (14-13) just before the half, but Indiana was rallying. With 35 seconds left and the ball on the Tech 49, IU quarterback John Paci dropped back to pass and was hit by Hokie defenders George DelRicco and DeWayne Knight. The ball popped loose and eventually bounced into the hands of Tech end Lawrence Lewis who sprinted the final 20 yards to the end zone.
Suddenly, the Tech lead was 21-13 and the Hokies had a big momentum boost going into the locker room. But the half wasn't quite over.
Indiana returned the ensuing kickoff to the Tech 42, then Paci completed a 9-yard pass. The Hokies thought time expired and started trotting off the field. The officials ruled, however, that IU had called timeout with one second remaining.
The Hoosiers lined up for a 51-yard field goal. When the ball was snapped, Tech's Jeff Holland pushed through the line and tipped the kick. The ball caromed in the air and Hokie defensive back Antonio Banks settled under it at the 20. Banks started to his right, then reversed his field as blockers formed. A block by teammate Torrian Gray at the IU 15 cleared the last obstacle and Banks strutted into the end zone untouched with an 80-yard return.
Just like that, the No. 22 Hokies sealed a win in their first bowl appearance of the Frank Beamer era. Tech's 21 points were the most ever scored in the second quarter of the 18-year bowl game.
Tech quarterback Maurice DeShazo won the Outstanding Offensive Player award after completing 19 of 33 passes for 193 yards and two touchdowns. One of his scoring tosses was a 42-yard strike to split end Antonio Freeman, who finished the day with five catches for 66 yards.
Banks, who had an interception, a fumble recovery and nine tackles to go with his touchdown return, was named the Outstanding Defensive Player. The Hokies were credited with seven quarterback sacks in the game and allowed an Independence Bowl record-low 11 first downs, including just six during the first three quarters.