2008 Orange Bowl
(8) Kansas (12-1) 7100724
(5) Virginia Tech (11-3) 077721
  • Miami Gardens, FL - 74,111
  • Passing: Sean Glennon 160 yds
  • Rushing: Branden Ore 116 yds
  • Receiving: Justin Harper 64 yds

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. - The Virginia Tech Hokies trimmed a 17-point first-half deficit to three points in the second half, but couldn't quite get over the hump, falling to the Kansas Jayhawks 24-21 in the Orange Bowl played at Dolphin Stadium on Thursday night.

With the loss, Tech's season ended at 11-3 overall, and the Hokies saw their five-game winning streak snapped. Kansas finished its season with a 12-1 record.

It certainly was not the best of evenings for the Hokies. Tech turned the ball over three times and those three turnovers led to 17 Kansas points. The Hokies also had a field goal blocked, allowed a first down on a fake punt that ultimately led to a score, and gave up five sacks.

"The game just didn't fit right," Tech head coach Frank Beamer said. "About the time you have it going, something else happens ... It was just one of those games that didn't fit. They made a few plays and we made a few - and missed a lot.

"We turned a guy loose on a punt and they get a first down. We get a field goal blocked. It was just not very good stuff by Virginia Tech. It was not very good execution."

Yet despite all that and falling behind 17-0, the Hokies rallied to cut the lead to 17-14 early in the third quarter on an 84-yard punt return by Justin Harper. After forcing the Jayhawks to punt on their ensuing possession, Tech then drove the field and had a chance to tie the game.

But Kansas' Joe Mortenson made a huge play in the game. He knifed in and blocked a 25-yard field-goal attempt by Tech's Jud Dunlevy, and that play switched the momentum.

"I wanted to go for a first down there and then they [the officials] measured it and it was going to be a long 1," Beamer said. "But we had the momentum, and I thought, 'Let's get it tied up and take it from there.' Daggone if we didn't get it blocked."

Things then went totally awry early in the fourth quarter. Tech quarterback Sean Glennon threw into coverage, with the Hokies deep in their own territory, and Kansas' Justin Thornton came up with the interception. Thornton returned the ball to the Tech 1, and on the next play, quarterback Todd Reesing scored on a 2-yard run that gave the Jayhawks a 24-14 lead with less than 11 minutes to play.

Tech cut the lead to 24-21 on a 20-yard touchdown pass from Glennon to Harper with three minutes remaining. But an onsides kick failed, and then, Tech's defense couldn't get off the field. Kansas drove to the Tech 1 before Reesing took a knee to run off the final seconds.

Glennon completed 13-of-28 for 160 yards and the one touchdown, but had two interceptions. Tyrod Taylor also threw an interception - one that was returned 60 yards for a touchdown by Kansas' Aqib Talib in the first quarter.

"You can't expect to win a BCS game if you don't win the turnover battle," Glennon said. "We gave away a few. We put our defense in a bind because we were giving up a lot of field position. As the leader, I take a lot of responsibility for that because, as an offense, we have to put more points on the board. We didn't do that today."

Branden Ore, who was suspended for the first quarter of the game after being tardy to a bowl practice in Blacksburg before Christmas, paced Tech's attack with 116 yards and a touchdown. The performance marked just the second time this season he's topped the 100-yard mark.

Kansas got a nice game from Reesing, its sophomore quarterback. He completed 20-of-37 for 227 yards, with a touchdown and an interception. He also rushed for a touchdown. As an offense, Kansas finished with 344 total yards.

The game marked the end of the careers of 20 Tech seniors, who still leave as the winningest class in school history. They finished their careers with a 42-11 overall record.