Tech scores 22 points in final six minutes to rally past Yellow Jackets
By Jimmy Robertson
October 29, 2004

ATLANTA - Virginia Tech scored 22 points in the final six minutes of the game to rally from a 14-0 deficit and stun Georgia Tech 34-20 in an ACC game played in front of more than 48,000 fans at Bobby Dodd Stadium in Atlanta.

With the win, the Hokies - ranked No. 22 in both polls heading into the game - improved to 6-2 on the season, 3-1 in the ACC. Georgia Tech fell to 4-3 overall, 3-3 in the league.

The 25 points in the fourth quarter marked the most fourth-quarter points ever scored by a Frank Beamer team, surpassing the 23 points the Hokies scored against Miami in the fourth quarter in 1999. This game also marked the first time the Hokies have scored at least 30 points in a game and failed to rush for a touchdown since 1981 when they beat Wake Forest 30-14.

The comeback was Tech's first fourth-quarter comeback since 2000 when then reserve quarterback Dave Meyer rallied the Hokies from a 34-27 deficit to a 37-34 over Pittsburgh.

Tech appeared to be down for the count after failing to score a touchdown on first-and-goal from the 1, settling for a 30-yard field goal by Brandon Pace to cut Georgia Tech's lead to 17-12 with 11:11 left in the game. And making matters worse, Georgia Tech immediately drove down the field, taking five minutes off the clock, and getting a 34-yard field goal by kicker Travis Bell to take a 20-12 lead with 5:28 left in the game.

But the Hokies' offense finally got the spark it needed on its ensuing possession. On first-and-10 from the 20, Tech quarterback Bryan Randall tossed a pass to receiver Eddie Royal and the freshman cut across the field, sprinting 80 yards for the touchdown.

That marked the biggest play by Tech's offense this season.

"I couldn't believe I was that open," Royal said. "I just focused on catching the ball because so many times in those situations you see people drop the ball. I just caught it and took off toward the end zone. I knew we needed to make a big play and I was fortunate."

The Hokies then went for two points to tie the game and got it when Randall found Richard Johnson all alone in the end zone. The score and the two points tied the game at 20.

Tech's defense forced Georgia Tech to go three-and-out on the Yellow Jackets' next possession. And then the Hokies wasted little time in scoring again. On the third play of the drive, Randall read Georgia Tech's blitz and found a wide-open Josh Morgan, who went 51 yards for what turned out to be the game-winning touchdown.

The Hokies later tacked on another score when Roland Minor returned an interception 64 yards for a touchdown with 56 seconds left to account for the final margin.

"We got some big plays there at the end of the game," Tech head coach Frank Beamer said. "It was almost like it was meant to be. Of course, there for a while, I thought it wasn't meant to be.

"This is one of those wins that is great for our football program and I hope we can build upon it. The way we did it, the way we never gave up and the way we had some big-time players make some big-time plays. I'm just really proud of the way we hung in there and beat a good Georgia Tech team."

Randall, who notched the first fourth-quarter comeback of his career, led Tech's offense, completing 18-of-31 for 304 yards, with three touchdowns and an interception. Three Tech receivers finished with at least 65 yards in receiving - David Clowney (four catches, 65 yards), Royal (three catches, 91 yards) and Morgan (two catches, 79 yards).

After a shaky first half, the Hokies' defense settled down in the second half and only allowed 136 yards. More importantly, the defense gave up just the 34-yard field goal by Bell in the final 30 minutes.

The Hokies now get ready for another ACC road game, this one at North Carolina. The Hokies play the Tar Heels on Nov. 6th in Chapel Hill, N.C. The kickoff time has yet to be scheduled.