October 18, 2009
Hokies come up short against Georgia Tech
By Jimmy Robertson
(4) Virginia Tech (5-2) 0371323
(19) Georgia Tech (6-1) 0714728
  • Bobby Dodd Stadium - 54,405
  • Passing: Tyrod Taylor 159 yds
  • Rushing: Ryan Williams 100 yds
  • Receiving: Dyrell Roberts 66 yds

ATLANTAGeorgia Tech quarterback Josh Nesbitt scored three touchdowns and the Yellow Jackets recovered a late onsides kick to knock off No. 4 Virginia Tech 28-23 in front of 54,405 fans at Bobby Dodd Stadium on Saturday night.

The loss snapped Tech’s five-game winning streak and left the Hokies at 5-2 overall on the season, 3-1 in the ACC. Georgia Tech, which snapped a two-game losing streak to the Hokies, moved to 6-1 overall, 4-1 in the league.

The Yellow Jackets grabbed a 28-16 lead with three minutes left in the game when Nesbitt scored on a 39-yard run on third down with the Hokies desperately trying to force a punt. Tech still responded, going 61 yards on five plays on a drive that ended when quarterback Tyrod Taylor found Ryan Williams for a 7-yard touchdown strike. Matt Waldron’s extra point cut the Georgia Tech lead to 28-23 with 1:48 remaining.

That set up the Hokies’ onsides kick attempt. Justin Myer’s kickoff bounced high in the air, but a Georgia Tech player recovered at Tech 40 and the Yellow Jackets ran out the clock to preserve the upset.

“I think you give Georgia Tech credit,” Tech head coach Frank Beamer said. “I thought they played great. I thought their offense there at the end – and for most of the day – was hard to stop. They gave great effort and they played fast, and their quarterback did a great job.”

Nesbitt enjoyed a huge game for the Yellow Jackets, rushing for a game-high 122 yards on 23 carries. As a team, Georgia Tech – which came into the game leading the ACC in both total offense (426.7 ypg) and rushing offense (227 ypg) – finished with 309 yards on the ground, the most allowed by a Beamer-coached team since 1996 when Syracuse rushed for 338 yards. Jonathan Dwyer added 82 yards on 20 carries for Georgia Tech.

Because of their rushing attack, the Yellow Jackets held the ball for 38:22 – the third-most time of possession by a Tech opponent in the Beamer era. Georgia Tech ran the ball on 33 of its final 34 plays in the game.

“They did a couple of things a little different and we tried to adjust a little bit different,” Beamer said. “It got to be a little bit of a guessing game.

“They’ve got ability. They’re fast and Dwyer is a load. [Demaryius] Thomas is tough to match up with. They’ve got some talent on that offense. I think this is a talented, well-coached football team. We came into a tough situation and they got us. But I don’t think it was a lack of effort on our part.”

The Yellow Jackets broke open a close game by scoring on their final drive of the first half and their first drive of the second half. A Matt Waldron field goal gave the Hokies a 3-0 lead late in the first half, but the Yellow Jackets immediately answered. A 51-yard pass play from Nesbitt to Demaryius Thomas got the Yellow Jackets to the Tech 12. Four plays later – on third-and-goal from the 1 – Nesbitt bulled over for the first of his three touchdowns. Scott Blair’s extra point gave the Yellow Jackets a 7-3 lead with 32 seconds left in the first half.

To open the second half, the Yellow Jackets marched 60 yards on six plays, getting to the Tech 4 on a 31-yard run by Nesbitt. Two plays later, Nesbitt again took care of things, scoring on a 1-yard run. Blair’s extra point gave the Yellow Jackets a 14-3 lead with 12 minutes left in the third quarter.

The Hokies pulled to within 14-10 midway through the third quarter when Williams sprinted right up the middle for a 66-yard touchdown run following a Dorian Porch interception. The run, the longest of Williams’ career, and Waldron’s extra point made it a four-point game with 7:58 left in the third quarter.

But the Yellow Jackets answered Tech’s score for the second time in this one on their ensuing drive. A ground-chewing 12-play drive – all runs – ate up 86 yards and nearly seven minutes, and it ended when Marcus Wright scored on a 13-yard touchdown run. Blair’s extra point gave the Yellow Jackets a 21-10 lead with 1:37 left in the third.

The Hokies’ best drive of the game came with roughly eight minutes left in the contest. Tech went 77 yards in just six plays, scoring on a Tyrod Taylor 22-yard run. The Hokies went for two points, but failed to convert and trailed 21-16 with 4:52 remaining.

Offensively, Tech amassed 334 yards against a Georgia Tech defense that came into the game ranked 10th in the ACC in total defense (385.2 ypg). Williams – the ACC’s leading rusher at 122.3 yards per game coming into this one – recorded his fifth 100-yard performance of the year to pace the Hokies’ attack, rushing for 100 yards on 14 carries.

Taylor added 63 yards rushing and completed 10-of-14 for 159 yards and the touchdown pass to Williams. But he was also intercepted twice.

Defensively, the Hokies got 16 tackles from Barquell Rivers and 10 from Demetrius Taylor.

“I told our team that I was proud of our effort,” Beamer said. “It wasn’t for a lack of effort or not caring. Now we just need to come back and get the next one. There’s a lot of football left to be played. We just need to get back, think about the next one and go get it.”

Tech will now take a week off before returning to action on Thursday, Oct. 29, against North Carolina at Lane Stadium. Kickoff for that game is slated for 7:30 p.m.

For updates on Virginia Tech football, follow the Hokies on Twitter (@VT_Football).

For updates on the Hokies, follow Jimmy Robertson on Twitter (@jrobIHS).

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