October 8, 2011
Thomas' TD in final minute rallies Tech past Miami
By Jimmy Robertson
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Miami (2-3) 0772135
(21) Virginia Tech (5-1) 71431438
  • Lane/Worsham Field - 66,233
  • Passing: Logan Thomas 310 yds
  • Rushing: David Wilson 128 yds
  • Receiving: Jarrett Boykin 120 yds

BLACKSBURG – In a game that featured 73 points and more than 1,000 yards of total offense combined, Virginia Tech got a touchdown from quarterback Logan Thomas with under a minute remaining, and Tech’s defense held on Miami’s last possession to enable the Hokies to escape with a 38-35 win in a wild ACC game played Saturday afternoon at Lane Stadium.

With the win, Tech moved to 5-1 overall on the season and 1-1 in the ACC. The Hokies beat Miami (2-3, 0-2 ACC) for the third straight time and for the seventh time in the past nine meetings between the two schools.

“This is a great win for Virginia Tech,” Tech head coach Frank Beamer said. “And the way it came about, too. I think it said a lot about the people on this football team.”

The ’Canes appeared poised for the upset after rallying from a 10-point, fourth-quarter deficit to take a 35-31 lead on a 30-yard touchdown run by Lamar Miller with 2:51 remaining. But behind Thomas, the Hokies responded.

Thomas, a 6-foot-6, 254-pound redshirt sophomore, guided the Hokies on an eight-play, 77-yard march and got Tech inside the Miami 20. David Wilson’s 2-yard run on third-and-3 left Tech facing fourth-and-1 from the Miami 19.

Tech’s staff called a timeout with 1:01 remaining and dialed up a play for Thomas, who faked to tailback David Wilson and burst through a hole 19 yards into the end zone for the touchdown with 56 seconds left in the game.

“There really wasn’t a read there,” Thomas said of the play. “Coach [Mike] O’Cain called my number, and everyone was like, ‘Let’s go get this one [yard].’ Everything in my mindset was to get two yards and get going. I stepped through a hole and nothing was there. I guess the rest is history.”

On the ensuing possession, Miami started at its own 30 and drove to its 45. But three straight incomplete passes by quarterback Jacory Harris left the ’Canes facing fourth-and-10 from the 45. On fourth down, Harris threw a short pass to Miller, who was tackled for an 8-yard gain by back-up whip linebacker Alonzo Tweedy as time expired.

That marked the only time Tech’s defense stopped Miami in the second half, as the ’Canes first four drives of the second half went for touchdowns. Miami finished with 519 yards of total offense.

I want to talk about our offense,” Beamer said to the media, jokingly. “You guys have written a lot about our offense. I want to see you write about it tomorrow, too.”

Tech’s offense, indeed, was the story. Coming off a game against Clemson in which the Hokies amassed just 258 yards and three points, they filled the stat pages against Miami.

Led by Thomas, Tech finished with 482 yards and scored five touchdowns and a field goal. Thomas was nearly flawless, completing 23 of 25 for 310 yards and three touchdowns – and one of his incomplete passes was a drop. His 92-percent completion rate sets a record for a quarterback under Beamer.

For good measure, he also rushed for two touchdowns.

“I didn’t envision that at all,” Thomas said of his performance. “I said I’d like to get better, but I wasn’t expecting this much better. I’m just blessed and honored to have it [that performance].”

“He’s made out of the right stuff,” Beamer said of Thomas. “I always thought he was. I always knew he was. He’s poised. He’s tough. He’s under control. He’s talented. He’s a great leader and a guy you want leading your football team. I thought he showed all those things tonight.”

Thomas threw touchdown passes of 40 yards to Danny Coale, 3 yards to Wilson and 60 yards to Jarrett Boykin. The long one to Boykin came with 12:05 left in the game and gave the Hokies a 31-21 lead.

But Miami responded by going 90 yards in seven plays, cutting the lead to 31-28 on a 16-yard touchdown pass from Phillip Dorsett to Miller on a trick play. After stopping Tech on three-and-out on the Hokies’ next possession, Miami then marched 42 yards in six plays, taking the lead on Miller’s 30-yard touchdown run with under three minutes to go.

Miller and Harris took advantage of a battered Tech defense, which lost starting defensive tackle Antoine Hopkins to a torn ACL last week against Clemson and then starters James Gayle and Jeron Gouveia-Winslow to ankle injuries early in this game. Miller rushed for 166 yards on 18 carries, while Harris completed 13 of 21 for 267 yards and three touchdowns.

“For some reason, they had one extra guy, and they were blocking the back side differently,” Tech safety Eddie Whitley said of Miami’s rushing attack. “That made a hole. So we’ve got to look at film and make the corrections.”

Beamer agreed.

“We had a couple of guys down [with injuries], and then we’ve got to study this a little bit,” he said. “They were blocking out on the back side and waiting for that thing to cut back. We need to get another guy down there.”

But Miami didn’t quite have enough to overcome Thomas and Wilson, who rushed for 128 yards on 23 carries.

“We talked after the game last week [a loss to Clemson] that this [the Miami game] was the most important game we had going forward,” Thomas said. “Going 0-2 in the ACC … that would have been hard to come out of that hole and make it back to Charlotte [for the ACC title game]. We had to get this one, and we’ve got to go get the rest of them from here on out.”

The Hokies now hit the road for their next game, traveling to Winston-Salem, N.C., next Saturday for a conference game with Wake Forest. Kickoff time is slated for 6:30 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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