November 11, 2011
Thomas rallies Hokies in second half past Georgia Tech
By Jimmy Robertson
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(10) Virginia Tech (9-1) 02161037
(20) Georgia Tech (7-3) 7613026
  • Bobby Dodd Stadium - 50,140
  • Passing: Logan Thomas 209 yds
  • Rushing: David Wilson 175 yds
  • Receiving: Danny Coale 97 yds

ATLANTA – Virginia Tech quarterback Logan Thomas threw three touchdown passes and ran for two others, as the Hokies scored the final 16 points of the game en route to a huge 37-26 road victory over Georgia Tech in an ACC game played Thursday night in Atlanta.

With the win, Virginia Tech moved to 9-1 overall on the season, 5-1 in the ACC. More importantly, the Hokiest took control of the Coastal Division race, as Georgia Tech fell to 7-3 overall, 4-3 in the league.

“When you get to November, you want to be playing for something,” Tech head coach Frank Beamer said. “You want to be playing for championships. These guys [Virginia Tech’s players and coaches] have put us in that position. That’s where you want to be. To come in here and win this football game was critical. I can promise you that.”

Tech, which extended its ACC-record road winning streak to 12 games, led by 11 in the second quarter, but saw the Yellow Jackets score 16 straight to take the lead. Tevin Washington’s 1-yard run – his third rushing touchdown of the game – with 4:29 left in the third quarter gave the Yellow Jackets a 26-21 bulge.

But the Hokies responded on their next possession, getting a huge gift from Yellow Jacket linebacker Jeremiah Attaochu when he punched Thomas after sacking him on third-and-19. The personal foul penalty gave the Hokies a first down, and Virginia Tech went on to score on the drive when Thomas took it in from 12 yards out. The Hokies’ attempt for two points failed, but Virginia Tech still led 27-26 with 32 seconds remaining in the third quarter.

“It gets down to a couple of plays in a ball game, and that was certainly one of them right there,” Beamer said of the personal foul on Attaochu. “You can go back and talk about a couple of different plays, but that was certainly one of them right there.”

Virginia Tech’s defense, strong most of the night, then made the play of the game on the Yellow Jackets’ next possession. Georgia Tech faced a fourth-and-1 from its own 31, and Yellow Jackets’ head coach Paul Johnson elected to go for it. But Virginia Tech’s Derrick Hopkins stuffed the hole and Washington on a quarterback sneak, and the Hokies took over on downs.

That led to a seven-play drive that ended when Thomas found tight end Chris Drager for a 14-yard touchdown – the first of Drager’s career. Cody Journell’s extra point gave the Hokies a 34-26 lead with 9:49 left in the game.

“I just had to get low and try to stall him,” Hopkins said of the fourth-down play. “It was either going to be the sneak or the fullback dive. I had to get low and hope a linebacker would help stop him.

“I wasn’t stunned they went for it. That’s their offense.”

After Virginia Tech’s touchdown, the Hokies’ defense then stopped Georgia Tech on three straight downs, forcing the Yellow Jackets to punt. Virginia Tech then put the game away, driving to the Georgia Tech 6 and settling for a 23-yard field goal from Journell that sealed the game with 3:02 remaining.

“This one was huge, definitely,” Thomas said. “But the next two mean just as much. We’ll cherish this one for tonight, and then on Saturday, we’ll be back on our grind and getting ready for North Carolina.

“Everyone knew what was at stake tonight. We just went out there and battled. I think that drove us more. Us younger guys, we did it for the seniors because we know how hard they’ve worked and how much they wanted it.”

Behind Thomas and tailback David Wilson, the Hokiest piled up 476 yards of total offense. Thomas completed 7 of 13 for 209 yards and three touchdowns, and he also rushed for 70 yards and two touchdowns. Wilson carried the ball 23 times for a career-high 175 yards.

Virginia Tech rushed for 267 yards as a team, while Georgia Tech rushed for 243 yards. The game marked just the fourth time in Johnson’s tenure that the Yellow Jackets had been out-rushed.

“We feel like we can run that ball, too,” Beamer said. “We’ve got some guys who can carry it. But that’s a good stat to have – to out-rush Georgia Tech.”

The Hokies continue their run toward a Coastal Division crown next Thursday night when they take on North Carolina on Senior Night at Lane Stadium. The kickoff is slated for 8 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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