November 9, 2012
Hokies find themselves in must-win situation to extend bowl streak
By Marc Mullen

BLACKSBURG - The writing is certainly on the wall. For the Virginia Tech football team to continue its streak of bowl appearances, which currently stands at 19 straight, the Hokies will need to win their final two regular-season games to reach a .500 record and be considered bowl eligible.

Of course, a 6-6 record doesn’t automatically mean a trip to the postseason, but one would be hard pressed to think the Hokies wouldn’t find a spot in one of the ACC bowl slots. After all, North Carolina is not eligible for postseason after running a-foul of the NCAA, and Miami, with the NCAA hounds all over it, is contemplating a preemptive strike and sitting out the postseason.

Considering their most recent 28-22 loss to No. 8 Florida State, the Hokies have found themselves on the verge of victory for a second time this season only to see their opponent score in the final minute of the game to snatch away the win. Rashad Greene’s 39-yard touchdown reception from EJ Manuel with 40 seconds left for the Seminoles provided the difference in Thursday night’s loss after the Hokies had just taken a lead. The score came after the Tech defense had stifled the Florida State offense for much of the second half.

“We lived all night with bringing the pressure, and I think that was the thing you do [on that final drive],” Tech head coach Frank Beamer said. “They ended up rubbing off on the backside and getting us picked off and then had a guy running free [for the winning score].”

Now, Tech will turn its attention to Boston College and its game in Chestnut Hill, Mass., a week from Saturday. Despite the Eagles’ 2-7 record, none of the Hokies will take the game for granted, especially since they are just 1-2 at BC as members of the ACC.

“We’ve experienced some things this year that guys haven’t experienced around here in quite awhile,” Beamer said. “But it’s never been for lack of effort. Our kids have hung in there and battled.

“I think going up to Boston College, especially this time of year, is going to be a challenge. We’ve got to win that one to have a chance to go to a bowl game. So that becomes a critical one and I’ve called on our kids to battle again.

“I know this – there’s been no quit in anybody in our program and that’s what I’m counting on now, because we’ve got another tough one coming up.”

Thursday night’s numbers back up Beamer’s thoughts, as efforts of guys battling could be seen the entire night. It could be seen in Corey Fuller’s seven-catch, 124-yard receiving night, or when Tony Gregory or J.C. Coleman fought for extra rushing yards or in their yards after catches on passes out of the backfield.

It was clearly evident on the defensive side of the ball as well, as the Hokies come up with five sacks, 12 tackles for loss, six pass break-ups and a critical safety in the fourth quarter.

But the attitude of a team has to take a hit with such a devastating loss and such a tough task ahead.

“Obviously, its tough,” Tech quarterback Logan Thomas said. “We’re going up to play a good Boston College team in the freezing cold, and you just have to have the right mindset and be ready to go. After a loss like this, the first thing you want to do is get back on the field, and that’s the way I feel and I hope that’s the way the other guys feel.”

Knowing that their next two games are must-wins, the Hokies have to feel the pressure. However, their quarterback doesn’t think there will be desperation in his team.

“I don’t think things change,” he said. “We’ll go out there and prepare this week like we’ve prepared every other week. We go out to practice and give it our all. Work as hard as we possibly can, and eventually that hard work is going to pay off.

“We know we got to get these next two, but I think that will help motivate us and help push us to be stronger.”

One thing is for sure, if Tech does get the first one – a win at Boston College next Saturday – a jam-packed Lane Stadium should certainly be waiting for the Hokies, as they take on rival Virginia in a final must-win game to extend the streak.

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

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