Hokies Put Together A Complete Game In Military Bowl Victory

Dubbed the “Babcock Bowl” for Virginia Tech AD Whit Babcock’s ties to both Virginia Tech and Cincinnati, this game offered a lot of ugly football, with a few flashes of brilliance. For anyone who followed Virginia Tech Football this season, the Military Bowl was a microcosm of the entire year.

On the opening drive, Cincy QB Gunner Kiel had receivers running wide-open all over the field. A missed opportunity in the end-zone and a drop on 3rd down stalled the drive, leading to a missed 50 yard Field Goal attempt. Hokie fans have seen too much of that this year. Though the defensive sequence was in keeping with the Hokies leading FBS in opponents 3rd down conversion rate.

Keeping with the season trend, VT’s offense found no success on the ground early on, and Michael Brewer got sacked on his first 3rd down attempt. Rather than step up into a fairly clean pocket, or scramble forward for the first down, Brewer tried to escape backdoor and in doing so, ran into the teeth of the pass rush.

After Cincinnati found some success in their 2nd drive, Kendall Fuller, in perfect coverage, high-pointed the football in the end-zone for the interception. On the resulting VT drive, J.C. Coleman exploded for a 35 yard run on the strength of a Wyatt Teller block on the left end. In true 2014 Hokie fashion, Brewer handed the ball back to Cincinnati on a terrible read, throwing the ball into the waiting arms of Cincy safety Zach Edwards. Kiel then shredded the Tech defense eventually finding Chris Moore for a 31 yard TD. At this point it looked as though the Hokies were in real trouble.

A reverse pass from Isaiah Ford to Michael Brewer got the Hokies down to the Cincy two yard line and the Hokies were back in business. J.C. Coleman finished off the drive and the game was tied at 7-7. A little while later, Chuck Clark found redemption, pulling in a one-handed interception, leading to a 45 yard Field Goal by Joey Slye. 10-7 Hokies.

As the first half wound down, Cincinnati drove from their own 7 yard-line to the VT 7 yard-line, where, once again, the Tech D stiffened, holding Cincy to a field goal, tying the game at 10 apiece, with 36 seconds left. Then the play that changed the entire complexion of the game occurred. All season long, Hokie fans have wondered why Beamer continued to allow Dmitri Knowles to field kick-offs. Today, we saw Der’woun Greene, and he did not disappoint. His 46 yard return allowed the Hokies to get in position for a 49 yard FG attempt, and Joey Slye slipped it just inside the right upright, giving the Hokies a 13-10 Halftime lead. A rare product of a diminishing Special Teams unit that was once dubbed VT’s “pride and joy”.

The 1st half was a reminder of everything that disappointed Virginia Tech fans this season, from a weak running game, to an inconsistent QB, to a defense that gave up more than its share of big plays. However, the team continued to fight and showed toughness, much like they did in the regular season.

In the 2nd half, Virginia Tech exorcised their demons, and put up an impressive performance that Hokie Nation had been waiting for. Tech found their running game, rushing for more yards on their first drive of the 2nd half than the entire first half. VT ended their drive with a TD pass to Ryan Malleck from a yard out to push their lead to 20-10.

Then in what could be debatable as the play of the game the Hokie defensedecided they wanted to score. Deon Clarke came on a blitz unabated, and just obliterated the dangerous Kiel, knocking him out of the game and forcing a fumble, which was recovered by Nigel Williams. Williams coughed up the ball during his fumble return, but the ball was picked up by Greg Stroman who took it the rest of the way for a score. At this point, the game was essentially over. Cincinnati struggled to find an answer at QB and Virginia Tech played methodical clock-draining football, running into piles and eating up 3 minutes a drive.

Remaining highlights:

Joey Slye kicked 2 more FG’s (38, 33) giving him 4 on the day and the Military Bowl record.

Chris Moore caught another TD for Cincy, finishing with 103 yards and 2 TD’s.

Cincinnati attempted an onside kick with the score at 30-17 and 10:30 left in the game. They failed to recover and never managed to put together any more of a comeback the rest of the game, leaving the final score 33-17 Virginia Tech.

This win held a lot of significance for Virginia Tech, as they cemented their 22nd straight winning season. Also of significance, is a growing concern in certain circles of the fan base, that Beamer’s health may factor into decisions made this off-season. If these concerns turn out to be well-founded, then at least Coach Beamer will have gone out as a winner in his final game, with the added joy of watching his son, victoriously, shaking Tommy Tuberville’s hand in the middle of the field.

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