December 15, 2017

Virginia Tech: Hokies Win Beamer’s Final Techmo Bowl

It wasn’t pretty, but the Hokies managed to begin the Frank Beamer retirement tour on a bright note, securing a victory in the annual and heated Techmo Bowl, pulling out a 23-21 victory to move to 5-6 on the season. The Hokies defense was able to hold the Yellow Jackets to only 161 yards on the ground and secure three second half turnovers to allow the Tech offense to do just enough to win.

This was a game of contrasts, Cam Phillips had the best night of his career, catching 6 passes for 95 yards and having one rush for 24 yards, but he also had a fumble that snuffed out some early momentum for the Hokies. Quarterback Michael Brewer made a beautiful touchdown pass to Isaiah Ford at the end of the half to tie the game at 14, but he also threw a horrific interception for an easy Yellow Jacket Pick Six to put the Hokies back down 21-14. Joey Slye nailed a 29-yard field goal and was 4/5 on touchbacks, but he also missed a 40-yard field goal and an extra point that made it a two point game rather than three.

In the end though the Hokies defense took over, stifling a tricky Georgia Tech offense for what was easily their best performance of the season. It wasn’t a perfect night, with a 58-yard pass on the second play of the game setting up a touchdown and a couple offsides penalties extending Yellow Jacket drives, but they got the job done in the second half.

After Brewer’s Pick Six to open the quarter the Yellow Jacket drives ended like so: fumble, punt, fumble, fumble, punt. The last fumble set up Travon McMillian’s four yard touchdown run that put the Hokies up 23-21. McMillian had his fourth straight 100-yard game, putting up 135 yards on 24 carries shining brightly as a star in the making.

That still left seven minutes for the Yellow Jackets to take the lead. And after a botched first attempt ended in a punt and the Hokies went three and out Georgia Tech took over with four minutes left for their game winning drive. A bad penalty by Deon Clarke moved the Yellow Jackets to near midfield and a 13 yard pass got the Jackets on the cusp of field goal position. However, the Hokies defense stood strong once more, stuffing Thomas on second down where a scrum broke out leading to a 15-yard penalty on the Yellow Jackets. A third down sack by Ken Ekanem put the game down to 4th and 27 where a Justin Thomas pass fluttered harmlessly to the ground to secure the victory for the Hokies.

The Hokie defense finished the night with the three turnovers, seven tackles for a loss, two sacks and holding Georgia Tech to just 5-12 on third down conversions. This isn’t the Georgia Tech offense that was expected at the start of the season, but it was a great, complete performance to start off the last three games of Frank Beamer’s career. It was also key for their hopes of keeping the 22 year bowl game streak alive; at 5-5 the Hokies now just need to win one game against the surprisingly competent North Carolina Tar Heels and perpetual doormat Virginia Cavaliers, a much easier task than going for the sweep.

About James O'Hara

James O’Hara is a Contributor to District Sports Page covering Virginia Tech football. James is a 2014 graduate of Tech and a diehard Hokie fan. He has serious nostalgia for Blacksburg and always gets pumped up by the opening bars of “Enter Sandman”. James also writes about the Nationals for Citizens of NatsTown and general MLB for the Washington Post Fancy Stats blog. Follow him on Twitter @nextyeardc.

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