For Virginia Tech fans last night’s Sugar Bowl loss will sting for a while. In a game that went back and forth with the lead changing hands while players and coaches matched each other step for step, the Hokies consistently put themselves in losing situations. Ultimately paying for it in the end, losing 23-20 in OT.
I’ll try to make it simple. Looking at the statistics from last nights game the Hokies should’ve won by 2+ touchdowns:
- The Hokies out gained the Wolverines 377 to 184 in Total Yards.
- The Hokies possessed the ball nearly 37 minutes to Michigans 23.
- The Hokies converted 22 first downs, the Wolverines converted 12.
- The Hokies held Michigan to 53 rushing yards while gaining 163.
If you looked at those stats objectively not knowing the outcome of the game you’d put your money on Virginia Tech, right? You’d say, damn Michigan barely moved the ball at all while VT marched up and down the field all night. The Hokies won! Sadly, the stats don’t tell the whole story.
- While marching down the field the Hokies had to settle for four field goals in regulation, leaving points on the field all night.
- For all of Michigans struggles offensively they had 2 touchdowns to the Hokies 1.
- The Hokies were 1-3 on 4th down, the Wolverines were 1-1.
- The Hokies committed 68 yards of penalties and had two turnovers that repeatedly set Michigan up with good field position.
What may have doomed the Hokies most was Head Coach Frank Beamers’ call for a fake punt late in the fourth quarter. Instead of punting the ball away to the struggling Michigan offense Beamer gambled faking the punt and not converting. Michigan only had to gain 23 yards after Beamers poor decision to kick the go-ahead field goal, making the score 20-17 with four minutes remaining.
Logan Thomas would lead the Hokies down the field again, marching them down the field again through the Michigan defense that continually bent but didn’t break. They would tie the game at 20 on third-string place kicker Justin Myers’ fourth field goal of the night and went in OT with momentum.
Virginia Tech would get the ball to start the overtime period. On 3rd down Thomas threw to the back of the end zone where Danny Coale (8 rec. for 117 yards) appeared to make a sensational one-handed catch. The play would be reviewed and the touchdown would be called back after it was determined Coale was out of bounds when he possessed the ball.
Tech would then try a 37-yard field goal and miss wide right. Michigan would run three running plays, center the ball, and kicker Brendan Gibbons would nail his 37-yard attempt giving Michigan the win and sending the Hokies home, now 1-5 all-time in BCS games.
Has Michigan put themselves back on the map? Will Virginia Tech rebound and compete for yet another ACC crown next season? How long will Frank Beamer remain the head coach of the Hokies? Even with the season ending for both of these teams there are more questions than answers.
I’ll touch on the future of the Tech program and the season recap with my next and final Virginia Tech post.
Again the Hokies go home losers in a BCS game. Again their season ends with the other team celebrating as confetti falls. Virginia Tech has been the bright light in the ACC for the last decade but as they’ve continually fallen short of their ultimate prize one begins to wonder if their window has begun to close.
Congratulations to the Michigan Wolverines, 2012 AllState Sugar Bowl Champions. Virginia Tech may have blown the game but you guys still had to win it.
About the Author
Written by Frank Sullivan
Frank is a graduate of Old Dominion University, sports fan, author, and founder of TheBloosh.com. He's been working with prosportsblogging.com since April 2011, and has covered the Chicago Bulls, Baltimore Ravens, Virginia Tech Hokies Football, and the Washington Wizards. Frank can be reached @franksullivan on twitter.