Georgia Tech jumped out to a 14-0 start, but the defense clamped down allowing Virginia Tech to battle back and take the 23-21 win in Atlanta. The win further cements Frank Beamer's legacy of Thursday night dominance and pulls the Hokies within one win of bowl eligibility.
Here are five takeaways from the game:
Slow start: Things did not start well for Virginia Tech. On the second play from scrimmage, quarterback Justin Thomas found Ricky Jeune for a 58-yard pass that took Georgia Tech all the way down to the Hokies' 8-yard line. Two plays later, the Yellow Jackets punched it in for a touchdown. Georgia Tech would add a second touchdown later in the first quarter after a Virginia Tech fumble to take a 14-0 lead.
It looked like it was going to be a long night for the Hokies.
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Phillips rebounds: In the first quarter, wide receiver Cam Phillips hauled in a third down pass and took it 14 yards before the ball was stripped and recovered by Georgia Tech. As he was running, Phillips held the ball too far away from his body allowing it to be swatted out by a defender. The Yellow Jackets took advantage going 45 yards in eight plays to score their second touchdown and take a 14-0 lead.
That kind of play can be tough to come back from, but Phillips rebounded nicely. Virginia Tech was finally able to get on the board in the second quarter thanks in large part to a 45-yard catch from Phillips on the scoring drive. The Hokies receiver ended up leading the team in catches (six) and receiving yards (95) on the night.
Deja Ew! Quarterback Michael Brewer was plagued by inconsistent play last year, including a late interception that cost Virginia Tech against the Yellow Jackets last season. Brewer almost did it again with another horrible interception on Thursday.
With the score tied at 14 in the third quarter, Brewer had Bucky Hodges open on a crossing route but threw an awful pass a few yards behind Hodges right into the arms of linebacker Brant Mitchell. Mitchell took the interception 32 yards for the touchdown to put Georgia Tech up 21-14.
Vintage Virginia Tech defense: The Hokies were ultimately able to win this game because the defense finally looked like the dominant defense we are used to seeing from Bud Foster's unit. After giving up the two touchdowns in the first quarter, the defense clamped down, not allowing the Yellow Jackets a single offensive point the rest of the game.
Georgia Tech finished with 161 rushing yards, only the fourth time this season they have been held to fewer than 200. The defense recorded two sacks and three fumble recoveries, all three in the second half. The critical moment came in the fourth quarter when Woody Baron forced a fumble from Marcus Allen giving Virginia Tech the ball on Georgia Tech's 18-yard line. The Hokies would score the game-winning touchdown on the resulting drive.
Bowl implications: With the win, Virginia Tech now sits one win away from reaching bowl eligibility for the 23rd consecutive season. They have two games remaining. Next week, they host North Carolina (8-1) in Beamer's final game in Blacksburg. The following week, they head to Charlottesville to face rival Virginia (3-6). Had the Hokies lost, they would have needed to win both of their final games to keep the streak alive. The win now gives Virginia Tech a bit more breathing room with one very winnable game left to play.
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