NCAA

Hokies survive thriller vs. Georgia Tech

Hokies survive thriller vs. Georgia Tech

BLACKSBURG, Va. (AP) -- Cody Journell knew why he'd missed a critical earlier field goal try.

He was delighted to get a chance to show it when he got another opportunity.

Journell kicked a 41-yard field goal as time expired to force overtime, then made a 17-yard field goal in the extra period to give No. 16 Virginia Tech a 20-17 victory against Georgia Tech on Monday night.

"I really just try to clear my head of everything whenever I'm out on the field," said Journell, who earlier missed from 38 yards. "I just tried to let everything go and do what I needed to do."

The kicks rescued the Hokies from another crushing season-opening loss.

They lost to East Carolina in their 2008 opener, Alabama in 2009 and Boise State in 2010, and in a season where some view them as national championship contenders, they couldn't afford to start with a loss to an Atlantic Coast Conference division foe.

It seemed fitting to Hokies coach Frank Beamer that Journell came through. Last season, he missed the Sugar Bowl while serving a suspension for his arrest on felony breaking and entering charges. He later pleaded guilty to misdemeanor trespassing, and was reinstated under conditions set by athletic director Jim Weaver.

"Cody made a big mistake and I thought he paid a tremendous price," Beamer said. "But I think he knows that this is his family and we're all pulling for him."

Journell wasn't the only star for the Hokies, but he was the biggest after what he said was his first career game-winner.

"He kicked a big one there tonight," Beamer said. "And that last one, that's not an easy one with the pressure."

Georgia Tech got the ball first in overtime, but quarterback Tevin Washington threw the ball away under pressure on third down and was intercepted by Kyle Fuller.

Washington's 10-yard scoring pass with 44 seconds left in regulation had given the Yellow Jackets a 17-14 lead before Logan Thomas then drove the Hokies for Journell's 41-yarder.

After Washington's turnover, the only one in the game, the Hokies got runs of 6 and 18 yards from Michael Holmes on the first two plays to set up the winner.

"I thought we hung in there great," Beamer said. "Those guys know what they're doing. They're tough all game. It's a right-at-you ballgame."

The Hokies trailed 17-14 until Journell made his first kick, depriving Washington of the comeback win in regulation.

Georgia Tech's run-first quarterback hit Deon Hill with a 10-yard touchdown pass in the final minute, stunning the sellout crowd.

Four plays earlier, Washington was flushed from the pocket on a fourth-and-6 play from the Hokies 37, and after eluding a pass rusher, he found B.J. Bostic with three defenders around him for a 19-yard gain on the right sideline to keep the drive alive.

"He made some great plays on the last drive in regulation," Yellow Jackets coach Paul Johnson, who is 1-4 against the Hokies, said of his QB.

The Hokies, who had gone ahead 14-10 on Thomas' 42-yard scoring pass to Demitri Knowles with 7:46 to play, got the ball back and drove to the Yellow Jackets 24 with 6 seconds remaining.

Georgia Tech used a timeout to try to ice Journell, but his kick sailed through the uprights to tie it at 17.

Fans, most of whom came clad in orange, didn't even wait for the officials to signal the kick good, but took their cues from the reactions of those with a better view and were already celebrating having scored more points in the last 7:46 than the first 52:14.

Before the offensive flurry in the fourth quarter, the game was a punting contest that turned on a punt that went awry.

Georgia Tech had managed just two first downs when Hokies freshman punter A.J. Hughes set them up with a mistake.

Dropped back in punt formation near midfield, he let a snap go through his hands and scrambled to fall on it for a 22-yard loss.

That put the Yellow Jackets at the Hokies 24, and three runs tied it. On the 12-yard touchdown, Robert Godhigh went wide around the left side, dodged defenders, broke several tackles and scored easily, making it 7-7.

The mistake seemed to knock the Hokies off their stride, and neither team threatened the rest of the half.

The Yellow Jackets finally started moving the ball and went ahead 10-7 on a 34-yard field goal by David Scully to start the fourth quarter. The score came after a 15-play, 56-yard drive that not only took 7:18 off the clock, but included three short third-down conversions and left the Hokies defenders looking as if the high humidity was finally starting to wear them down.

After falling behind, Thomas and the offense finally gave the defense a break, driving from their 23 to the Yellow Jackets 21 in 11 plays, but Journell missed the attempt.

The rested Hokies didn't let it keep them down long, holding the Yellow Jackets and forcing a punt.

This time, Thomas worked quickly. He hit Marcus Davis for 35 yards on second down, and when Davis fumbled the ball at the end of the run, Corey Fuller recovered at the Yellow Jackets 42.

On the next play, Thomas hit speedy wide receiver Demitri Knowles for the touchdown in the right corner, his first career reception.

Knowles beat Rod Sweeting, who also was called for pass interference on the play.

The Hokies had the upper hand early, moving the ball and stopping the Yellow Jackets on three plays on their first series.

Thomas did the bulk of the work for the Hokies, running 4 yards for a first down on a third-and-2 play, and hitting Kyle Fuller for 12 yards on third-and-11 from the Georgia Tech 34.

After two runs by Holmes for 17 yards, Thomas floated a touch pass over the Yellow Jackets defense to Eric Martin for a touchdown and a 7-0 lead.

Guy drops 29 points in Virginia's win over VCU

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USA Today Sports Images

Guy drops 29 points in Virginia's win over VCU

Kyle Guy scored 29 points and hit two 3-pointers in the final three minutes Friday, leading Virginia to a 76-67 victory against VCU.

Ty Jerome also hit from long range in the closing minutes and Virginia (3-0) saw its lead trimmed to three at 63-60 with five minutes left. Neither team scored for the next two minutes before Guy came off a screen right in front of the Cavaliers' and doubled their lead.

Issac Vann made it 66-62 with a driving basket for VCU (2-1), but Guy hit a pair of free throws and Jerome followed with a 3-pointer.

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Jerome added 13 points and seven assists for Virginia.

Vann led VCU with 19 points, Johnny Williams had 14 and Khris Lane 12.

THE BIG PICTURE

Virginia: The Cavaliers had little trouble with VCU's pressure, turning the ball over just five times and outscoring the Rams 12-5 off turnovers. They also outscored the Rams 18-0 on fast break points, but they were beaten on the backboards 36-26.

VCU: The Rams averaged 94.5 points in their first two games, but are still working to integrate what first-year coach Mike Rhoades wants them to do on offense and defense. Johnny Williams can be a force driving to the basket, and transfer Vann gives them another quality 3-point shooter.

UP NEXT

Virginia is at home on Sunday against Monmouth.

VCU faces Marquette in the Maui Invitational on Monday.

Saint Louis tops Virginia Tech behind Bess' 22 points

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Saint Louis tops Virginia Tech behind Bess' 22 points

NEW YORK -- Character was the theme espoused by Saint Louis coach Travis Ford and Virginia Tech coach Buzz Williams.

Ford praised his team's ethos, as opposed to Williams, who wondered about his squad's makeup.

"What haunts me is our character was revealed in how we played," Williams said after Saint Louis topped Virginia Tech, 77-71, in the opening round of the 2K Classic on Thursday night.

"This was the first time I was caught off-guard," Williams said.

Javon Bess scored 22 points and Jordan Goodwin added 19 for Saint Louis (3-0).

"All week in practice we worked on getting back in transition," Goodwin said. "Make sure we help each other out. We take pride in our defense. Sometimes the offense might not go but every night we guard we're going to be there every play."

Despite getting a career-high 26 points from Ahmed Hill, Virginia Tech fell to 2-1. Justin Bibbs scored 15 in his first game of the season after sitting out the first two games for disciplinary reasons. Kerry Blackshear Jr. added 10 before fouling out.

"They were tougher than us from start to finish," Williams said. "I didn't think we were ever in the fight. I don't think we were ever in the mix."

The eighth all-time matchup between the Atlantic 10 and Atlantic Coast Conference programs was taut as St. Louis' 61-49 advantage with 7:57 left was the largest lead for either team.

On the strength of an 11-3 run, though, Virginia Tech cut the deficit to 64-60. Four points is as close as the Hokies would get.

Davell Rovy's baseline layup pushed the lead back to 66-60. Bess made seven free throws and Goodwin three in the final minute to help seal the win.

"It was good to see," Ford said. "We've had some really poor performances from the free-throw line in some games -- exhibition games and different things; we've had some other games where we've shot them a little bit better -- it was good to see because I think that's when you're tested.

"I've seen that from Javon. I've seen that from Jordan and different guys. When it's on the line, they seem to rise to the occasion."

Benefiting an early-season game, there were areas in which Williams and Ford to work on with their teams. For the Hokies, free-throw shooting was a significant issue as they made only 23 of 36 (63.9 percent).

Saint Louis made just 4 of 18 from the arc.

"I thought they overwhelmed us," Williams said.