For the second straight week, Frank Beamer was carried off the field on the shoulders of his players. This week, however, was not just a symbolic recognition of everything he meant to Virginia Tech. On Saturday, Beamer was carried off the field a winner.
After a back and forth battle in Charlottesville, Virginia Tech once again came out on top against their in-state rival Virginia. The Hokies’ 23-20 win was their 12th straight victory in the Commonwealth Cup series against UVa.
“That was a priceless moment,” receiver Isaiah Ford said on Beamer holding the Commonwealth Cup. “Those are the moments you tell your grandkids. Just to be a part of something like that was truly special.”
Saturday's contest was a back and forth battle that was not decided until the final moments. Every time Virginia looked like they were on the verge of taking control, the Hokies would respond. When Albert Reid broke a 57-yard run in the third quarter to put UVa up 13-6, Ryan Malleck took a pass 71 yards on the next drive to set up an equalizing touchdown. When Canaan Severin hauled in a touchdown pass in the front corner of the end zone, Isaiah Ford got behind the Cavaliers’ secondary for a touchdown catch of his own.
In the end, it was Virginia who could not match the Hokies.
“I think that game showed everything we try to do at Virginia Tech,” Beamer said. “'Relentless.' I love that word. I thought that we got down, found a way to come back, got down, found a way to come back again.”
After the game, a jovial Beamer addressed the media. He had a cut on his lip which he said came from celebrating, he insisted his wife join him on stage for the press conference and he answered most questions with a joke. He was a coach very much at peace with what his team accomplished in his final season.
“I really appreciate them letting me be a part of this thing,” Beamer said. “ It’s a great group of coaches, a great group of kids. If we didn’t come out on this end [of the game] I’d be saying the same thing.
“Winning or losing doesn’t change the kids you have or the coaches you have. I’m really proud of that.”
Despite his magnanimous words, the players made it known that winning this game for their head coach meant a lot to them.
“Going into the game all we wanted to do was win for [Beamer],” quarterback Michael Brewer said. “We knew that it was 11 [wins over UVA] in a row coming into [this year]. On the road, and all the stuff surrounding this game, at the end of the day we really just wanted to win this one for Coach Beamer.”
Saturday’s win was Virginia Tech’s sixth of the season, ensuring the team’s bowl streak will extend to an incredible 23 seasons and Beamer will get one final game as head coach. Saturday's game was one in which everything was on the line for the Hokies and Beamer’s squad came out on top.
“It was a great game,” Beamer said. “It was two good football teams battling back and forth and making plays. … We got the ball to bounce our way at the end. Maybe some things are just meant to be.”
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