Virginia had a chance to snap Virginia Tech's 11-game winning streak in the Commonwealth Cup and their bowl streak, but managed neither as the Hokies prevailed 23-20. Here are the five big takeaways:
Close to the end: A Virginia Tech offense that struggled all day managed to do just enough to get Joey Slye into position to kick the game-winning 41-yard field goal with 1:38 remaining. Travon McMillian, who had only managed 53 yards on 18 carries up to that point, ran for 28 critical yards on six carries to set up the kick. Slye was a perfect three of three on the day.
Punch for punch: When one team struggled on offense, the other could not take advantage. When one team looked like they were on the verge of taking control, a critical mistake put the other team right back in it. Virginia finally broke into the endzone in the third quarter as running back Albert Reid ran through a tackle at the line of scrimmage and broke off a 57-yard touchdown run. Virginia Tech's best drive of the day to that point was for only 28 yards and yet, the Hokies responded with a big play of their own when tight end Ryan Malleck broke a tackle and went 71 yards to Virginia's 4-yard line. Two plays later, Brewer connected with Sam Rogers for the touchdown to tie the game at 13.
Virginia took a 20-13 lead in the fourth quarter thanks to a 27-yard touchdown catch by star receiver Canaan Severin. Virginia Tech responded again with a 6-play, 75-yard drive to tie it when Isaiah Ford slipped past Virginia's coverage and caught a game-tying touchdown in the end zone. It was not a good day by any means for the Hokies offensively, but the offenes' ability to respond after every big play by Virginia set them up for the win.
3rd down struggles: Don't let the final stats fool you, this was a sluggish offensive performance for both teams. A major reason why was because neither side could convert on third down. Virginia converted three third downs on their first drive of the game, a drive that resulted in a field goal, but managed to move the sticks on only five of their remaining 15 third downs on the day. Virginia Tech was just plain bad from start to finish with three of 14 conversions.
Critical fake punt: With neither team managing much offense in the first half, Virginia held a 6-3 lead and elected to go for a fake punt on a fourth and 16 from their own 34-yard line. The Cavaliers' punt formation bunched to the right and Virginia Tech responded leaving nothing but grass to the left of punter Nicholas Conte. Conte took the snap and took off, but there's a reason he plays punter and not receiver. Despite having nothing but room in front of him, Tremaine Edmunds was able to catch him and bring him down just short giving the Hokies the ball on Virginia's 48. Virginia Tech was able to tack on a field goal to leave the game tied at halftime. Had Virginia punted, it's hard to imagine the Hokies could have managed to do anything with it before halftime considering how woeful the offense had looked up to that point.
What the win means: With the victory, Virginia Tech has now won 12 straight over Virginia. The win is also No. 6 for the Hokies, meaning you can throw out all the 5-7 scenarios, they are bowl eligible. Considering the attention Beamer's last game will bring, there will be plenty of interest in Virginia Tech among the bowls. On the other side of the coin, the loss leaves Mike London in a shaky position. In his sixth season as head coach, Virginia will finish with a 4-8 record. London is 0-6 against his in-state rival and has lead the Cavs to a bowl only once. All eyes will be on Charlottesville this week to see if a change is coming.