If you're a fan of defense, punts, sloppy play and, of course, late-game dramatics, Georgia Tech vs. Virginia Tech was the game for you.
The Yellow Jackets and Hokies got their season and ACC play started on Monday night as Virginia Tech squeaked out a 20-17 overtime win at home in Blacksburg, VA.
No. 16 Virginia Tech got the scoring started with an impressive drive early in the first quarter. Heisman candidate Logan Thomas passed for 25 yards and rushed for 15 as the Hokies went 56 yards in 12 plays before Thomas found tight end Eric Martin in the back of the end zone. It was just the fourth catch of Martin's career.
It appeared as though the Hokies were set to run away with this one early, but a snap over the punter's head late in the first set up Georgia Tech just 25 yards away from their end zone.
Robert Goodhigh scored with a 12-yard run three plays later to tie things up. Throw in nine more punts and a whole bunch of offensive mediocrity, and that was pretty much the first half: seven points each, just over 100 total yards each and lots of impressive defense.
The third quarter was more of the same before things finally got going in the final period. David Scully nailed a 32-yard field goal just seconds after the initial whistle to put Georgia Tech ahead, but then Logan Thomas finally remembered he was one of the top players in the country.
Thomas found Marcus Davis for a 35-yard completion before delivering an absolutely beautiful ball on the next play to Demitri Knowles for the 42-yard score. Bam. Just like that, 14-10 VT.
Apparently the defenses, which had been so dominant all game long, were beginning to tire. Fueled by Tevin Washington completions, which are about as common as blue moons, Georgia Tech came right back down the field and took the 17-14 lead with 44 seconds to go after Washington found Deon Hill for the TD.
Too much time.
Thomas completed a couple more big gains and Cody Journell, who had missed a field goal earlier in the game, nailed a 41-yard kick as time expired to send it into overtime.
The dramatic college overtime wouldn't last long, though, as Washington threw a very ugly interception and Journell knocked home a chip shot, putting the Hokies through with a 20-17 victory at Lane Stadium.
The key in this one was clearly on the defensive side of the ball. Up until the final quarter, both defenses were terrific.
We knew Virginia Tech, which was one of the best defensive teams in the nation against the run last year, would slow down GT's triple-option attack and make Tevin Washington beat them through the air. But we weren't expecting Georgia Tech to bring more of the same.
The Yellow Jackets were mediocre on the defensive side of the ball in 2011, and stopping Thomas in Blacksburg seemed to be too tall of a task.
Before Thomas' last two drives, however, Georgia Tech controlled the game and kept the Hokies offense in check. Despite the deflating loss in a game they were so close to winning, the Yellow Jackets have to be encouraged by their defensive play on the road for most of the matchup.
Likewise, Virginia Tech fans now know that they can win a game when Logan Thomas is far from perfect.
This one wasn't very pretty, but not many teams can say they were in Week 1. These ACC squads shouldn't be too disappointed with their commendable efforts on Labor Day in this one.
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