It wasn't pretty, but the Virginia Tech Hokies survived their in-state rival Virginia with a 17-14 win on Saturday. The Hokies, 6-6, are now bowl eligible and will play in a bowl-to-be-determined for the 20th consecutive season. Only Florida State and Florida have longer postseason streaks.
It was an ugly day for both teams, especially on the offensive end. The Hokies tallied only 303 total yards and the Cavaliers finished with 217 total yards.
The weather played a large part in yesterday's game with a temperature of 28 degrees at the start of the contest. It was a windy and blustery day in Blacksburg, which limited both teams in the passing game.
Here are the winners and losers from Saturday's win over Virginia.
Logan Thomas deserves a place on this list not because of what he did as a passer, but because he was Virginia Tech's entire offense on Saturday.
Thomas rushed for 89 yards on 29 carries including a touchdown. He did finish with 129 yards passing and a touchdown, but completed less than 50 percent of his passes.
A quarterback running the ball 29 times is too much under any circumstance. But, with the wind playing a factor in the passing game, the Hokies rode Thomas to victory.
The Hokies were desperate for two reasons: beating their in-state rival and becoming bowl-eligible. Thomas himself alluded to that desperation after the game when he said via Hokiessports.com, “I didn’t have a problem putting things on my shoulders. I’ve had a couple of games with 25-plus carries, so I didn’t have a problem with it. We did a great job up front all day.”
Thomas wasn't perfect, though. His fumble on a sack directly led to the Cavaliers' second touchdown and gave them a 14-7 third-quarter lead. However, Thomas came back and scored a touchdown himself to tie the game late in the third quarter.
The Hokies defense held Virginia to 217 total yards. They forced two turnovers, including an interception late in the fourth quarter to set up the game-winning field goal.
It was another stellar effort by Bud Foster's group. The Hokies had five tackles for loss and two sacks in addition to the two turnovers.
Cornerback Antone Exum continued his terrific late-season play as he had five tackles, including one for a loss; forced a fumble that he also recovered; and had the interception. Exum returned the interception 12 yards and put the ball deep in Virginia territory for Cody Journell's field goal.
Virginia may not have scored on offense if safety Detrick Bonner hadn't missed a tackle on Virginia wide receiver Tim Smith on Virginia's lone offensive touchdown.
That was the only blemish on an otherwise perfect day for the Hokies defense.
The longtime Virginia Tech head coach will certainly look back on this season with disappointment. Finishing the regular season with six losses, including four in the weak ACC that the Hokies have dominated for years, is a tough pill to swallow.
But instead of the Hokies quitting on the season after the loss to Florida State, they rallied and won two hard-fought games to end the season and qualify for a bowl game.
This was Beamer's worst team in 20 years. Many Virginia Tech fans and alumni will demand change after an atrocious offensive performance all season long. But for Beamer, at least on this day, he can be content.
He is going to a bowl for the 20th consecutive season.
And imagine how Beamer would have felt if the hated Cavaliers ended the Hokies' postseason streak?
This has been beyond a disappointing season for anyone associated with the Virginia Tech football program.
Having to win their last two games just to qualify for a bowl game was an embarrassing position for the Hokies to be in.
However, the Hokies won and will now be playing in a bowl game thanks to their last-second victory over the Virginia Cavaliers. Beating the Cavaliers to get to a bowl game had many Hokies fans rejoicing.
The win was the ninth straight for the Hokies in the series. Virginia Tech has also won 13 of the past 14 meetings and have now possessed the Commonwealth Cup for 2,919 consecutive days.
If the Cavaliers couldn't beat this Hokies team, you have to wonder if and when the Cavaliers will ever beat the Hokies again.
The Hokies ran an astounding 95 plays on offense Saturday and finished with just 303 total yards. That is an average of 3.2 yards per play.
The Hokies couldn't get anything going in the passing game, and, outside of their quarterback, could not get a running game going consistently.
The offensive line continued to get pushed around yesterday, and Thomas was inaccurate on several occasions, even in the short-area passing game.
Thomas was sacked three times and his fumble that led directly to a touchdown almost cost the Hokies the game.
In a season full of bad offensive performances, this one stood out in many ways. Fortunately for the Hokies, they still won the football game.