For the past 16 memorable seasons, Virginia Tech has finished their season with a trip to a bowl game, all under Frank Beamer. This is the third longest active streak, trailing only Florida State and Florida.
Over this 16-year span, it has been mainly a team effort. However, there have been memorable individual performances that have stayed in the minds of many Hokie fans.
The following is a list of the top 10 individual performances over the past 16 seasons. Keys to making the list are statistics, importance of the game, the timing of the performance, and the exposure it gave to Virginia Tech.
Before the list begins, there are two performances that will obtain the honorable mention moniker. They are performances by non-players that still produced amazing games, results, and memories:
Non-Player Performance No. 1:
Frank Beamer/Bud Foster/Coaching Staff vs. Syracuse (Oct. 16, '99)
This was the introduction of the Hokies to millions of college football fans. ESPN Gameday visited Lane Stadium seven hours before the game. The Hokie faithful came to see, breaking the attendance record by having over 13,000 people attend.
The pressure was on the Hokies to see if they were for real with their No. 4 ranking. Beamer, Foster, and the rest of the coaching staff, with all the pressure and spotlight on them, had their players ready to play the full 60 minutes.
This was a complete team effort as the Hokies destroyed the Orangemen with their offense, defense, and special teams In fact, the Orangemen controlled the final seven and-a-half minutes and were still outscored 14-0.
The 62-0 score broke the record of largest shutout over an AP ranked team. This complete performance proved to the nation the Hokies were for real and had the offense, defense, and special teams to complete with anybody in the nation.
(Next - Honorable Mention No. 2: VT Nation makes the list)
Non-Player Performance No. 2: Lane Stadium Crowd vs. Miami (Nov. 1, '03)
Nothing went right in the previous game against West Virginia as Virginia Tech watch their chance at perfection disappear. Despite the disappointment, there was still a buzz in the air with No. 2 Miami coming into Lane Stadium.
Even before Enter Sandman was played, there was a constant roar from the Hokie faithful. There was a constant reminder from the commentators about the effect the crowd had on both teams. Numerous delay of game and false start penalties were committed by the Hurricanes in the first quarter.
After a blocked FG and fumble returned for a touchdown by DeAngelo Hall, the rout was on. Virginia Tech saved their season (at the time) with a 31-7 victory, thanks in large-part to the 12th man at Lane Stadium.
With Miami's No. 2 ranking, this was the highest ranked team that Virginia Tech has ever defeated.
(Next - The list begins with a "Georgia Tech" QB)
10. Sean Glennon vs. Georgia Tech (Nov. 1, '07)
Virginia Tech suffered the heartbreaker at home against Boston College where QB Matt Ryan tossed two TD passes in the last few minutes. The question was can these Hokies regroup?
The answer? Yes. Behind Glennon's arm (22-32, 296 yards, 2TDs), Virginia Tech dismantled the Yellow Jackets in Atlanta. Glennon had been battling Tyrod Taylor for the top QB spot and was able to start this night.
However, the real problem was to find a jersey for Glennon to play in as a few of the Hokie players' jersey were stolen before the game.
Glennon played the entire game with a practice Georgia Tech jersey with a backward Nike swoosh sharpied on the jersey. The confidence and leadership from Glennon help propel the Hokies to the no. 3 spot in the BCS at season's end.
(Next - Record books for a r-freshman)
9. Darren Evans vs. Maryland (Nov. 6, '08)
In 2008, Virginia Tech needed every win they could get to stay in contention for an ACC crown.
Darren Evans decided to put the team on his back for the Maryland game as he proceded to break the school record for rushing yards. On 32 carries, Evans rushed for 253 yards and a touchdown.
This performance gave the offensive line much needed confidence for the rest of the season and showed that the redshirt-freshman has a lot more to show for his future.
(Next - Back-to-back 200 games)
8. Branden Ore vs. Clemson (Oct. 26, '06)
At this point in 2006, Virginia Tech definitely needed a Thursday night game at home. In the game before against Southern Miss, Branden Ore put up over two hundred yards on the ground.
With Clemson coming in with their version of Thunder and Lightning (James Davis and C. J. Spiller), Branden Ore showed that he was the best back on the field that night.
Ore put up 203 yards and two TDs, becoming the first Tech back to go over 200 yards in back-to-back games.
(Next - Record by statistical error)
7. Mike Imoh vs. North Carolina (Nov. 6, '04)
To keep the train rolling in the 2004 ACC Championship season, the Hokies needed a big output from their running back. They weren't expecting what they got, but the Hokies needed every yard of it.
Imoh rushed for a then-school record 243 yards on 32 carries to ensure a 27-24 win over North Carolina. Imoh was not credited with the record till the next day when a radio statistician noticed an error of seven yards. Imoh also added two touchdowns, the second being the game winner.
(Next - 22 in 5:44)
6. Bryan Randall vs. Georgia Tech (Oct. 28, '04)
As it looked like Virginia Tech was headed for its usual midseason crash trailing in Atlanta, Bryan Randall decided to change the Hokies usual future with an amazing fourth quarter comeback as the Hokies upended the Yellow Jackets 34-20.
The Hokies trailed 20-12 with 5:44 to go.
However, Randall threw an 80-yard TD pass to Eddie Royal, converted a two-point conversion pass, had a 32-yard rush, and hit Josh Morgan in stride for a 51-yard TD pass to produce a seven point lead in a matter 2:34.
For the fourth quarter alone, Randall was three-for-five for 159 yards and two TDs. It was the first time the Hokies had come back in the fourth quarter in four years and was the second-greatest comeback in Hokie history.
(Next - Even a bigger comeback...)
5. Jim Druckenmiller vs. Virginia (Nov. 18, '95)
The Big East co-Champions came into Charlottesville with their hated rivals, the ACC co-Champion Cavaliers. Though it was a good feeling wrapping up the conference, a loss to your state foes would put a downer on the season. The Hokies were able to get on top early 14-7 after the first quarter.
UVA then proceded to put up 22 unanswered points over the next two quarters. Trailing 29-14 in the fourth quarter, Jim Druckenmiller lead the Hokies with a 10-yard TD pass. Later, Tech added a 35-yard FG.
After UVA missed a FG, Druckenmiller lead the Hokies to a nine-play, 71-yard drive which included a 4th-and-10 conversion and a 42-yard TD pass with only 47 seconds to give the Hokies a one point lead.
Virginia Tech returned an interception on the final play to give the Hokies a 36-29 victory which included the 15-point comeback, the biggest comeback ever for Virginia Tech.
(Next - Three touches, three ways, three TDs, third quarter)
4. Andre Davis vs. West Virginia (Oct. 12, '00)
Virginia Tech was trying to have back-to-back undefeated regular seasons when they realized they trailed 14-7 at half at home against West Virginia. Tech tied it up quickly in the third with a 72-yard TD pass by Vick. However, there is six minutes in the third that will be hard to duplicate.
Andre Davis took a reverse and rushed for a 30-yard touchdown. On the next offensive play, Andre Davis caught a 64-yard TD pass from Vick to up the lead to 13.
On the following punt, Davis returned it 76 yards for his third touchdown in three different ways with three touches in six minutes. After that, VT did not look back and claimed a 48-20 win.
(Next - Big stage needs big plays)
3. Bryan Still vs. Texas (Dec. 31, '95 - Sugar Bowl)
The Hokies had started the 1995 season with two losses, a home-loss to Boston College and an unexplainable 16-0 shutout loss at Cincinnati (the last shutout loss by the Hokies).
Virginia Tech then upset Miami and won a team-record nine straight games to appear in their first major bowl ever. Luckily, Bryan Still played the game of his life, catching six passes for 119 yards.
After Texas opened up with a 10-0 lead, Still played some Beamerball and returned a punt 60 yards to put the Hokies on the board. With Tech holding onto a 14-10 lead early in the fourth, Still caught a 54-yard bomb from Jim Druckenmiller to ensure Virginia Tech's first major bowl win.
With Virginia Tech's 28-10 win over Texas, the nation started to realize that there was something brewing in Blacksburg, VA.
(Next - We want Moore defense)
2. Corey Moore vs. Clemson (Sept. 23, '99)
The Hokies played an upstart Clemson team with new coach Tommy Bowden at the healm. Clemson was looking for payback after the Hokies came to Death Valley the year before and defeated the Tigers 37-0.
Redshirt-freshman Michael Vick was the talk of the game, coming off a high-ankle sprain after his famous flip in his first game. Corey Moore, though, reminded the nation that the defense was the heart of this Hokie team.
Moore was in the backfield most of the night, constantly pressuring the Tiger QB. Moore developed back-spasms during the second quarter, but when the Hokies needed him most, he appeared with full fury. With a six-point lead in the fourth quarter, Moore put the game away.
Moore pressure the Clemson QB which lead to an interception returned for a touchdown. Within a minute later, Moore sacked the QB, stripped the ball, and returned it for a touchdown, ensuring the Hokies of a victory. This was one of the important games in that famed 1999 season.
Also, it lead to the Thursday night fear of going to Lane Stadium for the next ten seasons.
(Next - No. 1 is in the battle for No. 1)
1. Michael Vick vs. Florida State (Jan. 4, '00 - Sugar Bowl)
Virginia Tech was in the national spotlight after an 11-0 regular season and no. 2 ranking. Their final step was to defeat the No. 1 Seminoles in the 2000 Sugar Bowl, the host of the BCS Championship Game.
Vick calmly lead the Hokies down the field on their first drive. However, it ended badly for Tech as Vick fumbled on a fourth down was inches away from Andre Kendrick recovering for a TD.
However, FSU took that momentum and produced a quick 14-0 lead. Vick hit Andre Davis on a beautiful go route for a 49-yard TD pass. Florida State added 14 more points to have a 28-7 lead. Vick was able to tack on a three-yard TD run just before the half.
Vick's masterpiece was in the third quarter, which produced 15 points and a 1-point lead heading into the fourth.
However, Virginia Tech's lack of depth and early misfortunes caught up with them as Vick looked gassed at the end and had nothing left as Florida State put 18 points up in the fourth to give FSU a 46-29 win and championship.
Though it was a loss, Michael Vick's performance made Virginia Tech a household name. It is amazing that Vick only had one loss as a started for the Hokies, and it was the most memorable moment for most Hokie fans in the past 16 bowl-seasons.