LANDOVER, Md. — The Virginia Tech football team fell in agonizing fashion to the Boise State Broncos on a national stage Monday night.
At one point the Hokies were down by 17 in the first quarter, but they rallied back and held the lead late in fourth quarter. However, Boise State quarterback Kellen Moore capped of the game-winning drive with a 13-yard touchdown pass to Austin Pettis. Tech’s offense was unable to respond in the final minute.
The Broncos rushed jubilantly onto the field, sealing a 33-30 victory and taking the first step in their quest for a national title.
“We just made way too many mistakes,” said Frank Beamer, head coach. “We made too many critical mistakes to beat a top-five football team. Look at the effort we made to come back and get out of a hole. I’m proud of what we are all about, I’m just not proud of how we play consistently, right now.”
While Tech’s running game was supposed to be the strength for the Hokies, running back Ryan Williams finished with just 58 yards on 21 carries. Yet Taylor kept the Hokies’ offense rolling, finishing 15 for 22 for 186 yards and two touchdowns through the air, as well as 73 yards rushing on 16 carries.
“We kind of got down and that changed the whole complexion a little bit,” Beamer said.
Following the first quarter, Tech was shut out 17-0 and appeared on its way to a humiliating opening season defeat.
Then, Williams scored a pair of touchdowns in the second quarter, including a 1-yard scamper and a 12-yard reception, cutting the deficit to 20-14. In the third quarter, Williams again converted on a 1-yard rushing touchdown, giving Tech its first lead.
However, Boise State would respond quickly with a 71-yard touchdown D.J. Harper run, retaking a 26-21 lead following a blocked extra point. Boise State’s lead would be short-lived, as a 28-yard pass from Taylor to Boykin gave the Hokies the lead again 27-26 following a failed two-point conversion attempt.
After extending its lead to 30-26 with a 34-yard Chris Hazley field goal, Tech milked the clock all the way down to about the two minute mark, forcing the Broncos to use all of their timeouts. Facing a third down, Tech’s coaches elected to go for the win, allowing Taylor to throw the ball. Boise State’s defense had other ideas and forced an incompletion, giving Moore an opportunity to become a hero.
With less than two minutes remaining, Moore drove the Broncos’ offense efficiently down the field, aided by a 15-yard late hit penalty on Hokies linebacker Bruce Taylor and threw the go-ahead touchdown with 1:09 remaining to put the Broncos up 33-30. Tech’s offense was stifled, and the Broncos walked away with their first victory of the season.
“We got the ball in good field position and though we’d do something with it,” said Chris Peterson, Boise State head coach. “We’ve practiced that so often and I thought our coaching staff did a fabulous job. They were very calm and the kids executed the plays like clockwork.”
The Hokies will look to rebound this Saturday against James Madison University at 1:30 p.m. The game will be televised on ESPN3.com.