Wednesday, January 2, 2008


Texas Tech (Red Raiders, 2,851 students, Lubbock, TX) 31, #20 VIRGINIA 28


By Adam Kilgore Washington Post

JACKSONVILLE, Fla., Jan. 1 -- The football twirled inside the right upright, piercing the wind whipping over the field. Coach Al Groh calmly removed his headset, turned away and walked several paces down the Virginia sideline, as if he could make it all disappear simply by looking somewhere else.
But the final moments of the season's final game were so cruelly real and unavoidable for Groh. One of Virginia's best efforts in one of its best seasons had unraveled as improbably and as suddenly as so many of the Cavaliers' victories had materialized. After leading by two touchdowns with 3 1/2 minutes remaining on Tuesday, Virginia lost the Gator Bowl, 31-28, to Texas Tech when Alex Trlica's 41-yard field goal sailed through with two seconds left.

The kick completed a stunning ending for a team that had burnished a reputation for playing its best in the clutch. With quarterback Jameel Sewell out because of an injured knee, the Cavaliers fell apart in all three phases of the game. Texas Tech scored 14 of its final 17 points in a 21-second span, aided greatly by backup quarterback Peter Lalich fumbling inside his 5-yard line while facing instant pressure. The collective collapse prevented Virginia from winning 10 games for the second time in school history and winning a New Year's Day game for the first time.

"We had our opportunity," Groh said. "Probably, frankly, we gave the thing away."

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