Sunday, November 30, 2008

THE COMMONWEALTH BOWL: WINNING UGLY

Like they say in golf, there are no pictures on the score card.

Virginia Tech’s offense is still sputtering, but the Cavs couldn’t take advantage in spite of a spectacular performance by cornerback-turned-quarterback Vick Hall. The 5-foot-9 Hall, one of the nation's most productive high school quarterbacks before being switched to cornerback at Virginia (5-7), ran for 109 yards and two long touchdowns as a surprise starter. Early-on it looked like Tech might get bitten by the “Vick Curse” yet again.

But, the Wahoos could muster little offense other than that against Bud Foster’s stingy lunch pail defense. Virginia Tech (8-4) advances to the Dr. Pepper Bowl next weekend in Tampa v. Boston College.

Hokie Dustin Keys kicked a 28-yard field goal with 6:37 to play that provided the winning points. That didn’t come easily either, as Keys had missed a shorter kick earlier in the game.

While fans and alums will how at decisions made by the coach, ultimately it’s a college kid that is responsible for the make-or-break game decisions on the field.

Yesterday was no different for Hoo coach Al “Must Go” Groh. Hall seemingly set Virginia up for at least a tying field goal when he ran 39 yards to the Hokies 24, but after two plays lost a yard, Mark Verica came on facing a third-and-11 and threw deep to the end zone. Hokie Dorian Porch easily stepped in front of the ball and ended the game at least one play and 14 yards further from the line of scrimmage than necessary.

The victory, Virginia Tech's fifth in a row and ninth in 10 games against the Cavaliers, means they will play either Boston College next weekend in Tampa, hoping to repeat last year's feat of avenging a regular-season loss in the title game.

(AP Photos/Steve Helber)

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