Tuesday, September 4, 2012


(Don Petersen/AP Photo)
Many college football games hinge on one critical mistake.  Last night, was no different.

The Virginia Tech Hokies dodged another opening game disaster when Georgia Tech quarterback Tevin Washington threw an ill-advised pass that was intercepted during the Jackets' first possession of overtime.   Cody Journell (#89) subsequently won the game for the home team.

Journell kicked a 41-yard field goal as time expired to force overtime after missing an earlier attempt from 38 yards. 

"I really just try to clear my head of everything whenever I'm out on the field," said Journell, "I just tried to let everything go and do what I needed to do."

The kicks rescued Hokie Nation from another crushing season-opening loss.

Virginia Tech lost to East Carolina in their 2008 opener, Alabama in 2009 and Boise State in 2010, and in a season where some view them as national championship contenders, they couldn't afford to start with a loss to an ACC division foe.

(Don Petersen/AP Photo)
It seemed fitting to Hokies coach Frank Beamer that Journell came through. Last season, he missed the Sugar Bowl while serving a suspension for his arrest on felony breaking and entering charges. He later pleaded guilty to misdemeanor trespassing, and was reinstated under conditions set by athletic director Jim Weaver.

"Cody made a big mistake and I thought he paid a tremendous price," Beamer said. "But I think he knows that this is his family and we're all pulling for him."

Georgia Tech got the ball first in overtime, but quarterback Tevin Washington appeared to be trying to throw the ball away under pressure on third down only to have it intercepted by Kyle Fuller.

Washington's 10-yard scoring pass with 44 seconds left in regulation had given the Yellow Jackets a 17-14 lead before Logan Thomas (230 yards, 2 TDs) then drove the Hokies for Journell's 41-yarder.
After Washington's turnover, the only one in the game, the Hokies got runs of 6 and 18 yards from Michael Holmes on the first two plays to set up the winner.

"I thought we hung in there great," Beamer said. "Those guys know what they're doing. They're tough all game. It's a right-at-you ballgame."

The Hokies trailed 17-14 until Journell made his first kick, depriving Washington of the comeback win in regulation.

Georgia Tech's run-first quarterback hit Deon Hill with a 10-yard touchdown pass in the final minute, stunning the sellout crowd.

(Don Petersen/AP Photo)
The Hokies, who had gone ahead 14-10 on Thomas' 42-yard scoring pass to speedy wide receiver Demitri Knowles with 7:46 to play, got the ball back and drove to the Yellow Jackets 24 with 6 seconds remaining.

Georgia Tech used a timeout to try to ice Journell, but his kick sailed through the uprights to tie it at 17.

Before the offensive flurry in the fourth quarter, the game was a punting contest with both teams looking like they may have needed a “Murray State” tune-up before facing a conference opponent. 

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