Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory: UVA loses 15th straight to Tech, 34-31, in OT

uva virginia techUVA led 31-24 inside of two minutes to go, and the ball was on the turf in the Virginia Tech end zone. A few minutes later, the Hokies had their 15th straight win over the ‘Hoos, in the most UVA football way imaginable.

Tech (5-6, 4-4 ACC) won in overtime, 34-31, after recovering a Bryce Perkins fumble on the final play of the game.

The Cavaliers (7-5, 4-4 ACC) trailed 14-0 at halftime, but rallied to go up 28-24 on a 29-yard TD pass from Perkins to Hasise Dubois with 6:51 left.

The Virginia D seemed to put the game away when Charles Snowden batted a Ryan Willis pass into the air and intercepted it at the Tech 11 with 3:42 to go.

But the ‘Hoos went conservative, running the ball into the line on first and second down, then Perkins was incomplete looking for Olamide Zaccheaus in the left corner of the end zone.

A Brian Delaney 28-yard field goal made it 31-24 with 2:41 left, but Virginia Tech had life.

On a third-and-10 from the Tech 25, Willis somehow avoided a sack against a heavy rush and found Dalton Keene for a 45-yard gain to the UVA 30.

After an 11-yard completion to Tre Turner, Steven Peoples burst inside the UVA 5, but had the ball stripped by Joey Blount. The ball continued into the end zone, where it was recovered by wideout Hezekiah Grimsley for a touchdown.

The Brian Johnson extra point tied the game, and set up the overtime dramatics.

The UVA D forced three incomplete passes ahead of a 42-yard Johnson field goal that put the Hokies on top.

UVA, having won the coin toss before the overtime, had the ball last, and Perkins connected with Dubois on an 11-yard slant on the Cavaliers’ first play to get the ball inside the 14.

On the next play, Perkins, on a read option, came under heavy pressure, and attempted to hand the ball off to Jordan Ellis, but the ball ended up on the turf, and was recovered by Tech’s’ Emmanuel Belmar, ending the game.

So many what-ifs for Virginia, which came out flat in the opening 30 minutes, gaining just 106 yards total offense, and surrendering a punt block that resulted in a Virginia Tech touchdown.

UVA rang up 306 yards of total offense in the second half, but coach Bronco Mendenhall and offensive coordinator Robert Anae seemed to take the foot off the accelerator after the ‘Hoos got the lead late.

The Virginia offense gained just one yard in a three-and-out before punting the ball back to Tech, then gained one yard after the Snowden interception before the Delaney field goal, and 11 yards after the game-tying touchdown late in regulation.

That kept the door open enough for Virginia Tech to make the big play, which Willis did on the scramble leading to the 45-yard pass that kept the game alive, ahead of the hustle play fumble recovery in the end zone.

Snowden also whiffed on what would have been a backbreaking sack of Willis at the UVA 40 in the OT on third down. Willis escaped and threw the ball away, ahead of the field goal by Johnson.

Willis also kept Virginia off the board on what had appeared to be a picksix at the end of the first half, when Virginia cornerback Tim Harris intercepted a Willis pass on the right sideline with nothing but green in front of him, before Willis tracked him down inside the Tech 10 with no time on the clock.

Virginia Tech outgained Virginia 453-423. Willis was 14-for-33 passing with two passes intercepted, one touchdown and 199 yards through the air.

Perkins was 14-of-29 passing for 259 yards and three touchdowns, and had 112 yards on 24 carries on the ground.

Story by Chris Graham

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