Tech bests Virginia in Homecoming game

On Saturday Oct. 9, Tech was back at home for homecoming facing the Virginia Cavaliers. After coming off a thrilling last second win against Wake Forest the week before, the Jackets were looking for their first set of consecutive victories for the season. The Cavaliers were looking to spoil another homecoming celebration for Tech like they did in 2008, this time under new head coach Mike London.

Tech went on to rush all over UVA for 477 yards and a convincing 33-21 victory.

Tech got the ball first, and on the first play of the game, came out on a big passing play from senior quarterback Joshua Nesbitt. He completed a 31-yard pass to sophomore wide receiver Stephen Hill. The drive continued to the Virginia 11 yard line before a costly 13-yard fumble recovered by redshirt junior A-back Roddy Jones. The drive resulted in a 40-yard field goal by senior kicker Scott Blair.

The Cavaliers then got their hands on their first offensive possession of the day, and were stood up by the Tech defense. Virginia was forced to punt after a quick three-and-out.

Tech was then given the ball on its own 20-yard line and began to drive the ball down the field again. After advancing into Virginia territory, the ball was fumbled and lost on an exchange between Nesbitt and redshirt senior B-back Anthony Allen. Virginia, however, was unable to capitalize on the mistake, failing to connect on a 50-yard field goal attempt on the subsequent drive.

After a Tech turnover on downs, UVA once again got the ball with great field position. After a couple of plays, Virginia running back Max Milien broke out for a 37-yard rushing touchdown.

Tech got the ball back and after the kickoff return, the Jackets broke out on two big runs by Jones and Allen all the way to the Virginia 13 yard line. However, the Virginia defense forced Blair to kick a second field goal for 28 yards, putting his season total at nine-for-nine.

Tech would again force a quick three and out and again would drive down into the red zone only to struggle. This time, a quick flip by Nesbitt was intercepted on the Virginia eight yard line. Tech would quickly get the ball back, however, and finished the half with a one-yard touchdown. The half then ended with the score at 13-7 with Tech on top.

The second half started with Virginia receiving the ball. After forcing a third-and-long situation, the Tech defense came up big when senior cornerback Mario Butler forced a fumble and recovered it at the Virginia 42 yard line.

Tech soon capitalized on the turnover with the rushes from Allen and Nesbitt. Allen capped off the drive with his first trip to the end zone this season from six yards out. Virginia was quick to respond, picking up a 42-yard rush on the next drive. This along with a pass interference call helped lead to a one-yard touchdown run to cap off their 60-yard drive.

With the score at 20-14, Tech was looking to make that winning margin bigger, and responded Anthony Allen rushing for 66 of the 80 yards for the touchdown drive. Allen finished the drive with an 18-yard touchdown run. The drive was a quick six plays, taking just under three minutes off the clock.

Tech’s defense continued to keep the Virginia offense in check, picking up several sacks and tackles for loss. In the fourth quarter, Tech would put the finishing blow on the Cavaliers, with an 11-play, 97-yard touchdown drive, ending with Allen’s third touchdown of the day from eight yards out. Tech attempted a two-point conversion, but failed. Allen finished the day with 195 yards on 25 carries.

The score would hold status quo until Virginia’s last drive of the game, resulting in a meaningless touchdown score to pull the Cavaliers within 12 points with less than a minute left.

The 33-21 victory brought Tech to 4-2 on the season and 3-1 in the ACC. Tech faces off with Middle Tennessee State on Oct. 16 for another home game.