After beginning the season with an undefeated 6-0 record, the Jackets fell short of continued perfection on the road against the Virginia Cavaliers. The Jackets surrendered 14 points while going scoreless in the first quarter, a deficit that proved too large to overcome in a 24-21 loss.
Tech amassed its lowest yardage total for the season with 296 total yards and allowed a total of 407 by the Cavalier offense. Although the Jackets totaled well over 200 yards rushing, they were beaten at their own game as the Cavaliers were able to match their 272 rushing yards total with greater efficiency through the air. Redshirt junior quarterback Tevin Washington had his worst aerial game of the year, completing just two passes on eight attempts with two interceptions.
The game began with Virginia taking the field on its own 27. A methodical drive by the Cavaliers began with a 14-yard rush by Perry Jones, and along with Kevin Sparks accounted for much of the opening drive’s yards. Sparks scored on a six-yard scamper, capping a 12 play, 73-yard drive.
The Jackets looked to respond on the next drive, but could not after 15 yards of penalties. Tech punted from its own 18 for only 27 yards.
Starting at the Tech 45, the Cavalier offense capitalized when it took the field, rushing once for 8 yards and then completing a 37-yard pass for a touchdown from quarterback Michael Rocco. This gave Virginia an early 14-0 lead.
After the kickoff, Tech went onto the field for just their second possession of the ball game. On a drive in which all yards gained were on the ground, Tevin Washington began with a nine yard rush to the Tech 29. Two plays later, redshirt senior A-back Embry Peeples ran 27 yards downfield and positioning Tech in Virginia territory for the first time in the ball game. The drive came to a halt after a false start, and the Jackets lined up for a 52-yard field goal attempted by sophomore kicker Justin Moore. The kick was blocked, leaving Tech scoreless, and giving Virginia possession.
As the first quarter dwindled, the Cavaliers advanced the ball to the Tech 15 and missed a field goal to open the second quarter.
Following the turnover on downs, the Jackets offense took the field. Junior wide receiver Stephen Hill sparked the offense with a 24-yard reverse. Tech continued its offensive success by keeping the ball on the ground, driving downfield with runs by redshirt senior A-back Roddy Jones and junior A-back Orwin Smith for 17 and 15 yards, respectively. The drive came to an end when Washington rumbled in for a seven yard score to bring the score to 14-7.
The Jackets’ defense then took the field looking for a stop. Junior linebacker Julian Burnett penetrated the Cavalier offensive line on first down for a six yard sack. Junior cornerback Rod Sweeting then responded to his teammates play by intercepting the consecutive pass and returning it 32 yards for a Tech touchdown.
The Cavaliers then received the ensuing kickoff and rushed the ball for the majority of the drive. UVA eventually broke free and scored on a 22-yard run to go up a touchdown.
The following Tech possession did not last long, ending abruptly on the third play on a n interception at the UVA 40. With time dwindling, Virginia was able to advance the ball to the Tech 19 and connect on a 36-yard field goal, to bring the score to 24-14 at halftime.
Tech had the first possession to start the second half and capitalized on the opening drive. Down by ten points and needing a score, the Jackets mounted a 19-play, 85-yard touchdown drive that lasted 9:31. The touchdown on the drive was scored on a one-yard rush by Washington, his second of touchdown of the day.
After the kickoff, UVA started the second half at midfield. The Cavaliers had two penalties on the drive, forcing them to punt after three plays.
The Jackets took the field at their own four yard line and were able to advance the ball away from their own endzone, before being forced to punt to begin the fourth quarter.
Virginia gained two first downs on their next possession, but was unable to convert a fourth and one, turning the ball over on downs. Despite the defensive stand on fourth down, the Tech offense could not drive the ball, and punted.
The Cavaliers’ next possession resulted in a three and out and a punt that gave Tech the ball on its own 42 yard line. With just short of eight minutes remaining in the game, the Jackets took the field hoping for a game tying or game winning drive. Washington carried the ball on three consecutive plays, netting a loss of two yards before punting.
When Virginia regained possession, the Jackets’ defense took the field needing to force a stop or a turnover so that the offense would have another opportunity to score. The defense was unable to do so, and the Cavaliers ran the ball successfully, allowing the clock to dwindle. The Cavaliers were eventually able to take victory formation and end the game with the score at 24-21.