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Boyce vs. Referees

Wide receiver Xavier Boyce did not have an easy introduction to college football last weekend. Boyce, a redshirt freshman, had to make his debut against Alabama’s stingy defense. Although the ball was thrown his way, he did not catch any passes in the Hokies' 34-24 loss on Saturday.

One moment was particularly memorable for Boyce. And it was not a highlight.

On a second-and-10 play in the second quarter from Virginia Tech’s 49-yard line, Boyce bumped into an official while running a crossing route and fell to the Georgia Dome’s artificial turf. Quarterback Tyrod Taylor’s pass was incomplete. [See note, bottom.]

As Boyce cut across the field, the umpire, standing about five yards behind Alabama’s defensive line, was in the way of the pattern. The collision was unavoidable when he and Boyce cut in the same direction in an attempt to dodge each other.

“You’ve just got to try to avoid it,” Boyce said. “With me, I thought he was going to move up. At the last minute, he backed up, and that’s when he backed up into me. It’s just something you’ve got to avoid on the run.”

While frustrated he could not make a play, Boyce said it was a learning experience. “Now I know to go around the referee,” he said. “Hopefully, they’ll step up so I can run my route.”

Correction: An earlier version of this post incorrectly referred to the circumstances when the Boyce's collision with the official took place. It did not occurred on a third-and-5 play from the Hokies' 47-yard line; it occurred on a second-and-10 play from their 49.

By Mark Viera  |  September 9, 2009; 5:43 PM ET
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