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Hokies Win a Wild One

When it was over, some Virginia Tech fans laid on the grass and soaked it in. Others patted Hokies players on the shoulder pads. A large throng gathered to jump up and down in front of television cameras.

After a finish that will live as one of the indelible moments in Virginia Tech lore, there was euphoria in this college town.

Quarterback Tyrod Taylor led the Hokies 88 yards to the end zone in less than 2 minutes to give No. 13 Virginia Tech a 16-15 win over No. 19 Nebraska.

Down by 5 with 1:44 remaining, Taylor let a march that will not soon be forgotten. On second and 6, Taylor connected with Danny Coale on an 81-yard bomb that brought the Hokies to Nebraska’s 3-yard line. With 21 seconds, Taylor connected with Dyrell Roberts on an 11-yard touchdown pass that drove the crowd of 66,233 into hysterics.

“We work on this in practice all the time, the 2 minute drill,” Taylor said. “It just worked out in our favor.”

Earlier in the fourth quarter, the Hokies had their first chance to emerge with a win. They the got the ball with 4:33 remaining but were faced with a fourth-and-9 play from their 46-yard line. Virginia Tech decided to go for it.

On the play, Taylor broke from the pocket and pulled up to throw to Roberts. The pass was catchable but the outstretched Roberts did not reel it in. Taylor pumped his fists in frustration.

“I was in the right position to make that catch, which I should have made,” Roberts said. “I knew whatever the next play he threw to me, I would do my best to get it.”

He was prophetic. The Hokies, it turned out, had one more chance.

After its defense stopped Nebraska, Virginia Tech got the ball back on its 12-yard line with 1:44 left. After Taylor was sacked on first down for a 1-yard loss, Virginia Tech ran a play called Tiger 93.

As the play is designed, Coale has a read to take his route and turn it up field. Nebraska was playing a Cover 2 defense. Seeing that, Coale ran his takeoff and went uncovered by free safety Matt O’Hanlon. Taylor heaved a pass that seemed as if it were suspended in the air before it dropped into Coale’s hands.

“You’re just watching it in its flight, it’s like something out of the movies,” offensive coordinator Bryan Stinespring said. “You don’t breathe. If that thing hung up in the air any longer, we would have passed out.”

Coale was more matter of fact, saying, “I was just trying to make a play on it.”

Three plays later, Taylor found Roberts in the back of the end zone. Taylor scrambled around in the backfield and gestured for his receivers to get open. Roberts broke loose and Taylor connected with a bullet to give the Hokies the victory.

By Mark Viera  |  September 19, 2009; 9:02 PM ET
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