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Hokies Blow Chance, Lose to Ga. Tech

ATLANTA -- Virginia Tech opened its season with disappointment about a mile from Bobby Dodd Stadium. On Saturday, the fourth-ranked Hokies returned here for another game that would help to define their year.

Since losing to Alabama on Sept. 5, Virginia Tech has won five straight and recently looked worthy of its poll position. But with a 28-23 loss to No. 19 Georgia Tech, the Hokies relinquished its driver’s-seat position in the conference and ended any of their hopes for a national championship.

“I can speak for the team on this: I don’t think we were thinking ahead,” quarterback Tyrod Taylor said. “We just didn’t go out there and execute well.”

The ACC’s Coastal Division has been thrown into disarray, and it might not be sorted out until November. On Saturday, Virginia (3-3, 2-0) took possession of first place in the division with a 20-9 win over Maryland.

But the conference’s heavyweights – Virginia Tech, Miami and Georgia Tech – are positioned for a three-way tie because each have favorable remaining schedules that include Virginia.

Miami beat Georgia Tech, 33-17, on Sept. 17. Virginia Tech beat Miami, 31-7, on Sept. 26. And now Georgia Tech beat Virginia Tech.

The Hokies’ loss killed their shot at a national title. Heading into the day’s games, Virginia Tech (5-2, 3-1) was in the best position of any one-loss team. It emerged worse for wear.

Georgia Tech stampeded for 309 rushing yards, all but 37 in the second half. It gave Virginia Tech’s defense trouble after making blocking adjustments during halftime. The Yellow Jackets (6-1, 4-1) sealed off the Hokies’ defensive backs with the tweaked schemed, allowing their cadre of talented backs to run free.

“It wasn’t the same thing we prepared for all week,” rover Dorian Porch said. “We tried to make an adjustment and it worked for a little bit, and then they switched again on us. It was kind of going back and forth, kind of like a chess match, and they won it.”

In the second half, Georgia Tech broke seven runs of 10 yards or more. The Yellow Jackets averaged 6.47 yards per carry in the second half, wearing down the Hokies with 38-minutes, 22-seconds time of possession.

Virginia Tech’s best chance to stick with Georgia Tech came after with 7:58 in the third quarter, after Ryan Williams broke a 66-yard touchdown run to make it a 14-10 game. Williams received medication and intravenous fluids this week while battling an illness.

“I just felt weak, not bad,” said Williams, who had 100 yards on 14 carries. “I just felt like I didn’t have as much energy as I usually do.”

About an hour after the game, Hokies players walked out of Bobby Dodd Stadium in maroon jumpsuits and with sour expressions. Some stopped to sign autographs as they walked to an idling bus on the corner of Techwood Drive and North Avenue.

With their season turned upside down, the Hokies were preparing to leave Atlanta with another deflating loss.

By Mark Viera  |  October 17, 2009; 11:06 PM ET
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