Nov. 4, 2010
BLACKSBURG, Va. (AP) – David Wilson returned a kickoff 90 yards for a touchdown with 2:23 to play and No. 20 Virginia Tech held on to beat Georgia Tech 28-21 on Thursday night.
Wilson’s return came on the kickoff right after the Yellow Jackets tied it, allowing the Hokies (7-2, 5-0 ACC) to overcame a sloppy effort and remain in control of their fate in the ACC’s Coastal Division.
The Yellow Jackets (5-4, 3-3), played the second half without quarterback Joshua Nesbitt, who was injured late in the first half trying to make a tackle after throwing an interception at Virginia Tech’s 1. The injury was to his right forearm, the school said, and came after he led one scoring drive, then ran 71 yards for another touchdown.
Still, they gave the Hokies all they could handle.
The Yellow Jackets fell behind 21-14 with 6:34 to play on Tyrod Taylor’s 2-yard pass to Andre Smith, but they immediately answered behind backup quarterback Tevin Washington.
He hit Tyler Melton for 42 yards on the first play after Taylor’s scoring pass – Georgia Tech’s first pass completion of the game – and they did the rest on the ground. Roddy Jones ran for 5 yards on fourth-and-4 from the Hokies 32, and Orwin Smith ran it in from the 9.
Just 2:34 remained, and Wilson needed 11 seconds to get the lead back. He caught the ball near the 10, cut left, dodged one attempted ankle tackle and used his sprinter speed down the sideline. It was his second kickoff return for a touchdown of the season, and kept the Hokies in line to win the division – and a spot in the ACC title game – by winning their last three.
Georgia Tech then drove to the Hokies 17, but Rashad Carmichael intercepted a pass in the end zone with 8 seconds left, sealing the Hokies’ 17th victory in 22 Thursday night games.
The absence of Nesbitt made all the difference – for both sides.
He had 122 yards rushing against the Hokies last season, including a 39-yard run with 3 minutes left to seal the Yellow Jackets’ victory, and had already run for 86 yards on six attempts when Davon Morgan’s knee hit his throwing forearm on a tackle attempt.
Nesbitt was helped to the locker room for X-rays and did not return.
The Hokies, meanwhile, had troubles of their own.
Trailing 14-7, Taylor drove the Hokies to the Yellow Jackets 8 in the second quarter, but on third-and-goal, with 10 seconds to look for a receiver, he threw right to Rod Sweeting on the back line of the end zone. It was Taylor’s first interception in four games.
The Hokies’ defense responded with its first three-and-out series, but Jayron Hosely fumbled the ensuing punt and Isaiah Johnson recovered for Georgia Tech at the Hokies 47.
Morgan’s interception at the 1 ended that series, keeping the score at 14-7.
The Yellow Jackets made it look too easy at the start.
After Nesbitt was flushed on the first play from scrimmage – at the 42, no less, after a nice return by Emery Peeples – and threw incomplete, they ran on eight consecutive plays.
Orwin Smith went 27 yards on the second play, and Nesbitt converted the only third down with a 3-yard run on third-and-1. He also took it the final yard and it was 7-0 after 3:40.
After the Hokies punted, Nesbitt burned the Hokies quickly, taking another third-and-1 run 71 yards virtually untouched for a touchdown. On the play, he became the career rushing leader among ACC quarterbacks, passing Clemson’s Woodrow Dantzler (1998-2001), who had 2,761.
Ryan Williams’ 4-yard run made it 14-7 on the first play of the second quarter.