|No. 6 Hokies learn from BC loss, rebound to earn rematch in ACC title game|
|Written by Admin|
|Friday, 30 November 2007 12:34|
No. 6 Virginia Tech hasn't lost since, winning four in a row and earning a rematch with 12th-ranked Boston College in the Atlantic Coast Conference championship game Saturday.
``We were down after the game, but we didn't stay down very long,'' Hokies defensive end Orion Martin said. ``We moved on past that. That's way behind us. We're not even thinking about that.''
Tech coach Frank Beamer conceded Friday that the rematch at Jacksonville Municipal Stadium could be called a revenge game, even though it has a berth in the Orange Bowl at stake.
``I don't deny that if you've got a choice to play Clemson, who we were able to beat, or Boston College, who beat us, then most people would chose Boston College,'' Beamer said. ``But you have to be careful what you wish for because, now that you've got them, you've got to figure out how to beat them.''
Virginia Tech (10-2) wasn't able to do that in the first meeting.
Ryan directed two touchdown drives in the final 5 minutes, turning a 10-0 deficit into a 14-10 victory that kept the Eagles (10-2) squarely in the national championship picture.
The Hokies had harassed Ryan most of the game, forcing him into countless hurried throws on a windy and rainy night in Blacksburg, Va.
But then Ryan found a rhythm, scrambling away from pressure and leading BC's comeback.
``He showed me so much in that football game,'' Tech linebacker Xavier Adibi said. ``I didn't think he was a quarterback that could move out of the pocket. He showed great poise, a lot of determination, great leadership and an excellent arm. He's the heart of their football team.''
Ryan led the Eagles on a 91-yard scoring drive, capping it with a 16-yard TD pass to Rich Gunnell with 2:11 left.
After BC recovered an onside kick, Ryan went back to work. The senior completed three passes on the run, including the game-winner. Ryan slid to his left and found Andre Callender in the end zone for a 24-yard TD pass with 11 seconds left.
``We made some plays down the stretch and were very fortunate to come away with a win,'' Ryan said. ``As a quarterback, you just want the ball in your hands toward the end of the game with a chance to win, and we had that that night.''
The Eagles had a chance for much more, but they followed the huge win with consecutive losses to Florida State and Maryland.
BC's shot at the national title was gone and so was Ryan's status as the Heisman Trophy front-runner.
``It's a long season. There's going to be ups and downs, and you have to fight through those types of things,'' Ryan said. ``As a team, we've done a really good job with that.''
Virginia Tech has been even more resilient.
The Hokies rebounded with victories against Georgia Tech, Florida State, Miami and Virginia - winning those four games by a combined 87 points.
More impressive, Tech didn't allow any fourth-quarter points in the winning streak.
``One thing we've learned is you can never be satisfied,'' Adibi said. ``You've got to play all four quarters. We preach it all the time, but (the BC) game really showed us and it really just slapped us in our face. You've got to play all four quarters and just keep making plays.''
The rematch should have a decidedly different feel, starting with the weather. It's supposed to partly cloudy with a high around 70 degrees.
Both teams expect personnel changes, too.
The Hokies have switched to a two-quarterback system, rotating starter Sean Glennon and the mobile backup Tyrod Taylor. They also have linebacker Vince Hall back in the lineup after missing four games with a broken left forearm and wrist.
The Eagles, meanwhile, probably will be without senior cornerback DeJuan Tribble for a third straight game. Tribble has a sprained knee ligament, but first-year coach Jeff Jagodzinski said Friday his availability would be a game-time decision.
One constant: the Eagles are the underdog again.
``I'm thrilled that we are underdogs again down here,'' Jagodzinski said. ``We were underdogs at Georgia Tech. We were underdogs at Virginia Tech. We were underdogs at Clemson. It doesn't matter.''