On Oct 17, 2009 the No. 4 Virginia Tech Hokies rolled into Atlanta on a five-game win streak, including a comebacker against the No. 19 Nebraska Cornhuskers and a rainy beatdown of the No. 9 Miami Hurricanes, after playing the eventual national champion Alabama Crimson Tide closer than anybody but the Tennessee Volunteers or Auburn Tigers would all year. The Hokies had even led the Tide going into the fourth quarter in the Georgia Dome.
Meanwhile the No. 19 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets had just won in Tallahassee for the first time ever, and had another milestone on their minds: beating a top-five team in Bobby Dodd Stadium for the first time since 1962.
The Jackets played one of their two or three best all-around games of the Paul Johnson era*, winning 28-23, though it was 28-16 until garbage time. The Wreckbone banged out 309 yards on the Hokies’ stout defense, almost all of it in the first half.
Other than giving up a 66-yard run to terrifying Hokies RB Ryan Williams, Tech kept the lid on Virginia Poly’s sometimes-thunderous, sometimes-ploddy, always definitively ACC offense. DE Derrick Morgan’s growing familiarity with QB Tyrod Taylor certainly helped, as did safety Morgan Burnett making the play of his college career, making a diving pick in the end zone.
You’ll notice the defensive players most worth mentioning are no longer around. That’s bad. But this is about last year. Hey, last year!
“What we did tonight was stay alive and put everyone else back in [ACC title contention],” said Johnson. If a weaker Jackets squad can top last year by pulling off a road upset, Johnson will get to — well, actually, Virginia Tech has to lose twice for anybody else to have a shot. This paragraph would’ve been way cuter if that weren’t true, guys.
- Well, except for the passing game. Joshua Nesbitt completed one of seven for 51 yards. But still — 51 yards on seven attempts really isn’t that bad.
Yes, I’ve watched this video at least ten times in the past year: