November 28, 1998
By HANK KURZ Jr.
AP Sports Writer
BLACKSBURG, Va. (AP) - Now Virginia Tech knows how Virginia felt.
It was three years ago that the Hokies, trailing 29-14, rallied with 17 straight points in the fourth quarter to beat the Cavaliers 36-29 at Scott Stadium, stealing a bowl alliance position from them in the process.
On Saturday, before 53,207 mostly maroon and burnt orange-clad fans at Lane Stadium, it was the No. 16 Cavaliers who pulled off the miracle, outscoring the 20th-ranked Hokies 29-3 in the second half to win 36-32.
Ahmad Hawkins caught the winner, a 47-yard touchdown pass from Aaron Brooks with 2:01 remaining. The play capped a 93-yard, six-play drive by the Cavaliers, and was Hawkins' only catch of the afternoon.
"Aaron put it so only I could get it and the corner gambled," Hawkins said of Anthony Midget. "After that, I only had to beat the safety."
When he spun free of Midget around the 25, "my eyes just got real big and I had to make sure I didn't step out of bounds. It felt real good."
Brooks, who threw for 345 yards and three second-half touchdowns, lay prone at midfield for a long time after seeing Hawkins reach the end zone.
"I was really just being thankful," he said. "We were really in a no-win situation and for something like this to happen was pretty much a blessing for a us, a blessing for all the seniors really."
It was the 80th meeting in a rivalry that has grown in intensity as both schools have vastly improved their programs. The loss left Virginia Tech players devastated while the Cavaliers felt redemption for 1995.
"I don't even think this has sunken in yet," senior defensive tackle Travis Griffith said. "It's kind of like everybody's still in shock."
Pierson Prioleau, one of 13 seniors suiting up for the final time at home, said losing to Virginia "hurts a whole lot, leaves a bitter taste in your mouth. But it hurts more because this was just another loss for us."
While Virginia (9-2) accepted a Peach Bowl bid last Sunday, the Hokies (8-3) still don't know their postseason fate. Scouts from the Gator Bowl, where the Hokies played last year, and the Music City Bowl were on hand.
The comeback was the biggest in Virginia history, surpassing a rally from 21-3 down against Duke in 1995, and helped ease the burden of a 41-38 loss to Georgia Tech earlier this season. Virginia blew a 38-17 lead.
"It felt real good because I knew we worked real hard to come back from 29-7 and I was thinking how Georgia Tech came back on us and we had to do the same thing to show people we are a great team," Hawkins said.
Trailing 32-29, the Cavaliers got their chance with 3:21 left.
After an incompletion on the first play, Brooks was 4-for-4 in the drive and Thomas Jones ran for a first down on 3rd-and-1 from the Virginia 16.
"The guy threw great down the stretch and put some balls on the money," Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer said of Brooks, who threw for a school-record 390 yards and four TDs in beating the Hokies 34-20 last season.
Brooks had not choice but to heat up if Virginia was to win. He also hit Kevin Coffey for a 24-yard TD that drew the Cavaliers to within 29-14, then hit a diving Jones from 18-yards out to cut it to 32-29 with 7:02 left.
"We don't win without a great quarterback performance," said Virginia coach George Welsh, who won for the 176th time in 300 career games.
Virginia, 11th in the nation with an average of 227 rushing yards coming in, was limited to 78 on 30 carries by Virginia Tech's No. 6 rated defense.
Shyrone Stith rushed for 124 yards and a 51-yard touchdown for the Hokies, Al Clark and Lamont Pegues also ran for TDs and Shayne Graham kicked four field goals, the last an apparent back-breaker with 12:12 left.
But after Virginia held at its own 40 and the Hokies downed Jimmy Kibble's punt at the 7, Brooks went to work. He hit Casey Crawford for nine yards, Coffey for 24, Crawford again for 10 and then Hawkins for the TD.
New Coaches Welcomed Into Cavaliers' FoldWomen's Rowing8/18/17Virginia's rowing team heads into 2017-18 with two new coaches: associate head coach Emily Ford and assistant Erin Neppel.Nelson Making Name for Himself in SecondaryFootball8/16/17Redshirt freshman Brenton Nelson, who was put on scholarship this month, is competing for a starting job in Virginia's nickel defense.DeSorbo Hits Ground Running at UVASwimming & Diving8/16/17After six seasons as NC State's associate head coach, Todd DeSorbo now oversees men's and women's swimming & diving at Virginia.
Director of News Content
A 1985 graduate of UVA, White worked at the Richmond Times-Dispatch until July 2009. He was honored six times as the state's Sportswriter of the Year.
Coach's Corner Moves to Birdwood Grill in 2017
Football | 8/17/2017
The live radio program airs each Tuesday night across the Virginia Sports Network.
Jeff White: Nelson Making Name for Himself in Secondary
Football | 8/16/2017
Redshirt freshman Brenton Nelson, who was put on scholarship this month, is competing for a...
Virginia Athletics Announces Countdown to Kickoff Promotion
Football | 8/4/2017
With kickoff to the 2017 Virginia Football season just over 4 weeks away, Virginia Athletics will...
Saturday Athletics Events Cancelled
Football | 8/12/2017
Due to the ongoing public safety concerns in downtown Charlottesville and as a result of both the...
Jeff White: Training Camp Notebook
Football | 8/11/2017
Training camp continues for UVA, whose second season under Bronco Mendenhall starts Sept. 2...
Jeff White: Spaziani Sees His Efforts Rewarded
Football | 8/8/2017
One of the Cavaliers' long-snappers, redshirt junior Joe Spaziani was awarded a scholarship on...
Jeff White: New-Look Defensive Line Taking Shape
Football | 08/01/2017
Eli Hanback and Juwan Moye are working at new positions on Virginia's defensive line: Hanback at ...
Virginia Hosts Two Free Preseason Events Saturday
Football | 08/08/2017
Men’s soccer hosts Wright State at 1 p.m. followed by Football Meet the Team and Movie...
- Online Stores