Nebraska's comeback delayed by Hokies

September, 19, 2009
9/19/09
8:40
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com’s Heather Dinich


BLACKSBURG, Va. -- With one play, Nebraska’s chance at a statement road win against a ranked opponent was wiped out, and so was any heart its defense had left. Several Huskers dropped to the field in sheer disbelief after Virginia Tech quarterback Tyrod Taylor completed an improbable 81-yard pass to Danny Coale that set up the game-winning touchdown with just over a minute left in the game.
Scott Cunningham/Getty Images
Tyrod Taylor’s back-breaking pass late in the game crushed Nebraska.

The play changed the game, and the timetable for which Nebraska will make its comeback on the national stage ... not today.

For the majority of the game, it looked like Nebraska would get a statement road win against No. 14-ranked Virginia Tech. It even felt like the Huskers should’ve been leading by a touchdown or two, but they couldn’t cross the goal line and depended solely on five field goals in a 16-15 loss to Virginia Tech.

“We all take responsibility for not finishing the deal,” Nebraska coach Bo Pelini said. “You have to finish the job and we didn’t do that. Each and every guy that walked on the field had a hand in us not winning the football game. Coaches included. They made the plays. We didn’t. Pretty simple. In a game like that, you’ve got to make a play.”

Instead, Virginia Tech made two. The 81-yard pass led to Dyrell Roberts' 11-yard touchdown reception with 21 seconds left on the clock.

Nebraska, in its second season under Pelini, came into this game with the hopes of knocking off its first ranked opponent under Pelini and trying to stop an 11-game losing streak against teams ranked 20th or higher. The Cornhuskers got an all-star performance from defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, who had four pass breakups -- a record for defensive linemen. Quarterback Zac Lee played a respectable game, showed he can make plays with his feet, and running back Roy Helu Jr. almost single-handedly racked up as much total yardage (202) as the Hokies entire offense (278).

But it was all overshadowed by the final score, and at a storied program such as Nebraska, that’s the only thing that matters.

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