ACC: Chick-fil-A 2009 bowls

Instant Analysis: Virginia Tech 37, Tennessee 14

December, 31, 2009
12/31/09
10:55
PM ET
Here's a quick breakdown of the Hokies' win over Tennessee in the Chick-fil-A Bowl:

How the game was won: Virginia Tech won the battle up front on both sides. The Hokies’ defense stifled the Vols' running game, sacked Tennessee quarterback Jonathan Crompton six times, and forced two turnovers, both of which led to points. Virginia Tech was able to run the ball, which opened things up for quarterback Tyrod Taylor. The Hokies sustained drives and mixed things up offensively, keeping the Vols off guard all night with a balanced offense that racked up more than 200 yards rushing and 200 yards passing. It was a group effort, as the Hokies were able to overcome an injury to leading rusher Ryan Williams with 2:46 left in the third quarter.

Tyrod Taylor
AP Photo/John BazemoreHokies quarterback Tyrod Taylor completed 10 of 17 for 209 yards and also had a rushing touchdown.
Player of the game: Virginia Tech quarterback Tyrod Taylor. Not only did he showcase his ability to keep plays alive with his feet, but Taylor also made several impressive deep throws and showed significant improvement in the passing game. He completed 10 of 17 passes for 209 yards and one interception. He also had five carries for 26 yards and a touchdown.

Unsung hero of the game: Virginia Tech’s offensive line. They paved the way for a record-setting night for Ryan Williams and gave Taylor the time and protection he needed.

Best call: With eight seconds remaining in the first half, instead of taking a knee, offensive coordinator Bryan Stinespring caught the Vols sleeping when he called a deep vertical pass to Jarrett Boykin that went 63 yards and landed the Hokies’ on the 4-yard line. An official review determined there was still two seconds left on the clock, and a 21-yard field goal sent Virginia Tech to the locker room with a 17-14 lead.

What it means: It was a significant step forward for both Virginia Tech and the ACC, as the SEC had won the past four Chick-fil-A Bowl games. Virginia Tech had also lost four straight games to SEC teams dating back to 2002. The win gave Virginia Tech its first back-to-back bowl wins in school history, and it gave the Hokies their sixth straight 10-win season, joining only Texas in that streak. It should put Virginia Tech in the top 10 heading into 2010.

Record performance: Williams needed 110 yards to set the school’s single-season rushing record, and with 9:18 remaining in the third quarter, he passed Kevin Jones in the record books with a three-yard run. The play set up Taylor's one-yard touchdown run. Williams finished with 117 yards and two touchdowns on 25 carries before he was injured late in the third quarter. With the two touchdowns, he also set the ACC’s record for total touchdowns in a season with 22, breaking the previous record of 21 set by UNC’s Don McCauley in 1970. Williams also tied Don McCauley’s record for 100-yard games in a season with 10.

Chick-fil-A Bowl preview

December, 30, 2009
12/30/09
10:00
AM ET
Here's a quick look at Thursday night's Chick-fil-A Bowl between Virginia Tech and Tennessee:

WHO TO WATCH: Virginia Tech running back Ryan Williams. He needs 110 rushing yards against Tennessee to break Kevin Jones’ single-season school record, and needs two touchdowns to break the ACC’s record for touchdowns in a season. He’s scored at least one touchdown in seven of the past eight quarters and already has nine 100-yard games -- a Tech freshman record that is tied for the school record.

WHAT TO WATCH: Beamerball. This game has the ingredients to be a close, tightly contested game, with two teams trying to grind it out on the ground. That means there’s a good possibility the game could be decided with aggressive special teams play, a timely blocked kick and/or good field position. The Hokies have the edge in every statistical special teams category and rank among the top 25 in both kickoff return yardage defense and kickoff returns. They’re also No. 16 in the nation in turnover margin.

WHY WATCH: It's a long overdue regional matchup, and Virginia Tech has a chance to become just the second program in the country to reach 10 wins for the sixth straight season. But the Hokies are 0-2 in the Georgia Dome and 0-2 in the city of Atlanta this year. It’s also a chance for Virginia Tech to end consecutive seasons with a bowl victory for the first time in program history. A win should start the Hokies off among the top 10 in the preseason rankings.

PREDICTION: Virginia Tech’s experience on the sideline – veteran Frank Beamer vs. hotshot rookie Lane Kiffin – will make a difference, and so will Williams. With Tennessee boasting safety Eric Berry, the Hokies are going to want to keep quarterback Tyrod Taylor out of third-and-long situations and win with their ground game. The Hokies will come up with a game-changing play on defense or special teams, win the turnover battle and in turn the game, 24-21.

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Saturday, 12/20
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