Virginia Tech beats Georgia Tech 37-26, moves closer to ACC title game

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Thomas' powerful run was set up by Attaochu's silly blunder, which extended a possession that seemed to be over deep in Virginia Tech territory. On third-and-19 from his own 17, Thomas was flushed out of the pocket and corralled by several Georgia Tech defenders. But he wouldn't go down and, apparently out of frustration, Attaochu threw a punch into the side of the quarterback's helmet.

Hokies RB David Wilson rumbled for 175 yards on the ground. (Photo: Associated Press)

"I just had an overdose of adrenaline," said Attaochu, insisting he was actually trying to cause a fumble though he didn't come close to the ball. "When I made contact with him, I was mad he wouldn't go down."

Instead of a knockout, he drew a personal foul that gave Virginia Tech a first down — and very well could lead to a suspension for Attaochu after the ACC reviews the play. More important on this night, Wilson got loose for a 44-yard run and Thomas scored on a third-and-1 play that was designed to merely pick up the first down. He took it all the way to the end zone, giving the Hokies a 27-26 lead after a two-point pass was incomplete.

Then, it was Johnson who left himself open to second-guessing when he decided to go for it on fourth-and-1 at his own 31 early in the fourth. Washington tried to get it on a keeper, but he was stopped about a foot short.

"I felt like we needed to score," Johnson said. "I thought we could make a yard and we didn't."

For there, Virginia Tech moved in for the kill. The Hokies converted their own fourth-and-1, but that was an easier to call with make with Thomas to carry it. He bulled his way for a 5-yard gain, then hooked up with Chris Drager for his first career touchdown, a 14-yard pass on third down that made it 34-26.

Cody Journell sealed the victory, knocking through a 23-yard field goal with 3:02 remaining.

"When you get to November, you want to be playing for something," Beamer said. "You want to be playing for championships. And these guys have put us in that position."

After a wild final minute to the second quarter, in which the teams combined for three scores that left Virginia Tech with a 21-13 lead, the Yellow Jackets took the second-half kickoff and drove it right down the field.

Washington broke off a 35-yard run and also benefited from a personal foul penalty on Jack Tyler, who whacked Embry Peeples as he was running out of bounds, sending him flying toward the Yellow Jackets bench while yellow flags flew in from all directions. Washington finished it off with a 1-yard touchdown run, but he was stuffed on a 2-point conversion to leave Georgia Tech trailing 21-19.

No one, it seemed, could stop anyone at that point, but Virginia Tech stopped itself. With the Hokies driving for another score, Wilson had the ball stripped away by Burnett and Isaiah Johnson recovered at the 16 for the Yellow Jackets.

Back came Georgia Tech, reclaiming the lead with lightning-quick 84-yard drive that took only seven plays. Peeples went down the sideline for a 39-yard run and Washington nearly took it in with a 29-yard gain, before finishing it off with his third TD of the night on a 1-yard dive.

The winner of this game has gone on to take every Coastal Division title, and Virginia Tech is well-positioned to keep that streak alive. Rival Virginia, with two ACC losses, is the only team that still has a chance to catch the Hokies.

"We're in the driver's seat," said Danny Coale, who had a 63-yard touchdown catch in that back-and-forth ending to the first half. "We control our own destiny."

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