Hokies survive thriller vs. Georgia Tech

Hokies survive thriller vs. Georgia Tech

BLACKSBURG, Va. (AP) -- Cody Journell knew why he'd missed a critical earlier field goal try.

He was delighted to get a chance to show it when he got another opportunity.

Journell kicked a 41-yard field goal as time expired to force overtime, then made a 17-yard field goal in the extra period to give No. 16 Virginia Tech a 20-17 victory against Georgia Tech on Monday night.

"I really just try to clear my head of everything whenever I'm out on the field," said Journell, who earlier missed from 38 yards. "I just tried to let everything go and do what I needed to do."

The kicks rescued the Hokies from another crushing season-opening loss.

They lost to East Carolina in their 2008 opener, Alabama in 2009 and Boise State in 2010, and in a season where some view them as national championship contenders, they couldn't afford to start with a loss to an Atlantic Coast Conference division foe.

It seemed fitting to Hokies coach Frank Beamer that Journell came through. Last season, he missed the Sugar Bowl while serving a suspension for his arrest on felony breaking and entering charges. He later pleaded guilty to misdemeanor trespassing, and was reinstated under conditions set by athletic director Jim Weaver.

"Cody made a big mistake and I thought he paid a tremendous price," Beamer said. "But I think he knows that this is his family and we're all pulling for him."

Journell wasn't the only star for the Hokies, but he was the biggest after what he said was his first career game-winner.

"He kicked a big one there tonight," Beamer said. "And that last one, that's not an easy one with the pressure."

Georgia Tech got the ball first in overtime, but quarterback Tevin Washington threw the ball away under pressure on third down and was intercepted by Kyle Fuller.

Washington's 10-yard scoring pass with 44 seconds left in regulation had given the Yellow Jackets a 17-14 lead before Logan Thomas then drove the Hokies for Journell's 41-yarder.

After Washington's turnover, the only one in the game, the Hokies got runs of 6 and 18 yards from Michael Holmes on the first two plays to set up the winner.

"I thought we hung in there great," Beamer said. "Those guys know what they're doing. They're tough all game. It's a right-at-you ballgame."

The Hokies trailed 17-14 until Journell made his first kick, depriving Washington of the comeback win in regulation.

Georgia Tech's run-first quarterback hit Deon Hill with a 10-yard touchdown pass in the final minute, stunning the sellout crowd.

Four plays earlier, Washington was flushed from the pocket on a fourth-and-6 play from the Hokies 37, and after eluding a pass rusher, he found B.J. Bostic with three defenders around him for a 19-yard gain on the right sideline to keep the drive alive.

"He made some great plays on the last drive in regulation," Yellow Jackets coach Paul Johnson, who is 1-4 against the Hokies, said of his QB.

The Hokies, who had gone ahead 14-10 on Thomas' 42-yard scoring pass to Demitri Knowles with 7:46 to play, got the ball back and drove to the Yellow Jackets 24 with 6 seconds remaining.

Georgia Tech used a timeout to try to ice Journell, but his kick sailed through the uprights to tie it at 17.

Fans, most of whom came clad in orange, didn't even wait for the officials to signal the kick good, but took their cues from the reactions of those with a better view and were already celebrating having scored more points in the last 7:46 than the first 52:14.

Before the offensive flurry in the fourth quarter, the game was a punting contest that turned on a punt that went awry.

Georgia Tech had managed just two first downs when Hokies freshman punter A.J. Hughes set them up with a mistake.

Dropped back in punt formation near midfield, he let a snap go through his hands and scrambled to fall on it for a 22-yard loss.

That put the Yellow Jackets at the Hokies 24, and three runs tied it. On the 12-yard touchdown, Robert Godhigh went wide around the left side, dodged defenders, broke several tackles and scored easily, making it 7-7.

The mistake seemed to knock the Hokies off their stride, and neither team threatened the rest of the half.

The Yellow Jackets finally started moving the ball and went ahead 10-7 on a 34-yard field goal by David Scully to start the fourth quarter. The score came after a 15-play, 56-yard drive that not only took 7:18 off the clock, but included three short third-down conversions and left the Hokies defenders looking as if the high humidity was finally starting to wear them down.

After falling behind, Thomas and the offense finally gave the defense a break, driving from their 23 to the Yellow Jackets 21 in 11 plays, but Journell missed the attempt.

The rested Hokies didn't let it keep them down long, holding the Yellow Jackets and forcing a punt.

This time, Thomas worked quickly. He hit Marcus Davis for 35 yards on second down, and when Davis fumbled the ball at the end of the run, Corey Fuller recovered at the Yellow Jackets 42.

On the next play, Thomas hit speedy wide receiver Demitri Knowles for the touchdown in the right corner, his first career reception.

Knowles beat Rod Sweeting, who also was called for pass interference on the play.

The Hokies had the upper hand early, moving the ball and stopping the Yellow Jackets on three plays on their first series.

Thomas did the bulk of the work for the Hokies, running 4 yards for a first down on a third-and-2 play, and hitting Kyle Fuller for 12 yards on third-and-11 from the Georgia Tech 34.

After two runs by Holmes for 17 yards, Thomas floated a touch pass over the Yellow Jackets defense to Eric Martin for a touchdown and a 7-0 lead.

Virginia Tech to hold four satellite camps

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USA TODAY Sports

Virginia Tech to hold four satellite camps

The hot topic around college football this offseason has been satellite camps and now the Hokies are getting into the mix. Head coach Justin Fuente announced on Tuesday that Virginia Tech will have four satellite camps over the summer, two will take place in key regions in Virginia while the other two will be out of state in Atlanta and New Jersey.

Of the two camps in Virginia, one will take place in the "757"—the Hampton, Norfolk, Virginia Beach area—while the other will be in Northern Virginia. The 757 region is an incredibly fertile recruiting area that has caught the attention of southern powerhouses like Florida State. Northern Virginia is also a hotly contested area with competition from the University of Virginia and the University of Maryland, among others.

The ACC previously banned satellite camps and pushed for a ban by the NCAA. The NCAA did ban the practice altogther, briefly, but after a national outcry, the ban was overturned last month.

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For his part, Fuente is not a fan of these camps, but recognizes the necessity of holding them.

“There’s a lot of issues with camps right now that we’re all trying to vet through,” Fuente said via Mike Barber of the Richmond Times-Dispatch. “In general, the whole traveling camp (idea) is not particularly good. It just opens up a lot of room for abuse. They’re not regulated at all. But I’m excited about being able to travel in our state.”

Going to Atlanta is an interesting move, but a necessary one if the Hokies hope to return to their former glory. Recruiting in the south opens Virginia Tech to more top-tier recruits. Obviously, it will be difficult to lure southern prospects away from the SEC powers, but being able to build a footprint in the SEC's backyard will greatly help Fuente's task of rebuilding the team into a conference contender.

The move to New Jersey also makes sense. The lack of a power program in the Northeast essentially makes the region up for grabs. Schools like Ohio State and Penn State have taken advantage of Rutgers' move to the Big Ten, but obviously the ACC maintains a presence throughout the east coast.

Virginia Tech's rather remote location makes holding these camps within the state important. The state was previously dominated by the Hokies in the glory days of the Frank Beamer era, but in-state recruiting has slipped in recent years. Holding Virginia camps will help Virginia Tech maintain its presence in the state.

“I think it’s certainly necessary in our state,” Fuente said. “We’re just going to dip our toe in the water of the other ones and see how that goes. I’m genuinely excited to do the ones here.”

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Virginia fires legendary lacrosse coach Dom Starsia

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(AP Photo/Kathy Kmonicek)

Virginia fires legendary lacrosse coach Dom Starsia

Virginia is making a change in leadership at the head of its lacrosse program.

On Monday the university announced that Dom Starsia, the all-time winningest coach in Division I lacrosse history with 375 victories, is being removed from his head coaching position, with a national search for a replacement to follow.

 

“Dom Starsia is a Hall of Fame coach and I want to thank him for all he has done for Virginia men’s lacrosse, UVA athletics, the University of Virginia, and the Charlottesville community,” Virginia athletic director Craig Littlepage said in a statement. “In addition to winning 73 percent of his games at UVA with multiple ACC and NCAA championships, Dom was committed to the development of student-athletes as his teams were cited for their sportsmanship and academic achievements. I’m grateful for the opportunity to have worked with and learned from Dom."

Under his watch, the Cavaliers won the ACC regular season championship ten times, and led the program to four National Championships (1999, 2003, 2006 and 2011).

He took a program that had not made the NCAA Tournament in four consecutive seasons and had not won a national championship since 1972 and turned it into arguably the top program in college lacrosse. Virginia is not just a good program, nor is it just a great program. It is a blue-blood program, something that can only be ascribed to one of three or four programs.

But the firing of Starsia comes on the heels of a 7-8 record, the program's second in three years, capping a four year stretch in which the program lost at least five games a year, for a 34-27 record since the start to the 2013 season. Prior to 2013, Starsia's Virginia teams had lost five games in a season just five times since taking over as the head coach of the Cavaliers in 1993. Virginia has a 1-15 record in the ACC since 2013 and has dropped 12 consecutive conference games. 

It also ends two weeks of speculation for Starsia, the program and recruits. On May 17th, it was reported that the university would not be renewing Starsia's contract. Two days later on May 19, a report indicated a contract extension had been confirmed.

But now it is official: Virginia is in the market for a new lacrosse coach for the first time since 1992.

Frank Beamer seems to be really enjoying retirement

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USA TODAY Sports

Frank Beamer seems to be really enjoying retirement

Retirement doesn't seem to suit everyone, especially in sports. History is full of examples of players and coaches who get antsy soon after calling it quits. That doesn't seem to be the case with Frank Beamer.

Beamer stepped aside at the end of the 2015 season after a 44-year college coaching career that included 29 years as the head coach at Virginia Tech. After such a long and storied career, you could understand if Beamer struggled a bit to adjust to life outside of coaching, but he seems to be doing just fine.

Hey, when you lead a program to 22 bowl games, seven conference championships and one national championship game berth, you can enjoy retirement any way you want.

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