Game doesn't 'fit' for Tech

Friday, January 4, 2008


2008 Orange Bowl

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Video stories on KU's trip to the Orange Bowl.


2008 Orange Bowl

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Miami, here we come

Journal-World KU reporter Jonathan Kealing is covering the fans in and on their way to Miami for the Jayhawks' first ever BCS bowl game. Check out some pitstops and potholes on the way to Miami and keep up with Journal-World Orange Bowl coverage from Miami on our interactive road trip map.

— Virginia Tech has earned a reputation under coach Frank Beamer as being a program that thrives on forcing opponents to make mistakes.

The emphasis, heavy on special teams and defense, even has a nickname familiar to many college football fans: "Beamerball."

On Thursday night at the Orange Bowl, however, the Hokies got beat at their own game.

Three interceptions, five sacks, a blocked field goal and a blown punt coverage all played a role in helping No. 8-ranked Kansas University secure a 24-21 victory against the fifth-ranked Hokies before a sellout crowd at Dolphin Stadium.

"The game just didn't fit right," Beamer said dejectedly in his postgame news conference. "It was one of those games, about the time you had something going, something happened."

Nowhere was that more evident than the early events of the third quarter. After KU's opening drive stalled, Virginia Tech turned in the type of play that has become its signature under Beamer, running a reverse on a punt return that ended with Justin Harper taking it 84 yards to the end zone.

The point-after kick cut KU's lead to 17-14, and the Hokies were smelling blood in the water.

Following another Kansas drive that went nowhere - to be more precise, backward, as the Jayhawks lost five yards in three plays before punting - Virginia Tech marched right back down the field.

Facing a long fourth-and-two and wanting to see his club pull even, Beamer sent out placekicker Jud Dunlevy for a chip-shot 25-yard field-goal attempt.

Instead, KU's Joe Mortensen broke through the center of the line, blocking the kick with his chest. While the play didn't immediately lead to points for the Jayhawks, it stemmed the tide until KU quarterback Todd Reesing and company were able to find the end zone one last time for an insurance score early in the fourth quarter.

"We had them on the run," Beamer said. "I thought the momentum was turning, we get things tied up, and we're in good shape. But then we turn a guy free, and they block the kick.

"We just didn't execute plays as well as we needed to."

While lamenting their own troubles, the Hokies were also quick to credit the Kansas defense for making life miserable.

"They did a great job of keeping the pressure on all night," said quarterback Sean Glennon, who finished just 13-of-28 for 160 yards and two interceptions. "They made it difficult to sit in the pocket and throw, and they did a great job of forcing us to make mistakes.

"When they do that, it's going to be tough to recover."