Kansas Wins Orange In Third Try
by Mike Mitchell
January 4, 2008
After losing the 1947 Orange Bowl to Georgia Tech, and the 1968 season edition to Penn State, Kansas landed an Orange Bowl victory with a 24-21 upset of Virginia Tech.
The Hokies entered the game favored by a field goal, but the Jayhawks seized a 17-0 lead in the second quarter.
Aqib Talib opened the Jayhawks' onslaught with a 60-yard interception return of a Tyrod Taylor pass. On the first play of the second quarter, Chris Harris intercepted Sean Glennon to set up Scott Webb's 32-yard filed goal that made it 10-0. Following a three-and-out on Virginia Tech's next possession, Todd Reesing capped a 59-yard drive with a 13-yard pass to 6'4 senior receiver Marcus Henry.
Virginia Tech dug itself out of the hole on its next drive. A 13-play drive included 11 rushes for 48 yards by Branden Ore to make the score 17-7 at the break.
The Hokies closed to within a field goal on their first touch of the second half when Eddie Royal fielded a punt but gave it to Justin Harper on a reverse and Harper streaked 84 yards for the touchdown. Virginia Tech had the opportunity to tie the game on its next possession but Jud Dunlevy's 25-yard field try was blocked.
Kansas reached the Virginia Tech 1-yard line with a 1st-and-goal late in the third quarter, but two penalties gave them 2nd-and-goal from the 29. D.J. Parker intercepted Reesing on the next play to end the threat.
The Jayhawks would soon get another chance when Justin Thornton picked off Glennon's pass at the Virginia Tech 32 and returned it to the 2-yard line. Reesing scored on a keeper on the very next play for a 24-14 lead with 11:01 left in the game.
A sputtering Hokies offense still could not move the ball and Reesing almost guided the Jayhawks in for the door-slammer on its next series. However, that drive ended at the Virginia Tech 22 on a 4th down incompletion.
Glennon completed 7-of-11 passes on a 2:51 drive that culminated with his 20-yard touchdown pass to Harper to make it 24-21.
The onside kick, though, was covered easily by Kansas and Virginia Tech never touched the ball again.
Reesing was 20-of-37 for 227 yards.
Ore was Virginia Tech's best offensive performer, gaining 116 yards even though he sat out the first quarter as a penalty for being late to a bowl preparation practice.
Virginia Tech lost its third straight BCS game (0-3), and its last win in a major bowl was in its first effort when it beat Texas 28-10 in the 1995 Sugar Bowl, prior to the formation of the Bowl Championship Series. The Hokies were playing in a bowl game for the 15th consecutive season but are just 6-9 in those contests.
Kansas has won four of its last five bowl games, and has a 2-1 bowl record under Mark Mangino.
Virginia Tech played the 2007 season with heavy hearts after an April massacre by a fellow student left 32 students and faculty dead, and 23 others injured. The gunman took his own life to become the 33rd casualty. The Hokies' 11-3 season included an ACC Championship and a #1 ranking by the BCS computer components heading into the bowl season.
Kansas ended the year with a 12-1 record, best among all Big 12 teams.