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College Football Season
Sugar Bowl

Michigan Michigan (11-2) 23
Virginia Tech Virginia Tech (11-3) 20

Bowl Index

Game Recap

by CFP Staff
January 4, 2012

Despite being outgained 377-187 and unable to mount any serious offensive threat, Michigan downed Virginia Tech 23-20 on Tuesday night (January 3rd) in the first overtime game in 78 editions of the Sugar Bowl.

Justin Myer, a senior kick-off specialist turned field goal kicker was 4-for-4 until sending a 37-yarder wide right on the first possession of overtime. The Wolverines' Brendan Gibbons split the uprights 4 plays later.

Myer hit a 25-yard field goal with 2 seconds left in regulation to get the Hokies into overtime.

Virginia Tech finished 11-3 and Michigan 11-2 in a game played between the winningest team since 1995 (the Hokies) and the winningest team of all-time.

The Hokies bowl record fell to 9-16 as they closed the season with two straight losses. Michigan improved to 20-21 in bowl games and ended the year on a 4-game winning streak.

Michigan's first season under Brady Hoke produced a 4-win improvement and a much better feeling after a bowl game than last year's debacle in the Gator Bowl - a 52-14 loss to Mississippi State.

But Virginia Tech pretty much had its way in this game and was its own worst enemy. Leading 6-0, Frank Beamer eschewed a short field goal attempt in the 2nd quarter that almost certainly would have given his team a two possession lead at 9-0. Michigan stopped the Hokies and took over on downs on its own 4-yard line and embarked on a touchdown drive, kept alive by a roughing-the-kicker penalty on a punt from the Wolverine 26-yard line. The drive ended on a 45-yard touchdown pass from Denard Robinson that was nearly intercepted by Eddie Whitley, but Junior Hemingway snatched it and raced down the field for a 7-6 Michigan lead. Tony Gregory then fumbled the ensuing kickoff return at his own 26 and Gibbons kicked a 24-yard field goal to give the Wolverines a 10-6 halftime lead.

Michigan went ahead 17-6 in the 3rd quarter after another Virginia Tech turnover. At the start of the Hokies' second drive after intermission, Logan Thomas tried to throw over the top of defensive end Frank Clark who plucked the ball from the air to give Michigan another short field. Starting from the VT 35, Michigan scored four plays later on Robinson's 18-yard pass over the middle to Hemingway in the back of the endzone. The pass came two plays after Jayron Hosely appeared to have intercepted a pass, but was called for interference.

Virginia Tech closed to within 17-9 on a 36-yard field goal from Myer. After a Michigan 3-and-out, a nearly 8-minute drive ended with a 1-yard sneak by Thomas and a 2-point conversion pass from Thomas to Marcus Davis to tie it at 17-17. Virginia Tech converted four third-down plays and one 4th-down play on the drive.

But the Hokies weren't done making mistakes. On 4th-and-1 at the Michigan 48, Virginia Tech faked a punt and lost 7 yards to give the Wolverines great field position again. That led to a 39-yard field goal by Gibbons and a 20-17 Michigan lead with 4 minutes left in the game.

Unfazed, Thomas led the Hokies on an 11-play march from his own 9-yard line. Just when it looked like Virginia Tech would be unstoppable on its march to a game-winning touchdown, offensive guard Greg Nosal jumped offside on a 3rd-and-2 at the Wolverine 8. A pass to Jarrett Boykin came up two yards short of a first down on the next play, leaving Virginia Tech with little choice but to settle for the tying field goal.

In overtime, Danny Coale made a great diving grab of a Thomas pass that looked to have put the Hokies ahead by a touchdown. But the play was overturned after further review on the ruling that Coale didn't maintain possession through the ground. Replays actually clearly appeared to show that he did and the controversial ruling was followed by Myer's only missed field goal of the night.

Officials also nullified two Virginia Tech interceptions on disputable calls.

Virginia Tech's David Wilson set a new school single season rushing record as his 82 yards boosted his total to 1,709.

Michigan QB Denard Robinson was held to 117 passing yards on a 9-of-21 performance. He had just 13 yards on the ground.

It was another disappointing BCS bowl trip for the Hokies who fell to 1-5 in BCS bowls and 2-6 in major bowls. Virginia Tech won the 1995 season Sugar Bowl over Texas and lost the '96 season Orange to Nebraska, both before the BCS came into existence. The Hokies then lost the BCS title game at the Sugar Bowl to Florida State in the '99 season, lost again in the Sugar by 3 points to undefeated Auburn in the '04 season, dropped the '07 season Orange to Kansas, won the '08 Orange, lost last year's Orange to Stanford, and now this year's Sugar to Michigan.

The win was Michigan's first in a BCS bowl since the 1999 season Orange Bowl. The Wolverines had gone 0-3 in Rose Bowls in the interim.

Michigan notched its first 10-win season since 2006 while Virginia Tech enjoyed an 8th straight 10-win campaign. The Hokies' 19 consecutive bowl trips are second only to Florida State with 30 and Florida with 21.

75% of voters picked Michigan to win and the Congrove Computer Rankings at forecasted a 3.16-point victory for the Maize & Blue.


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