Wednesday, January 04, 2012
Virginia Tech notebook: Last kick spoils Myer's night
Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer (left) shakes hands with Michigan coach Brady Hoke after Michigan's Sugar Bowl win.
Virginia Tech stories
- Hokies start fresh at offense
- Hokies' athletic director requested 'night off'
- Virginia Tech fans need new tailgate tradition
Blog: Andy Bitter
- Wednesday links: A story about the 1947 Sun Bowl, Stinespring interviews at JMU and more
- Some thoughts about the Hokies’ quarterback outlook post-Logan Thomas
- Ohio quarterback Chris Durkin flips ’14 commitment from Michigan State to Virginia Tech
- Join the Hokie football conversation on Andy's blog
Twitter: Andy Bitter
NEW ORLEANS -- Virginia Tech's kicking situation looked bleak all week, with the Hokies down to third-stringer Justin Myer for the Sugar Bowl.
Myer made those concerns look foolish in the first half Tuesday.
But in the end, it was the senior kickoff specialist's only miss of the night that cost the Hokies in their 23-20 overtime loss.
Myer made field goals of 37, 43, 36 and 26 yards, the fourth one sending the game into overtime tied at 20.
But he missed from 37 yards out in the extra session, and his counterpart, Michigan kicker Brendan Gibbons converted his opportunity to give the Wolverines the win.
Myer was thrust into starting duty after Cody Journell was suspended indefinitely after being arrested and charged with a felony after an alleged home invasion Dec. 22.
Journell's expected replacement, Tyler Weiss, missed curfew on the team's first night in New Orleans and was sent home via bus as punishment.
Virginia Tech head coach Frank Beamer didn't sound overly confident this week in Myer, who had been used only in long field-goal situations, missing from 53 and 57 yards this season. But the senior was dead on when the game started.
His 37-yarder came with 7:04 left in the first quarter to break a scoreless tie. The 43-yarder made it 6-0 Hokies.
It was the longest field goal by a Virginia Tech kicker since Chris Hazley made a 43-yarder against Florida State in the 2010 ACC championship game.
Sticking with nickel
Virginia Tech started the game in its nickel package, with Kyle Fuller playing the nickel back spot and redshirt freshman Detrick Bonner starting on the outside at cornerback.
Fuller got his second interception this year on Michigan's second drive, going up over Junior Hemingway to pick off a deep Denard Robinson throw down the middle.
Whip linebacker Alonzo Tweedy returned to action, too, after missing the better part of four games with a high ankle sprain. Tweedy got in when the Hokies went with their base defense.
That's the ticket
Dave Smith, Virginia Tech's assistant director of athletics for communications, said the school used a little over 15,100 of its 17,500 ticket allotment for the Sugar Bowl.
That figures includes the 4,000-plus tickets Virginia Tech and the ACC distributed to military personnel, meaning the sales figure was actually closer to 11,100.
The ACC covers the entire cost for unsold tickets once a school reaches the 8,000 mark.
Been a while
Tuesday's game was the first Sugar Bowl since 1945 not to have a top-10 team. Virginia Tech entered the game ranked 17th in the Associated Press poll, while Michigan was 13th.
The '45 game featured No.11 Duke and unranked Alabama.
One fine day
Count Beamer as someone who isn't crazy about the major bowl games being spread across several days instead of being played on New Year's Day.
"I know TV's there, but it's just difficult," Beamer said. "I think it's difficult on fans everywhere. You know, after New Year's, your kids are going back to school. Now here it's the 3rd, and it's a three-day stay with hotels. It makes it a difficult situation to fill the stadiums."
Beamer understands the impact of TV on the schedule. ESPN/ABC owns television rights to the BCS games and has to spread them across several days to maximize ratings. But Beamer thinks the first goal should be to sell the games out.
The Hokies coach said, "I think it's something that probably needs to be thought out and talked about: is this what's best for college football in general is to play so many games after January the 1st?"