Hokies ride youth movement to win over Jackets

BLACKSBURG, Va. -- Virginia Tech's youth movement is looking better, and Tyrod Taylor, Darren Evans and an opportunistic defense gave Hokies fans reason for optimism Saturday.

Taylor and Evans each ran for a touchdown, the Hokies put together a late scoring drive, the defense forced three turnovers and then held on in a harrowing finish as Virginia Tech beat Georgia Tech 20-17 in a critical early-season matchup.

The Hokies (2-1, 1-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) drove 76 yards for the winning 21-yard field goal by Dustin Keys after the Yellow Jackets tied it at 17 with 9:28 to play. The drive was helped by two 15-yard personal foul penalties against Georgia Tech.

The Yellow Jackets (2-1, 1-1) had a chance to go ahead, but Josh Nesbitt overthrew Roddy Jones behind the Hokies' defense on a 3rd-and-7, then was sacked by Purnell Sturdivant on fourth down with 2:15 to play, one of the few times Nesbitt didn't get away.

The Yellow Jackets gained 387 yards, with 278 coming on the ground.

Georgia Tech got the ball back one more time at its own 5 with 25 seconds left, and two long completions by Nesbitt moved them to the Hokies' 46, but they ran out of time.

Taylor, who assumed the quarterback job after Sean Glennon never left the bench, was 9-for-14 for just 48 yards, but also ran for 74 yards on 15 attempts. He scored on a 2-yard run late in the first half, a drive set up by a fumble recovery at Georgia Tech's 43.

Evans, who gained 94 yards on 19 carries, had an 8-yard touchdown run in the second quarter and a 24-yard burst in the drive, leading to Keys' second field goal with 4:37 remaining.

The Hokies did a good job of containing the triple option until late, when Nesbitt led an 81-yard, nine-play drive, capping it by scrambling 18 yards for the touchdown to cut the lead to 17-15.

Needing a 2-point conversion that was complicated by a false start that made him snap it at the 8-yard line, Nesbitt dropped back, rolled right to freeze the defense and fired a pass to Lucas Cox under the goal post that tied it at 17-all.

Nesbitt finished with 151 rushing yards on 28 attempts. He attempted just eight passes, completing five for 109 yards, with a touchdown and third-quarter interception.

The pick, by Cody Grimm at the Hokies' 32, led to Keys' first field goal from 25 yards.

Earlier, with just his second pass of the game, Nesbitt found Jones streaking all alone down the middle of the field, a 41-yard touchdown that gave the Yellow Jackets a 9-7 lead.