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September 29, 2012

Bearcats Strike Late For 27-24 Win

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LANDOVER, Md. - With under two minutes left, Virginia Tech looked like it had come back for a big win with long touchdown reception by senior Corey Fuller.

Just 1:30 later, that probable win was gone.

Cincinnati senior wide receiver Damon Julian hauled in a 39-yard touchdown pass from junior quarterback Munchie Legaux with 13 seconds left to give Cincinnati a 27-24 win at FedEx Field.

"I thought we had it a couple of times and then didn't have it," coach Frank Beamer said. "I thought they made some great plays and we helped them a little bit. But that's the way it is."

The Bearcats didn't excel on offense either, but controlled the clock and gradually moved the ball. On its second possession of the game, sophomore kicker Tony Miliano got Cincinnati on the scoreboard with a 20-yard field goal that caromed off the right upright and through.

With 1:51 left in the first quarter, Cincinnati caught a break when Virginia Tech senior wide receiver Corey Fuller fumbled on a screen left at his own 11 yard line. Bearcats sophomore Ralph Abernathy ran into the end zone on the next play, but the call and drive were stymied on a holding penalty.

Cincinnati gambled and faked a field goal attempt, in which the Bearcats completed a pass but were stopped at the three yard-line. They still added another field goal on their next drive after another three and out by the Hokies.

Virginia Tech's break came when senior linebacker tipped a pass by junior quarterback Munchie Legaux that was cradled on the ground by redshirt freshman defensive tackle Kris Harley at the 13-yard line late in the second quarter.

On fourth down, Thomas, who struggled the whole first half, rushed ahead for a five-yard touchdown with 2:41 left in the second quarter.

Cincinnati picked up where it left off early in the third quarter, when Legaux found senior wide receiver Kenbrell Thompkins for a touchdown pass to take a 13-7 lead.

It looked like the Hokies would answer after Thomas connected with Davis on a big pass to the two yard-line. Senior running back Martin Scales got in the end zone on the next play but the touchdown came back on a holding penalty. Thomas looked to have senior tight end Randall Dunn open at the goal line on the next play, but Dunn tipped the ball in the air, with Cincinnati junior safety Arryn Chenault coming up with the interception.

Virginia Tech moved the ball to the 11-yard line on a few big runs but had to settle for a 28-yard field goal by junior kicker Cody Journell on the first play of the fourth quarter.

After a third penalty on junior cornerback Antone Exum, the Hokies caught yet another break when the Bearcats missed wide left on a 41-yard field goal with 11:39 left in the game.

Virginia Tech responded with an 8-play, 76-yard drive capped with a three-yard touchdown by redshirt freshman Michael Holmes as he got moving with a number of successive runs.

But Cincinnati wasn't done. Not a minute later, Thompkins hauled in a 76-yard touchdown pass, moving wide open from the middle of the field to the left.

With under two minutes to play, Virginia Tech came back. After a few plays to get short of midfield, Thomas hit Fuller over the middle of the field. Fuller beat the coverage and ran 56 yards for the touchdown.

But the Bearcats struck last, as Damon Julian hauled in a 39-yard touchdown pass with 13 seconds left for the win.

"You never really think about things like that," Davis said. "You always see it on TV or you see it in movies, or something like that and you just don't want to be that team. The feeling inside of you is unreal, but it happens."

The Hokies fall to 3-2 and will try to rebound next week, when they get back into ACC play at North Carolina.


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