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Virginia Tech stuns Nebraska in final minute for 16-15 win

By Max Olson

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Published: Saturday, September 19, 2009

Updated: Saturday, September 19, 2009

BLACKSBURG, Va. - Nebraska’s defense held No. 13 Virginia Tech’s explosive offense to 10 points and only 190 total yards on 59 plays.

It only took one mistake to negate those efforts and send NU home with a 16-15 loss.
On second-and-six from his own 15-yard line, Tech quarterback Tyrod Taylor found a wide-open Danny Coale on an 81-yard pass that would have gone for a touchdown had safety Matt O’Hanlon not made a shoestring tackle.

“You’ve got to go make the sack,” NU coach Bo Pelini said. “You’ve got to go get them, and we didn’t do it. (Taylor) got them to stop and hesitate, and the guy made a play. Good job by them.”

O’Hanlon sacked Taylor for an eight-yard loss on the next play to give NU a chance, and Taylor threw an incomplete pass to make it third-and-goal from the 11.

After scrambling around in search of a receiver, Taylor found receiver Dyrell Roberts on the back right of the end zone with 21 seconds left in the game.

Without a timeout, NU didn’t stand a chance from there. NU quarterback Zac Lee’s last-ditch throw downfield was intercepted by Tech corner Rashad Carmichael.

NU defensive backs coach Marvin Sanders said the play call was a Cover 2 defense, and once Coale got past cornerback Anthony West, the play fell apart.

“The guys got behind us and we probably took a bad angle,” Sanders said. “We were in a two-deep zone and we had some guys on the quarterback, but he unfortunately got out.”

NU clung to a small lead over Tech for nearly all of the second half thanks to a career day from Alex Henery.

The junior kicker put up all of the Huskers’ points on field goals of 40, 27, 19, 38 and 38 yards to help keep NU in a game in which its offense failed to get in the end zone of all five of its red zone possessions.

“We had our chances and we didn’t take advantage,” Henery said. “I’d like a win over my stats every time.”

Roy Helu Jr. rushed for 169 yards on 28 carries to pace Nebraska’s offense. Lee completed 11 of his 30 passes for 136 yards and two interceptions.

NU’s defense held Taylor and the Hokies’ offense in check offensively for much of the game. Taylor threw for 192 yards on the day and was held to 5 rushing yards.

Tech tailback Ryan Williams rushed for 94 yards and a touchdown in the first half, but NU’s defense managed to bottle him up in the second half. The speedy redshirt freshman was limited to 13 yards in the game’s final two quarters.

“I don’t measure on yards or how we play,” Pelini said. “You’ve got to win the football game. We didn’t win the football game so we didn’t play good enough in any phase of the game. I measure on results."

After rushing for 444 yards last week against Marshall, the Hokies managed only 86 yards on the ground Saturday, due in part to a dominant day from NU defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh.

Suh collected a team-high eight tackles and a half a sack on the day while setting a school record for defensive linemen with four pass breakups.

Nebraska (2-1) will face Louisiana-Lafayette next Saturday night at Memorial Stadium. The homecoming game will commemorate the 300th-consecutive sellout of the stadium.


Your name
Tue Sep 22 2009 21:28

Yeah I think somebody just looked at the stats of your guys' Marshall game and figured "oh hey those guys must be off the charts with their offense". I figured it was common knowledge Virginia Tech's bread and butter was defense and special teams, almost at the expense of offense

mojo rising
Tue Sep 22 2009 17:51
For the hokie 2001 fan, you do realize that nebraska is a superior team and you were lucky to win, if zac lee would have had more experience i think we could have won 35 to16. I think we have some excellent coaches. You can always second guess after a close game. If we had gone for it on 4th and 1, and then fumbled everyone would be asking why we went for it. So many things can happen in a football game, no one can predict what is going to happen. I do believe cody green is going to see alot of playing time this year. Im proud of my huskers! Go big red, kick missouri into misery!
Tue Sep 22 2009 17:25
As a Hokie alumni and fan, your team played a heck of a game... but I have to question the first line of this story -- "explosive offense" ??? I didn't know we had one of those, in fact I think we ranked less than 95th in the NCAA for the past three years in total offense. However, the final drive was pretty explosive. With that being said -- your team played a great game and really held our running game in check. I think Nebraska is on the way back and you guys have a chance to make some noise in the Big 12. Good luck this season-- Hokie2001 in VA
Your name
Mon Sep 21 2009 23:40
"Why didn't Pelini challenge?"

He said later he didn't have a good view of the play at the time, and neither did anybody else. Timeout management was sketchy at best and putting one (their last one, IIRC) on the line for a challenge on a play he didn't even see would not have helped the situation.

As to why the booth review team didn't stop the game to take a look... got me.

DC Husker
Mon Sep 21 2009 13:34
That last second VT TD reminded me of the time when James Brown of Texas buned us on a wide open TD throw in the 1996 Big 12 title game.

Callahan would have lost this game 38 to 15.

Mon Sep 21 2009 09:54
If the refs would've reviewed an obvious NU touchdown that was ruled incomplete, we would've won.
Why didn't Pelini challenge?
Sun Sep 20 2009 23:12
- Last year they dominated the game(VT), but only won 35 to 30. This year we dominated but lost 16 to 15, at their house. I see alot of improvement. It wasn"t to long ago that Nebraska was getting blown out several games a year. I see us as being competitive in every game and now Zac Lee knows what pressure feels like,(he was only in his third game). Bo Pellini is only in his second year. At least we lost to a top twenty team, do you think we would have lost to Washington? You people all need to lighted up, these guys can coach! Remember, this is only a game with 19,20,21 year old kids putting their bodys on the line for our entertainment.
Your name
Sun Sep 20 2009 21:35
Sun Sep 20 2009 16:38
Man, you people sure take a lot of time responding to my post, but I'M the loser---no wonder you think this loss is soooo great. I suppose you think Pelini should win player of the game for such a great throw of his headset. That behavior would get you fired in most high schools in the state. The leader should act like a grown up---let the kids make the mistakes--that's why this is a school.
Sun Sep 20 2009 14:49
Otis - Since you said "Cut on me if you want", I will. Go back to Mayberry and hang with Andy, Barney, and Aunt B. You are such a loser and embarrassment to all child kind. Haven't you moved on since yesterday? Your life is so shallow that you have to drag anything down that is so much bigger and better than you ever have been or ever will be. You probably feel so entitled in your pathetic life that the Huskers should win every down, every quarter, every half, every game, every Big 12 North title, every Big 12 Conference Title, every bowl game, and every National Championship - and if you don't get your way you will whine and pout until you get your way.

Your nap obviously did not last long enough. Will you please crawl back in your crib? I am sure you were drinking before the dribble started coming out of your mouth. Children should not drink and you should take note of that. Your brain cells are dwindling in numbers. Night, night Tinky Winky.

Sun Sep 20 2009 11:21
Yeah--that's me--aren't you the perceptive one!!!! However, I'm bright enough to vent on the source of the problem, and not shoot the messenger. Cut on me if you want, but you'd be better off directing your rage at that multi-million dollar enterprise that is NOT PRODUCING---watch out where that frustration goes, since wife beating is still illegal in most Nebraska counties.
Sun Sep 20 2009 09:11
Otis - after reading your post I picture you as one of the most selfish, "never accomplished anything on any type of sporting field", spoiled, winey, immature, self centered, brats ever having the fortune to attend a Husker game. I understand your frustration over the game, but my god man - take your diaper off and pull the pacifier out of your face. Be a man and show some grace. You are acting like a 3 yr old after being told that you have to ride in the car seat on your 600-mile journey to Lincoln. You are an embarrassment to any true fan of sport - especially one from such a first rate organization like the Nebraska Cornhuskers. What I suggest is you start staying home on football Saturdays, crawl in your crib with your blanket, stick the pacifier back in your pie hole, curl up next to your Tinky Winky Tella Tubby boyfriend, and take a long night-night nap. We would all be better served. Sleep tight baby.
MrE's Bro
Sun Sep 20 2009 06:06
All the negative comments make me sick.
This is going to be a very good team this year
Santa Clause is coming to town
Anderson's Rule
Robin's Eggs are Blue

Was Here

Sun Sep 20 2009 05:39
One heck of a game!
Helu looked like Johnny Rodgers at times.
Suh...simply an animal!..Henry answered each bell.
Huskers weren't supposed to win.
They are better now...than they were last year at the end of season.
They will win 10 games this year.
Love ya Huskers!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Sun Sep 20 2009 05:20
This game was lost because of ONE bad decision by the coaching staff. To NOT go on 4th and short lost that game, just as Tressel did for his Ohio State team last week against USC. Playing percentages when the offense is in control says "we aren't good enough--come on and beat us". LOUSY, lack-of-faith game calling lost this game, even if we did have bad execution throughout. As a 40-year fan that travels 600 miles for home games, I'm getting emotionally tired of losing games that are won. And NEVER having an upset win like Washington pulled off this week is making it harder to recharge the love. The national press is right--Nebraska IS second rate---why in the world would any great recruit want to spend his entire career being sad all the time. When we lose to missou, the sell out streak will end too. RIP!!!!
Sat Sep 19 2009 22:38
as defensive backs in that situation you CAN'T let anyone behiind you. MAKE the quarterback run, but he stays in front of you, not letting a receiver get behind you. THAT is enexcusable, like all the penalties after the Holt touchdown was disallowed!! just poor mental execution.

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