Military Bowl: Virginia Tech 33, Cincinnati 17
J.C. Coleman ran for 157 yards and a touchdown, and Virginia Tech harassed and ultimately injured Cincinnati quarterback Gunner Kiel while rolling to a 33-17 victory Saturday in the Military Bowl.
The Hokies (7-6) knocked Kiel out of the game in the third quarter during a play that virtually assured the Hokies a 22nd consecutive winning season.
Deon Clarke sacked Kiel and forced a fumble at the Cincinnati 43. Nigel Williams picked up the ball and fumbled at the 12, where teammate Greg Stroman scooped it up and took it into the end zone for a 27-10 lead.
Kiel remained down for several minutes and was helped off the field before being taken to the locker room. The 6-foot-4 sophomore did not return, and without him Cincinnati (9-4) had little chance to mount a comeback.
Kiel finished 14 for 26 for 244 yards, but his three turnovers led to the end of Bearcats’ seven-game winning streak.
The Notre Dame transfer finished the season with 3,254 yards passing, the third-highest total in school history.
Michael Brewer went 14 for 24 for 94 yards and a touchdown to guide the Hokies to their highest point total since a 34-17 win at North Carolina on Oct. 4.
Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer worked in the upstairs coaching box to avoid the risk of infection during his recovery from throat surgery. The Hokies were making their 22nd consecutive bowl appearance under Beamer, whose last losing season at Tech was in 1992.
The Hokies opened the second half with a 75-yard drive for a touchdown and a 20-10 lead. Coleman opened the possession with four carries for 43 yards before Brewer tossed a TD pass to tight end Ryan Malleck on third-and-goal from the 1.
Minutes later, Kiel’s fumble enabled the many Virginia Tech fans among the crowd of 34,277 to breathe easier.
Freshman Joey Slye kicked four field goals for the Hokies, who finally got a noteworthy victory to add to their upset at Ohio State on Sept. 6.
Virginia Tech led 13-10 at halftime despite a 307-148 deficit in yardage.
The Hokies picked off two passes and Slye kicked field goals of 45 and 49 yards, the latter coming on the final play of the half.
Kiel threw for 179 yards in the first quarter, including a 40-yarder to Shaq Washington on the game’s first play. But the drive ended with a missed field goal.
Kiel threw for 84 yards in an 89-yard drive later in the quarter that ended with a 31-yard TD pass to Rod Moore.
Virginia Tech answered with a 1-yard touchdown run by Coleman. The Hokies successfully executed a trick play during the possession when Brewer caught a 30-yard pass from freshman wide receiver Isaiah Ford. Kiel’s second interception led to a Virginia Tech field goal. Late in the half, Kiel directed an 86-yard drive that produced a field goal for a temporary tie.