Tulsa falls in Independence thriller

The 2015 Independence Bowl featured a crossroads of two programs: the first with a rookie head coach, in their first bowl game in three years after a dreadful previous two years, and the second with a legendary head coach making his final appearance on the sidelines. Head coach Frank Beamer took the victory in his final game as a head coach, leading his Virginia Tech Hokies to a 55–52 victory over the Tulsa Golden Hurricane.

The Hokies and Golden Hurricane combined for 107 total points, setting an Independence Bowl record. In fact, the over/under line of 61.5 was shattered in the first half, as both teams combined for 76 points. Both teams combined for 1,161 total yards, 718 of those yards through the air.

Tulsa got on the board first, as running back D’Angelo Brewer scored on a 48-yard touchdown run. Virginia Tech answered back in the very next drive, as running back Travon McMillian ran for 51 yards and a touchdown.

After Zack Langer ran for a touchdown, Tech scored on their first play from scrimmage, a screen pass from quarterback Michael Brewer that Isaiah Ford took for 75 yards to tie the game.

The Hokies began to pull away a bit, scoring on a Joey Slye field goal and a Sam Rogers touchdown reception, before Bishop Louie caught a touchdown to end a hectic first quarter. The Hokies took a 24–21 lead into the second.

Virginia Tech seemed to pull away in the second quarter, on two touchdown runs by Temuchin “Bucky” Hodges and Travon McMillian. A 67-yard punt return touchdown by Greg Stroman stretched the Hokie lead to 45–21.

Tulsa mounted a comeback before halftime, as a Redford Jones field goal was followed up by a 10-yard touchdown run by Brewer.

The second half began with a score by Virginia Tech as Trey Edmunds stretched the Hokie lead to three touchdowns. After the ensuing kickoff was nearly returned for a touchdown, Dane Evans ran for the final nine yards the very next play.

However, the lead remained at 15 after Redford Jones missed the extra point; a re-kick after Tulsa had two players wearing #8 on the field simultaneously.

Virginia Tech seemed to put the game away early in the fourth quarter, as a Joey Slye field goal made it a 55–37 Tech lead. Tulsa’s comeback attempt began with a fantastic Josh Atkinson 21-yard touchdown reception from Dane Evans, followed by a successful two-point conversion pass to Keyarris Garrett.

With just under four minutes left, Garrett took the lead to within three with a 36-yard touchdown reception. However, on the next drive, Tulsa’s luck ran out—Dane Evans was sacked on third and fourth down, to seal the victory for the Virginia Tech Hokies.

The victory was number 280 for Beamer, putting him at 15th on the list of the winningest head coaches in NCAA football, and sixth in Division I history. On the other side, Philip Montgomery finished with a 6–6 regular season record, and 6–7 overall.

Post Author: tucollegian

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