By Mark Giannotto
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, September 7, 2010; 1:28 AM
During the build-up to Monday night's showdown between No. 3 Boise State and No. 10 Virginia Tech, Hokies Coach Frank Beamer was quick to point out that his team would be taking 22 players to FedEx Field who had never played in a college game.
And just like he feared, that youth came back to haunt Virginia Tech as it fell to Boise State, 33-30, in front of a sellout crowd of 86,587.
After Virginia Tech climbed out from a 17-0 first-quarter hole to take a late 30-26 lead, Boise State quarterback Kellen Moore connected with wide receiver Austin Pettis on a 13-yard touchdown reception as sophomore linebacker Jeron Gouveia-Winslow gave chase with 1 minute 9 seconds remaining for the game-winning score. It capped a 56-yard drive that took all of 38 seconds.
"We kind of get down and that changes the whole complexion," said Beamer, who has lost three straight season openers. "It was a lot of young guys making young guy mistakes."
To begin the first quarter, senior quarterback Tyrod Taylor fumbled the snap on the second play from scrimmage, and the ball was kicked by center Beau Warren, allowing the Broncos to recover on Virginia Tech's 31-yard-line.
The Hokies' defense, which featured seven new starters, held its ground and forced Boise State to settle for a 44-yard field goal from place kicker Kyle Brotzman.
After losing 11 yards on its next offensive possession, Virginia Tech suffered another miscue. This time the culprit was special teams, usually the Hokies' strong suit.
On the ensuing punt, Pettis came through unmarked around the edge to block senior Brian Saunders's kick, and the Broncos took over on Virginia Tech's 12-yard-line. Two plays later, Pettis gave Boise State a 10-0 lead with 9:48 remaining in the first quarter when he caught an eight-yard touchdown pass from Moore.
Boise State got more help from the Hokies' special teams before the first quarter was over. After Virginia Tech's Steven Friday sacked Moore for a nine-yard loss, forcing a Boise State punt from midfield, sophomore wide receiver D.J. Coles ran into Brotzman on the punt and then committed a personal foul on the return.
Boise State regained possession at Virginia Tech's 32-yard line, and promptly marched to the end zone, capping off the drive when tight end Tommy Gallarda made a spectacular one-handed touchdown catch to give the Broncos a 17-0 lead heading into the second quarter.
"They had everything going their way to start the game," said cornerback Rashad Carmichael. "We tried to stay calm . . . but they're a good team."
Less than four minutes into the second quarter, running back Ryan Williams cut the deficit to 17-7 when he rumbled into the end zone on a one-yard run that was set up by a 34-yard pass from Taylor to wide receiver Jarrett Boykin on the previous play.
Boise State responded when Brotzman hit a 47-yard field goal to make the score 20-7. After senior place kicker Chris Hazley missed wide right on a 34-yard attempt, Virginia Tech finally caught a break.
Safety Eddie Whitley, making his first career start, caused Boise State running back Doug Martin to fumble and the Hokies recovered on Boise State's 39-yard line. Taylor finished a five-play drive by faking a scramble and then hitting Williams on a 12-yard touchdown pass. The Hokies entered halftime trailing, 20-14.
Virginia Tech took its first lead of the game after recovering a Moore fumble when he made contact with his own lineman trying to throw a pass. Williams then finished a seven-play, 31-yard drive with a one-yard run, his 13th touchdown in the last four games.
But Boise State regained control less than a minute later when running back D.J. Harper broke free from two missed tackles for a 71-yard touchdown run. The Hokies blocked the ensuing extra point to keep the score at 26-21.
Taylor gave the Hokies their final lead of the game when he found wide receiver Jarrett Boykin for a 28-yard touchdown pass on fourth-and-five late in the third quarter. The play would not have happened if not for a Boise State roughing-the-kicker penalty when Hazley missed a 51-yard field goal on fourth-and-10.
After Hazley hit a 34-yard field goal midway through the fourth quarter, the defense stopped Boise State and gave the Hokies' offense the ball with a little more than five minutes remaining. Virginia Tech mustered one first down, but gave the Broncos the ball again with 1:47 left.
Moore then guided Boise State on its decisive drive, and the Hokies misfired on several long passes to end the contest.
Taylor finished with 186 yards passing and 93 yards rushing, while Boykin led the team with six catches for 102 yards.