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Kentucky Defense Escapes Late Hokie Push, Win Orange Bowl, 24-21

Miami, FL–
The hopes of Virginia Tech taking home the Orange Bowl trophy and bringing joy at the end of a roller coaster season were stopped short as the Kansas Jayhawks came up with three interceptions and beat Virginia Tech 24-21 in the Orange Bowl to cap one of the finest seasons in school history.
Virginia Tech came into tonight hoping to use their strong defense to keep Kansas out of the end zone, some of what they did, but not enough. Kansas proved the could also give a little defense of their own.
“Everybody talks about Virginia Tech’s defense,” said safety Justin Thornton, who also had an interception. “We came out to show we can play defense at Kansas, too.”
The Jayhawks (11-1) had four sacks in the first quarter, throwing freshman Tyrod Taylor for losses of 11 and 8 yards on his first two plays as part of the Hokies quarterback rotation. On the Hokies’ next series, Talib anticipated a throw by Taylor and stepped in front of Harper for an easy return down the sideline.

Virginia Tech drove 78 yards to score with 3 minutes left on Sean Glennon’s 20-yard pass to Justin Harper. Then on the insuing drive, Jayhawks’ Raimond Pendleton fielded the ensuing onside kick, and they ran out the clock.

“I think we still accomplished something this season,” Tech tackle Duane Brown said. “We couldn’t finish off on a high note.”

Orange Bowl Notes:

Virginia Tech has played in five major bowls and two Atlantic Coast Conference championship games in the past 13 years, while the Jayhawks were making their first appearance in a major bowl in 39 years, since the 1969 Orange Bowl.

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