Josh Jackson outplays Will Grier to lead Virginia Tech past West Virginia

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Two former Big East Conference rivals meet up once again as Virginia Tech and West Virginia renew their border war at FedExField in Landover, Md. Grier also rushed for 43-yards. The other was caught by junior wideout Gary Jennings, who set career highs in both catches (13) and yards (189). Jackson then hooked up with Hokies top wide receiver, Cam Phillips, near the goal line on the very next play.

Virginia Tech will be led by redshirt freshman Josh Jackson, who is the first freshman Hokie signal caller to start the season in 10 years.

No. 21 Virginia Tech defeated No. 22 West Virginia 31-24 on Sunday night.

"That was a bad, bad call by me", West Virginia defensive coordinator Tony Gibson said.

WVU drove down to the Virginia Tech 15-yard line in the game's final seconds, but quarterback Will Grier's final pass sailed well over the outstretched hands of Colonial Forge graduate Gary Jennings in the back of the end zone. On the eve of Labor Day, however, West Virginia had a chance to take the trophy back to Morgantown. Through the first three, the Mountaineers managed only 19 yards, with only two of those coming on the ground. There, Grier would toss an interception to Trevon Hill killing the opportunity for points.

Virginia Tech's new quarterback also had a good day. The Mountaineers had the ball within scoring range during the final seconds of the game, but the "lunch pail defense" refused to let West Virginia score at the end of regulation. "There's a lot of kids who can make plays". The Mountaineers converted a fourth and two on that possession, while the offense settled in after a shaky start against the Hokies. Defensively, the Mountaineers return a few key players like senior linebacker Al-Rasheed Benton and senior safety Kyzir White. Before Jackson's scoring run late in the second quarter, Virginia Tech's only points came on a 25-yard field goal by Joey Slye in the first quarter. And the score would stick at 10-7 with Virginia Tech ahead at the halftime break. Tailback Justin Crawford ripped off a 42-yard run, getting the Mountaineers to the Tech 41-yard line. Ford pushed the lead to 24-3 lead with a 2-yard plunge at the 11:38 mark of the second quarter. Deshawn McClease would carry the ball in from 12-yards out to put the Hokies back in front on a drive that only took 1:23 seconds to put the ball in the end zone and put Virginia Tech back out front 17-10 with 9:51 left to play in the third quarter.

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Jackson quickly made a strong impression, using both his arm and legs to move the Hokies' offense up the field.

- More on Grier from receiver David Sills: "He's proven it in practice". The Mountaineers would convert one third down on the drive as Grier would connect on 4-5 passes for 69-yards.

His 46-yard scamper midway through the 4th quarter set up a Travon McMillian's 3-yard touchdown run to give the Hokies a 31-24 lead.

"Unfortunately we came up a little short", West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen said. The Hokies have scored in 284 consecutive games, the seventh-longest streak in Division I history and the fifth-longest active streak.

Jackson was a ideal 3-for-3 for 40 yards on the go-ahead possession. The drive eclipsed 82-yards in six plays.

Not progressing far down field gave the Hokies good field position, which they used early on to score. However, Jackson looked fantastic in his first career game, giving the Hokies enough upside on offense to compete for an ACC title. He finished off the drive with a 5-yard touchdown run with 27 seconds remaining in the second quarter.

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