The Sugar Bowl 2012 was clinched by the Michigan Wolverines late Tuesday night, as they narrowly beat the Virginia Tech Hokies 23-20. Michigan got their victory in overtime, after a game with plenty of twists and turns.
For almost the entire first half, the Hokies looked the stronger team, and they clung to a 6-0 lead until one minute before half-time. That was when Wolverines quarterback Denard Robinson launched a peach on a third-and-long play from the Virginia 45-yard line. It was received by Junior Hemingway, who waltzed to the end zone.
The second half started as poorly for Virginia as the first had ended. Tony Gregory received the kickoff, only to turn over possession on the same play, with the ball recovered at the Hokies 26-yard line. Just two minutes later, a Brendan Gibbons field goal gave Michigan a 10-6 lead. That was extended to 17-6 shortly after, when Robinson and Hemingway combined again after Frank Clark intercepted a Logan Thomas pass.
The Virginia Tech corpse suddenly twitched, however. A field goal cut the Michigan lead to 17-9, and early in the fourth quarter Logan Thomas dashed a one-yard touchdown run, and then completed a two-point conversion to tie things up at 17-17.
In a tense atmosphere, Michigan took a 20-17 lead with four minutes to go thanks to a 39-yard field goal from Brendan Gibbons, only to find themselves hauled back to 20-20 by Justin Myers’ game-tying 25-yard field goal. There was just seconds remaining when Myers’ kick sailed over.
In overtime, Michigan won the toss and elected to defend in the first overtime possession. After a failed drive by VA Tech, the Wolverines took control, with three runs taking them to the Hokies 20-yard line. The right boot of Gibbons did the rest, sealing a memorable 23-20 win.
Such a close margin of victory has only occurred once before in the Sugar Bowl since 1974 – that was in 2005, when Virginia Tech lost 16-3 to Auburn.