Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

College Sports

November 26, 2012

Hokies' Taylor embraces trophy — and leadership role

BLACKSBURG, Va. — There’s an old saying that goes, “What happens in Blacksburg stays in Blacksburg.”

OK, maybe it wasn’t Blacksburg. But the point is, after Virginia Tech’s last-second 17-14 win over Virginia on Saturday, the world may never find out if Tech linebacker Bruce Taylor really did shower with the Commonwealth Cup like he said he would.

Or sleep with it. Or even flatten anyone who tried to pry it loose from what he called his kung-fu grip.

Clinging to that trophy in the post-game media conference room was a reward for a win that meant much more to the fifth-year senior than securing a bowl bid for the Hokies.

“This is by far the best feeling I have had all year, this being my last game in Lane Stadium,” Taylor said. “I would have been heartbroken — the worst you have ever seen — if we had not gotten it done today.”

Taylor overcame a severe right-foot injury last season to become Tech’s third-leading tackler this year (65) behind Jack Tyler (112) and Kyshoen Jarrett (77).

“I’m very proud of and happy for this team,” he said. “Where we have come from, that month where we weren’t very good to knowing we could still make something out of this season. These past few weeks everybody has been taking charge and doing what they needed to do.”

What they needed to do was win their final two games to become bowl-eligible with six wins. It certainly wasn’t easy.

Win number five was an overtime road victory over always-tough Boston College and on Saturday Cody Journell’s 29-yard field goal as time expired propelled Virginia Tech to their ninth-straight win in the Virginia Tech-Virginia rivalry.

The field goal was set up by a pass-interception-and-return by Antone Exum to the Virginia 24-yard line.

Quarterback Logan Thomas was also instrumental in the victory with 89 yards rushing on 29 carries and one rushing touchdown. It was his ninth rushing touchdown of the season. He also passed for 129 yards, including a seven-yard scoring strike to tight end Randall Dunn.

Taylor believes that because he and Thomas are quarterbacks on their respective sides of the ball, they share a leadership responsibility that has made them close.

“I say more to motivate him when the offense has tough times and he did the same for me when the defense wasn’t doing so hot,” Taylor said. “That’s the sign of a great teammate: a guy that’s always on your side, has your back, never gets down on you and wants the best for you. That’s the kind of leadership Logan and I have.”

As a captain of the football team, the leadership role was not unexpected for Taylor, but the sheer weight of it was.

Taylor said, “The burden that was placed on me as captain was a little heavier than I expected. With the expectations of the defense coming into the season, I wasn’t anticipating me being the only guy to be the talker, to make sure guys are doing the right thing.”

“But I’m glad it happened. I feel like I have grown as a teammate and player by learning from the heartache.”

Taylor admitted that Saturday’s home win was an emotional experience because he would not play in Lane Stadium again “in front of our great fans.” Still, he has a “ton of memories” and a bowl game to look forward to.

“I don’t know what bowls we are eligible for, but I’d like to go somewhere warm and where there is a beach. Hawaii would be nice; Orlando would be nice,” he said.

“[Regardless], we have one more shot to win another game. That would be a happy ending to a very long season.”

Text Only
College Sports
Local Sports
Sports Videos
3 Questions with Gary Payton: Kevin Love, Andrew Wiggins and Derrick Rose Players Only: Marcus Mariota's Course Load at Oregon How We Almost Got Johnny Cowboy Donald Sterling Loses The Clippers For Good - @TheBuzzeronFox Franklin talks leaving Vandy Staten Island Man's Emotional Dunk Over NYPD Car - @TheBuzzeronFOX Michael Jordan OK With LeBron James Wearing No. 23? - @TheBuzzeronFox The Cornhuskers have gone...Loco? McNabb: Two games is not acceptable for me Ortiz, Price Feud Is Upsetting To Children - @TheBuzzeronFOX MLB Trade Deadline Talk: Price, Stanton, Kemp Tony Romo will be a full-go for camp Teammate's Advice For Johnny Manziel & Josh Gordon - @TheBuzzeronFox Helfrich praises Mariota's commitment to improve Hillary Clinton Blamed Bill's Affair With Monica Lewinsky On Abuse He Suffered As A Child Diamond Stone, Malik Newman, Josh Jackson and others showcase talent First impressions of Giants' new up-tempo offense Athletic Gaines: Where LeSean McCoy, Kenjon Barner, and more prepare for NFL season Jack White's Cub Face How Emmanuel Mudiay Ended Up in China
Pro Sports