Shayne Graham kept Virginia Tech in the national championship picture.
Graham's 44-yard field goal as time expired lifted the third-ranked Hokies (8-0, 4-0 Big East) to a 22-20 victory over West Virginia on Saturday.
"I was on the sidelines saying, `Give me a chance, give me a chance," Graham said. "I had an opportunity like that last year against Miami and I didn't convert. I had the confidence in myself this time that I would."
Coupled with Minnesota's 24-23 upset of No. 2 Penn State, Virginia Tech's lackluster victory could throw the Bowl Championship Series standings into a free-for-all. The standings determine which teams will meet for the national championship in the Sugar Bowl on Jan. 4.
"We weren't worried about that too much," Virginia Tech quarterback Michael Vick said. "That didn't change anything."
The loss eliminated West Virginia (3-6, 2-3) from bowl consideration for the first time since 1995.
"Most other classes have left a legacy," West Virginia defensive tackle Ryan Brady said. "Some have had the No. 1 defense. Some set some individual records. Our class hasn't had any. This could have been it, and we blew it."
The Hokies struggled against a 19-point underdog yet appeared to have the game in hand after Shyrone Stith scored from 6 yards with five minutes left for a 19-7 lead.
Backup Brad Lewis, who took over after Marc Bulger hurt his thumb and sat out the second half, threw two touchdown passes in the final three minutes to put the Mountaineers ahead.
After Stith's touchdown, West Virginia's Richard Bryant fumbled the ensuing kickoff at his 14. Teammate Boo Sensabaugh scooped up the ball and returned down the right sideline to the Virginia Tech 39. A late-hit penalty on the play moved the ball to the 24.
Seven plays later, Lews hit Jerry Porter from four yards to cut the deficit to 19-14 with 3:15 left.
On Tech's next possession, Stith fumbled and Sensabaugh recovered at the Tech 32 with 1:46 left. On third-and-13 at the 18, Lewis hit Khori Ivy in the end zone for a 20-19 lead.
"Sometimes you're not sure it's going to work out, and this time I wasn't sure," Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer said.
The Hokies got the ball back at their 16 and Vick marched his team 58 yards in seven plays. On one play, Vick appeared to be going out of bounds for a short gain but turned upfield for a 26-yard gain to the West Virginia 36.
"The defense thought I was going out of bounds," Vick said. "That's a move I work on all the time. The defender turned his head too fast. He made a mistake and I made him pay."
The play put Tech in field goal range.
"I felt like if we got the ball at the 40, we had the win and Shane could knock it in," Beamer said.
The game produced several firsts for Tech.
It marked the first time this season that Virginia Tech, the nation's third-best scoring offense, was held under 30 points.
Virginia Tech was held scoreless in the first quarter for the first time this season.
West Virginia redshirt freshman Avon Cobourne rushed for 133 yards, the most allowed by the nation's top rushing defense this season.
In the first half, Virginia Tech was limited to six first downs and Vick was 2-of-11 passing while the Mountaineers held a 188-179 advantage in offense. Vick finished 14-of-30 for 255 yards. Lewis went 9-of-16 for 98 yards.
Stith, the Big East's top rusher, was held to 84 yards, 28 below his average.
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