First safety Eddie Whitley just missed a mid-air pass break-up, allowing Junior Hemingway to catch the heave and stroll 20 yards into the end zone with 49 seconds remaining in the first half.
Tony Gregory fumbled the subsequent kickoff, and the Wolverines recovered at the 26. With 19 seconds left, Michigan lined up for a 36-yard field goal, only to have holder Drew Dileo rise up and loft a pass (charitable description there).
Kyle Fuller and Alonzo Tweedy collided in their haste to intercept, and the subsequent deflection went to long snapper Jareth Glanda for a first down. Michigan managed only a field goal for a 10-6 intermission lead, but Tech had to be deflated.
Even more so when the Wolverines converted Frank Clark's interception into a touchdown and 17-6 lead.
But Myer's third field goal, the Hokies' first touchdown in six quarters and a two-point conversion knotted the score.
Tuesday marked Tech's eighth BCS-level bowl in the last 17 years. But this one was dramatically different.
The first seven were earned with conference championships, three in the Big East and four in the ACC. The eighth was an at-large invitation that came less than 24 hours after the Hokies lost the ACC title contest to Clemson by 28 points.
So instantly the stakes were clear. A program that was 1-4 in BCS games and a conference that was 2-11 needed to prove their chops.
In an essay for ESPN.com, Colin Carroll, the Hokies' fifth-year senior long snapper, said the program's reputation, as well as the ACC's, hinged on defeating Michigan.
"We need to represent the ACC," he wrote. "We need to justify the Sugar Bowl committee's decision to offer us a BCS at-large bid -- the first such invitation extended to an ACC school. We need to resurrect our program from the shellacking Clemson gave us in the ACC title game. We need to validate Virginia Tech as a national power."
The Hokies fell short of that lofty aim.
David Teel can be reached at 247-4636 or by e-mail at email@example.com. For more from Teel, read his blog at dailypress.com/sports/teeltime and follow him at twitter.com/DavidTeelatDP