LANDOVER, Md.—Virginia Tech's inability to run contributed immeasurably to the Hokies' 33-30 defeat.
Quarterback Tyrod Taylor riffed his way to 73 yards rushing, but tailbacks Ryan Williams, Darren Evans and David Wilson combined for 58 on 25 carries.
Meanwhile, Boise's Doug Martin gained 83 yards on 12 attempts, D.J. Harper 80 on four, 71 coming on a third-quarter touchdown.
Overall, the Broncos outrushed the Hokies 168-128. Most important, Boise averaged 7 yards per carry, Tech 2.9.
That is absolutely unacceptable for the Hokies, even against the nation's third-ranked team, even on a night when starting left tackle Nick Becton could not play because of turf toe.
"We were one first down from winning," Tech coach Frank Beamer said.
Indeed, with the clock inside 2:30, the Hokies led 30-26 and had a first down at their own 31. One more conversion, and national credibility is theirs.
But after a 4-yard Williams run, Boise stuffed Taylor for minus-2, and on third-and-8, Taylor threw incomplete to Jarrett Boykin.
Mitch Burroughs' 25-yard punt return -- at least the Hokies' fifth special-teams breakdown -- gave Boise possession at its own 44, and despite being out of timeouts, Kellen Moore guided the Broncos to the winning touchdown.
Moore completed 4-of-5 passes for 43 yards on the drive, the other 13 coming on a half-the-distance, late-hit penalty against Tech linebacker Bruce Taylor.
Debate the close call all you'd like Tech fans. Even without the flag, do you really believe the Hokies were going to stop the Broncos?
After Moore's 13-yard scoring strike to Austin Pettis, Tech took over at its own 35 with 1:02 remaining. Plenty of time.
Three incompletions and a sack later, the Hokies were done.
"We'll learn plenty," Beamer said, citing Tech's recent history of late-season success.
But at what price?
And what say you, Hokies faithful?
Beamer says, "I firmly believe we are going to be a great football team."
Do you believe him?