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Wolverines eke past Hokies

By Brett Martel

Associated Press

Published: Tuesday, Jan. 3 2012 11:28 p.m. MST

Michigan's Denard Robinson, left, runs the ball against the defense of Luther Maddy of the Virginia Tech Hokies.

Matthew Stockman, Getty Images

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NEW ORLEANS — Brendan Gibbons drilled a 37-yard field goal down the middle in overtime to lift No. 13 Michigan to a 23-20 victory over 17th-ranked Virginia Tech in the Sugar Bowl on Tuesday night.

The victory capped an impressive debut season for head coach Brady Hoke, who has led the Wolverines (11-2) back to prominence with a BCS bowl victory. Denard Robinson highlighted an otherwise unspectacular night with touchdown passes of 45 and 18 yards to Junior Hemingway.

Virginia Tech (11-3) had more than double Michigan's total yards, 377-184, and had 22 first downs to Michigan's 12 but settled for four field goals in regulation by third-string kicker Justin Myer.

However, Myer was unable to connect on his fifth try from 37 yards away in the opening possession of overtime.

Robinson finished 9 for 21 for 117 yards passing and threw an interception. He rushed 13 times for a season-low 13 yards.

Virginia Tech first-year start Logan Thomas was 19 of 28 of 214 yards with one interception.

Thomas scored Tech's only touchdown on a 1-yard keeper that tied the game at 17 — after a 2-point conversion — early in the fourth quarter.

Virginia Tech senior receiver Danny Coale, who ranks second all-time for the Hokies in catches and yards receiving, had eight catches for 117 yards, and nearly made a spectacular diving catch for a touchdown in overtime. Coale held on to the ball for what was initially ruled a score, but the play was overturned on video review, which showed the receiver narrowly landed on the sideline.

The result of that third-down play forced Tech to try for Myer's failed field goal.

Michigan then ran three conservative runs to set up Gibbons in the middle of the field.

As his kick sailed through, Gibbons sprinted toward the Michigan sidelined and was mobbed by teammates while the Michigan band belted out the school's famous fight song, "The Victors," while Michigan fans, in rhythm, thrust a sea of maize pom-poms in the air.

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