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Back came the Hokies. Virginia Tech’s Chris Hazley was wide right on a 51-yard field goal try, but Boise State was flagged for running into the kicker. Now with a fourth-and-4 from the 28, Tech went for it. Taylor zipped an out to Boykin, who slipped a weak arm tackle attempt by Brandyn Thompson and eased into the end zone to put the Hokies up 27-26. They went for two and missed.

Boise State couldn’t answer that score. Kyle Brotzman missed wide left from 30 yards and Hazley hit with a 34-yarder for Virginia Tech to make it 30-26 with 7:38 to go.

Virginia Tech got the ball again after a punt with 5:14 left and had a chance to run out the clock, but couldn’t do it. The Hokies kept snapping the ball with too much time on the play clock. Williams went out of bounds on a running play. Taylor threw an incomplete pass on third down. It all added up to precious seconds that Boise State would use to win.

“We just made too many critical mistakes to beat a top-five football team,” Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer said.

And now it’s getting harder to harder to argue that this top-five team doesn’t deserve its current place on the national stage. After years of proving people wrong, the Broncos entered the game wanting to prove people right.

“We’re certainly proving people right, right now,” Moore said.