BLACKSBURG, Virginia (Ticker) -- Bryan Randall would like to take back his final play.
West Virginia cornerback Brian King intercepted Randall in the end zone with 12 seconds remaining as West Virginia handed 12th-ranked Virginia Tech its third straight loss, 21-18.
With just under four minutes remaining and Virginia Tech trailing, 21-16, Hokies star running back Lee Suggs was stopped in the backfield by linebacker Grant Riley on 4th-and-goal from the 1. It was the third straight play Virginia Tech was stopped from three feet away.
"Give them credit, they played great goal-line defense," Hokies coach Frank Beamer said. "We'd probably change our third call if we had that to do again, but you like your chances of being able to get the ball in there."
On the ensuing possession, the Mountaineers went three-and-out and opted for punter Mark Fazzolari to take an intentional safety rather than risk of having a second punt blocked. That sliced West Virginia's lead to 21-18 with 2 1/2 minutes to play.
"It was a question of field position," Mountaineers coach Rich Rodriguez said. "We knew to give them two would take them within a field goal. We thought that if we punted it, they would be so close, field position-wise, we didn't want to give up a touchdown.
"If it was a field goal, we'd take our chances. Their kicker has missed a few, maybe he was still thinking about that and we've been pretty good at blocking field goals. So we thought if it comes down to that, we'll take a chance at blocking a field goal to win."
Todd James sent the ensuing free kick out of bounds, putting the Hokies at midfield. Randall drove the team well into field goal range, but on 2nd-and-10 from the 11 - a play on which he had outstanding protection - he forced a pass into the end zone and was picked off by King.
"I thought about going for the field goal before the last play," Beamer admitted. "We were going to throw it into the end zone, just not take a sack, and if we didn't get that one, we were going to go for a field goal on the next play. Bryan scrambled around here, he had a guy in the back of the end zone, but he just couldn't get enough on it."
"Our kids never quit," Rodriguez said. "I think you can see our team has matured throughout the year because when they got a little momentum, our kids kept battling and kept battling. I think that was evident by the two goal-line stands at the end."
The Hokies (8-3, 3-3 Big East) had not lost three in a row since the final two games of the regular season and a bowl setback in 1997. They had not dropped three consecutive regular-season contests since a five-game slide in 1992 - the last time the Mountaineers (8-3, 5-1) won in Blacksburg.
Quincy Wilson rushed for 125 yards and a touchdown and Avon Cobourne added 80 yards and a score as the Mountaineers - the nation's second-best rushing team - gained 263 yards on the ground.
"(Wilson has) really come on this year," Rodriguez said. "I know that they have a pretty good 1-2 punch in (Kevin) Jones and Suggs, but I'm pretty biased about our two. I think we have as good a pair of backs as anybody - in this part of the country, anyway."
Randall passed for 168 yards and rushed for 125. Suggs ran for 71 yards and set an NCAA record by rushing for a touchdown in his 24th consecutive game, breaking the mark established by Arkansas' Bill Burnett from 1968-70.
Jones, a star sophomore who injured a hamstring in a defeat to Pittsburgh two weeks ago and sat out a triple-overtime loss at Syracuse, rushed for 36 yards on nine carries.
Trailing 14-10 early in the second half, Hokies linebacker Blake Warren intercepted a tipped pass in the end zone and Virginia Tech quickly marched down the field. But an apparent 27-yard TD run by Suggs was nullified by a holding penalty and another penalty and sack knocked the team out of field goal range.
On West Virgina's next possession, Wilson ran 42 yards untouched into the end zone to give the Mountaineers a 21-10 cushion with 4:09 to go in the third quarter.
But Randall countered quickly, capping a seven-play, 68-yard drive with a six-yard touchdown pass to tight end Keith Willis just 2:40 later. Randall's two-point conversion pass to Willis was intercepted by Wiley, keeping the margin at five points.
Randall completed 18-of-30 passes with a touchdown and an interception, while Rasheed Marshall was 13-for-20 for 124 yards and an interception.
Suggs' record-setting touchdown, a 28-yard option pitch down the left sideline, opened the scoring with 4:57 to play in the first quarter. Cobourne tied it just over two minutes later with a nine-yard ru.
West Virginia took the lead for good, 14-7, on a seven-yard run by Marshall 39 seconds into the second quarter.
Six minutes later, Hokies receiver Ernest Wilford blocked a punt deep in Mountaineers territory, setting up Carter Warley's 34-yard field goal. It was the Hokies' nation-leading 64th blocked punt since 1990.
"I told our football team that sometimes you try as hard as you can and things just don't quite work out," Beamer said. "Our football team has give great effort, it just seems like things are just not quite going our way. But you have to make your breaks, too."
"People may start to notice us," Rodriguez said. "We can't go out and trumpet our own horn. We just have to play well when we have the opportunity, and playing well on TV helps. This ought to help us get some national exposure."