SAN FRANCISCO (Ticker) -- Lee Suggs rushed for two touchdowns, including the go-ahead score with 33 seconds left in the third quarter, as 19th-ranked Virginia Tech held off Air Force, 20-13, to win the inaugural San Francisco Bowl.
In his final collegiate contest, Suggs extended his Division I-A mark for consecutive games with a touchdown to 27.
The senior tailback kept the streak alive with a 17-yard run with 2:36 left in the first quarter that pulled Virginia Tech (10-4) within 10-7. His one-yard plunge late in the third period snapped a 10-10 tie.
Suggs finished with 70 yards on 19 carries and Bryan Randall completed 18-of-23 passes for 177 yards.
"It is sad leaving here after playing for five years, but it is time to move on now. All things come to an end," said Suggs, who become the second-leading scorer in Big East Conference history with 336 points. "Even though I have held the rankings for a few games, I am very excited about achieving this goal and I want to really thank my linemen, they are tough up front."
The Hokies salvaged the finale of an up-and-down season. They won their first eight games and had hopes of playing for the national title before dropping three straight and four of five to fall into a lower-tier bowl.
Virginia Tech, which lost to Air Force in the only previous meeting in the 1984 Independence Bowl, improved to 5-5 in its last 10 postseason appearances. It is 7-0 against non-conference foes this year.
"We hung in there and battled," Hokies coach Frank Beamer said. "I would have liked to see us score a little more when we had good field position. Our kids played hard and we found a way to win."
Matt Ward scored on a 15-yard run and Anthony Butler rushed for 75 yards, but Air Force (8-5) could not give coach Fisher DeBerry his 150th career victory. The Falcons, who fell to 6-6 in bowl games, closed the season with five losses in seven games.
"We are very disappointed that this is the second game in a row that we have lost in the last play of the game," said DeBerry, whose team endured a 38-34 setback to San Diego State on November 23. "That is something that we certainly have to address."
After taking a 10-0 lead on Ward's TD and a 45-yard field goal by Josh Ashcroft in the first 7 1/2 minutes, Air Force was held to three points. Suggs' fumble early in Virginia Tech's first possession led to Ashcroft's kick, the longest of his career.
"I thought that I was down flat on the ground," Suggs said of the fumble. "I had been down and holding the ball out getting ready to drop it. The guy hit it and they picked it up."
Chance Harridge connected with J.P. Waller on a 4th-and-10 completion with 10 seconds left to get Air Force to the Virginia Tech 10. After two incompletions, Harridge tried to get to the end zone but was forced into a game-ending fumble by Ronyell Whitaker.
"It was a play that you read the corners and it is an option route between the tight end and the halfback," Harridge said. "My read guy kind of sat underneath and the linebacker dropped, so I didn't have a throwing lane. Once that lane collapses, it is either throw the ball away or just take off for the end zone. I think that I made the right decision to try to make a big play at the end. I just came up short."
Earlier in that drive, Whitaker tipped away a pass in the end zone from Harridge to Anthony Park.
"I guess that (Whitaker) was trailing on it and the quarterback hung it up a little too much and he made a great play on the ball," Hokies linebacker Vegas Robinson said.
"I don't think that we lost the football game," DeBerry said. "Time ran out on us. I thought that we had a tremendous effort."
After Suggs put Virginia Tech on the board, Carter Warley tied it with a 23-yard field goal with 33 seconds left in the second quarter.
Suggs' second TD put the Hokies ahead, and Ashcroft added a 21-yard field goal at 5:02 of the final period.
Harridge completed just one of his first 13 passes and finished 4-of-19 for 91 yards with two interceptions. He also rushed for 70 yards, becoming the 16th player in college football history to run and pass for 1,000 yards in the same season.
Harridge also helped Air Force lead the nation in rushing.
"It is a great tribute to our offensive team, along with our running backs," he said. "A group of guys that nobody really knew. It is great to be able to say that we led the nation in rushing offense."
Virginia Tech split end Ernest Wilford's 16-yard reception in the third quarter was his 46th of the season, breaking Mike Burnop's 1971 school record.