BLACKSBURG, Virginia — Michael Brewer made big throw after big throw, and then, he made some confounding ones.
The Virginia Tech quarterback finished 28 for 39 for 297 yards on Saturday in the Hokies' 27-24 loss to Georgia Tech, but it was his three interceptions that led to 17 points — and the winning field goal.
The loss gave Virginia Tech home losses in consecutive weeks for the first time since the 1995 season, and left coach Frank Beamer unwilling to say he has a controversy brewing at quarterback, but pledging to look at the way the Hokies are doing everything and get it fixed.
"I think, as a football team, we look at several things," Beamer said. "To me, you learn from your mistakes. I think we're plenty capable. I think our side of the division is very wide open. I think it's going to be a lot of this team beat that team, that team beat the other team. Right now we've got to get back to playing the way we should, Virginia Tech-wise. And then I think everything's going to be OK."
For much of the day, Brewer looked like the answer.
He completed five passes to convert on third-down plays, including a third-and-15, a third-and-11 and a third-and-12, and tucked the ball and took off on a third-and-9 play, finally lowering his shoulder as three defenders converged to get the first down.
And while his mistakes are the most glaring because of his position, not all the blame rested with him. The Hokies (2-2, 0-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) were whistled for 12 penalties for 79 yards, and four of them were for making illegal substitutions, a fundamental error that just can't happen.
Beamer said they were one play away from winning a few times, but just came up short.
"The way that game went, you could point fingers all day long," he said. "And none of us did it perfect here today. So what we gotta do is learn from where we were and OK, we make a play and this thing's over. Be better with it next time. That's the only way I know how to go."
The loss was secured when Harrison Butker kicked a 24-yard field goal with no time remaining.
The Yellow Jackets (4-0, 1-0) trailed 16-10 at halftime and 24-17 entering the fourth quarter, but returned one of Brewer's three interceptions for a touchdown to take their first lead and turned his last one into the drive to Butker's decisive second field goal of the game.
They also got a huge day from their own quarterback, Justin Thomas. He ran 22 times for 165 yards and a TD and completed just 7 of 18 passes, but for 125 yards and the tying touchdown with 2:03 left.
Brewer, a transfer from Texas Tech, has now thrown seven interceptions in his last three games. His first set up the Yellow Jackets' first touchdown before halftime, and his second, into traffic, was returned 41 yards for a score by Paul Davis. Brewer briefly became the hero again when he scooped up teammate Marshawn Williams' fumble at the Yellow Jackets' 21 and ran it in to put the Hokies ahead 24-17.
After an exchange of punts, however, Georgia Tech drove for the tying score, and Brewer's final interception on the next play set them up at the Hokies' 41, and they drove for the winning kick.
Follow Hank on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/hankkurzjr
All content copyright ©2014 Daily Journal, a division of Home News Enterprises unless otherwise noted.