Virginia Tech kicker Chris Kinzer wanted a shot at being a hero Wednesday, and the sophomore never flinched when the time came.
"I love to be in this type situation," Kinzer said after he kicked a 40-yard field goal as time ran out to boost Virginia Tech to a 25-24 victory over No. 18 North Carolina State in the Peach Bowl, giving Hokie Coach Bill Dooley a victory in his final game at the school.
"I don't sit on the sidelines and hope the ballgame doesn't come down to me--I want it to," said Kinzer, who connected on 24 of 29 field goal tries this season. His kicking accounted for six victories and a tie.
"I never had any doubt that Chris Kinzer would be successful on the kick at the end," Dooley said. "He's got ice water in his veins and he's the best kicker in college football."
Quarterback Erik Chapman keyed the final winning drive when he led the Hokies 57 yards in 11 plays, connecting on 4 of 7 passes for 44 yards in the final 1:53. Virginia Tech (9-2-1) got a break in the drive when State was called for pass interference with four seconds left on an incomplete attempt from Chapman to David Everett. The 15-yard penalty put the ball on the 23-yard line, setting up Kinzer's game-winner.
"There are a lot of tears in our locker room," North Carolina State Coach Dick Sheridan said. "This team wanted to win this game very badly. You can look in their eyes and see the effort they put into this game."
The Wolfpack (8-3-1) took a 24-22 lead when Mike Cofer kicked a 33-yard field goal with 7:12 left.
Dooley is leaving Virginia Tech after the school's decision to remove him as athletic director. Dooley filed a $3.5-million lawsuit against the school, and the parties reached an out-of-court settlement.
Before Cofer's kick, the Hokies went ahead, 22-21, on a six-yard touchdown pass from Chapman to Steve Johnson.
Chapman led the Hokies' comeback after trailing, 21-10, at halftime. He connected on a 29-yard pass to Eddie Hunter to the 1-yard line after Eric Kramer's fumble. Maurice Williams, who had 129 yards in 16 attempts, went over on the next play, with 33 seconds left in the third period.
Chapman connected on the scoring strike to Johnson 5:24 into the final period after another Kramer fumble that was recovered at the Virginia Tech 41 by Victor Jones.
North Carolina State's 21-10 lead at intermission was keyed by Kramer, who connected on a pair of touchdown strikes fewer than five minutes apart in the second quarter.
Both Kramer's touchdown passes came after interceptions of Chapman. Derrick Taylor, who had one of those interceptions, also blocked a punt in the opening quarter that was recovered in the end zone by Brian Bulluck for North Carolina's first score.
Kramer, from Burroughs High in Burbank and Pierce College, hit Worthen on a 25-yard touchdown pass to give State the lead at 14-10. That score was set up when Michael Brooks intercepted a Chapman pass at midfield.
Only 4:24 later, after an interception by Taylor at the Tech 46, Kramer found Ralph Britt alone in the end zone on a five-yard touchdown pass.