And it was a run from Jackson that was the game's key play.
West Virginia (0-1), which averaged 31.2 points per game last season, finally showed some of the Big 12-style offense for which it's known. A transfer from Florida, Grier finished the night 31-for-53, throwing for 371 yards, three touchdowns and one interception while also rushing for 52 yards on 11 carries.
The game was in doubt up until the very end.
As West Virginia quarterback Will Grier's passing yards piled up and the contest turned into a shootout, you could excuse Virginia Tech fans for having a familiar feeling in the pits of their stomachs, so conditioned to things going wrong at FedEx Field over the years that another bitter ending wouldn't have been anything unusual. The 11-yard strike put WVU ahead 7-3 with 5:37 left to play before halftime.
A 43-yard pass from Grier to Gary Jennings Jr. started West Virginia's ensuing drive off right, but the Mountaineers self-combusted after getting to the Tech 23.
Mark Thurston of the West Virginia Mountaineers at Mountaineer Field in Morgantown, West Virginia.
Senior running back Justin Crawford led the Mountaineers with 106 yards on the ground, while West Virginia rushed for 227 yards as a team.
A tiresome first half that finished with the Hokies holding a 10-7 lead on a Jackson touchdown run in the final minutes ramped up quickly in the second half. Should Grier and company wrangle the Oklahoma Sooners and the Oklahoma State Cowboys, it could be the Mountaineers playing in their first Big 12 Conference Championship Game.
Virginia Tech drove down to the WVU 1-yard line on its most productive possession of the quarter, but the Mountaineer defense stood strong, forcing the Hokies to settle for a 25-yard Joey Slye field goal. Nobody should compare Jackson to Michael Vick just yet, but his numbers so far are better than those Vick put up in his debut - for those interested in a point of reference.
The Air Raid offense has been customary in Morgantown since head coach Dana Holgorsen's arrival on campus. As for West Virginia, it is pretty clear that with Grier leading the way, the Mountaineers are going to be involved in many more games like this one.
The defense would then respond with a three and out to give the Mountaineers the football back at their own 26-yard line with 11:10 remaining in the game. Cam Phillips had seven catches for 138 yards and a touchdown, and Tech ran for 234 yards as a team.