TAMPA — The first thing you should know about Virginia Tech quarterback Tyrod Taylor, the MVP of Saturday's ACC Championship Game, is this: He wasn't even supposed to play this season.
Not a down.
The week of the Hokies' season opener against East Carolina, longtime Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer surprised some when he announced that Taylor, who had seen significant action as a freshman the previous year, would be redshirted. Not because he was hurt, but basically to save him.
But after the person Beamer pegged to start, senior Sean Glennon, passed for 139 yards and two interceptions in a shocking 27-22 loss to the Pirates, Beamer quickly reversed course, pulling off the redshirt the following week.
Three months later, Taylor, who started his ninth game Saturday, helped send his team to the Orange Bowl. In the Hokies' 30-12 win over Boston College, he accounted for 114 yards (11-of-19 passing for 84 yards, 30 yards rushing on 11 carries) and two first-half touchdowns runs.
"Tyrod Taylor is a good football player," Boston College coach Jeff Jagodzinski said. "He is slippery. We had him in the backfield a couple of times and he got away."
Both of Taylor's touchdown runs, which covered 5 and 4 yards, were designed passes. But on each, the 6-foot-1, 206-pound Taylor improvised after things broke down.
On his first score, which came on Virginia Tech's second drive, Taylor easily made it into the end zone after he saw that both receivers on the play were covered.
On the second, early in the second quarter, he again scrambled, then dived at the last second to get in.
"I knew I either had to get rid of the ball or get upfield," Taylor said.
Taylor is 7-2 as the starter this season. His only losses were to Florida State, a game in which he sprained his left ankle on the first play from scrimmage and did not return, and the Hokies' first meeting with Boston College, a 28-23 Eagles win on Oct. 18. In the latter, Taylor rushed for 110 yards but was only 12 of 27 for 90 yards and one interception.
On Saturday, Taylor's statistics might not have been flashy, but a handful of his plays were. And he managed the game well.
"He's a good athlete and he made plays," Jagodzinski said.
With two more years remaining, Taylor might just be getting started.
"He just needs more experience," Beamer said. "I think he's going to be a good one before he leaves here."