Hokies Earn Championship Berth After Surviving Cavaliers, 17-14
Nov. 29, 2008
BLACKSBURG, Va. (AP) -Dustin Keys kicked a 28-yard field goal with 6:37 to play and offense-challenged Virginia Tech earned the opportunity to defend its Atlantic Coast Conference championship next weekend with a 17-14 victory against Virginia on Saturday.
The Hokies (8-4, 5-3 Atlantic Coast Conference) sealed the victory when Dorian Porch intercepted Marc Verica in the end zone with 2:15 to play. Virginia forced a punt with 1:51 to play, but it was downed at the 13 with 1:38 left and the Cavaliers lost yards thereafter.
Virginia (5-7, 3-5), which needed to win to qualify for a bowl game, lost in spite of the sometimes dazzling debut of Vic Hall at quarterback. The 5-foot-9 Hall, one of the nation's most productive high school quarterbacks before being switched to cornerback at Virginia, ran for 109 yards and two long touchdowns as a surprise starter, but Virginia did little else.
Hall seemingly set them up for at least a tying field goal when he ran 39 yards to the Hokies 24, but after two plays lost a yard, Verica came on facing a third-and-11 and threw toward the end zone, when Porch easily stepped in front of the ball and ended the drive.
The victory, Virginia Tech's fifth in a row and ninth in 10 games against the Cavaliers, means they will play either Boston College or Florida State next weekend in Tampa, Fla., hoping to repeat last year's feat of avenging a regular-season loss in the title game.
Saturday's win also came in a game when Hokies quarterback Tyrod Taylor ran for 137 yards and threw for a touchdown, and 280-pound tight end Greg Boone ran for another out of Tech's Wild Turkey formation, but the Hokies also had drives of 14, 14 and 13 plays that yielded nothing.
The winning drive was a 10-play, 40-yarder and it never included a third-down play until the end, and when Taylor was stopped for no gain on a third-and-7 draw from Virginia's 11.
Keys, who earlier missed from 22 yards, made it pay off with the go-ahead kick.
The Hokies tied it at 14 on their first possession after halftime.
Taylor had a 73-yard run down the left side to the Virginia 9, and after Darren Evans ran for 5 yards, Boone took a direct snap and powered up the middle into the end zone.
Just 5 feet 9 and viewed by some as too small to play quarterback in major college football, Hall still owns Virginia state high school records for career total offense with 13,770 yards, and he quickly had people wondering why he hadn't been given an opportunity on offense sooner.
On the Cavaliers' opening drive, he had runs of 14 and 1 yards before Verica came on to complete a 4-yard pass to Kevin Ogletree on third-and-4 from the Hokies 44. On the next play, Hall took the snap, ran off right tackle and into the clear, going 40 yards for the TD.
Virginia Tech answered with a 65-yard, 13-play drive to Taylor's 3-yard scoring pass to Jarrett Boykin, and the Hokies put the clamps on Hall's running for the next two series.
But after Cedric Peerman's 16-yard run got the Cavaliers to the Hokies 31 late in the second quarter, Hall threw his first pass, a deep ball to Maurice Covington that drew a 15-yard pass interference penalty on Kam Chancellor, and ran 16 yards for a TD on the next play.