Hokies Dash UVa Bowl Hopes with 17-0 Win
By Matthew Spiers
November 25, 2006

Box Score Virginia Tech 17, Virginia 0
 
BLACKSBURG, Va. - The Virginia Tech Hokies wrapped up their sixth 10-win regular season, and ninth overall, and got the added benefit of ensuring their arch-rivals will remain at home this bowl season with a 17-0 win over the Virginia Cavaliers before 66,233 fans at Lane Stadium.

The win improves Tech's record to 10-2 on the season, 6-2 in the ACC, and leaves the Hokies awaiting word of their bowl destination. The Hokies also became just the third team to win 10 games in each of the past three seasons. The other two programs are Southern California and Texas. The Cavaliers end their season 5-7 and 4-4 in conference play.

Both teams were anemic in the first half, combining for 139 yards of offense. The teams mustered just one first down apiece in the first quarter and UVa was 0-for-7 on third-down conversion attempts.

The Hokies finally caught the break they were looking for late in the half with UVa facing a third-and-5 from its 14. Linebacker Xavier Adibi blitzed and came through unblocked to drill Cavalier quarterback Jameel Sewell. Sewell fumbled the football and Carlton Powell fell on the ball at the 12.

Following the turnover, tailback George Bell ran the ball four times, the last of which he extended over the goal line for a 1-yard touchdown. Brandon Pace added the extra point to make the score 7-0 with just 39 ticks left before intermission.

The Hokies received the ball to start the second half and embarked on the best drive of the day to that point, going 74 yards in 12 plays before settling for a 23-yard Pace field goal. The kick, Pace's 22nd consecutive field goal conversion, gave the Hokies a 10-0 advantage. Tech registered four first downs on the drive, which matched the number of first downs it achieved in the entire first half.

After the defense again halted UVa's progress and forced the punt, Tech took over at its 9-yard line. The Hokies converted three more third-downs, the last of which was a pass from Sean Glennon to Eddie Royal for a 49-yard score. Facing third-and-4, Glennon threw an out to Royal that was good enough for the first down. But Royal wasn't satisfied, breaking the tackle of Chris Cook, dodging another attempted takedown by Jamaal Jackson, and then following the block of Josh Hyman all the way to the end zone. The score and extra point put the Hokies ahead 17-0 with just 31 seconds remaining in the third quarter.

"I was just thinking about getting the first down," Royal said. "Then Sean threw it to me and the guy (Cook) tried to grab my legs and missed. Then I saw Josh Hyman out there blocking for me."

The fourth quarter largely mirrored the first in its general lack of action, except that Pace trotted out for a 47-yard field goal attempt, but missed wide right. The miss was his first of the season and ended his streak of made field goals at 22.

Tech's defense maintained the dominant form it had displayed in its previous five games. The Hokies held the Cavaliers to just 112 yards of total offense in recording the fourth shutout of the year. It was only the third time since 1940 that the Hokies have recorded four shutouts in a season, with the other two times coming in 1983 and 2001. It was the first time the Hokies shut out UVa since beating the Wahoos 48-0 in 1983. And it was also the first time since 1981 that the Cavs have been shut out twice in the same season, with the other time coming at Florida State, 33-0. UVa finished the game converting just 2-of-13 third-down attempts, and both conversions came with less than 12 minutes remaining in the game.

"I think today's game is kinda our whole season," Tech head coach Frank Beamer said. "We just hang in there and find a way to win, and there's something special about that - to stand over on the sidelines and watch guys battling out there."

The contest marked the final time that 18 seniors took to the field at Lane Stadium. Those seniors were honored with their families before the game.