November 28, 2009
Hokies control second half in pulling away from Virginia
By Jimmy Robertson
259-white (14) Virginia Tech (9-3) 7772142
Virginia (3-9) 1030013
  • Smith/Harrison/Scott - 58,555
  • Passing: Tyrod Taylor 185 yds
  • Rushing: Ryan Williams 183 yds
  • Receiving: Danny Coale 135 yds

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — Virginia Tech tailback Ryan Williams rushed for a career-high 183 yards and scored four touchdowns, and the Hokies scored 28 unanswered points in the second half to roll past the University of Virginia 42-13 in the ACC regular-season finale played in front of 58,555 fans at Scott Stadium.

The victory extended the Hokies’ recent dominance over the Cavaliers, marking Tech’s 10th in the past 11 meetings in the series. The win also was the Hokies’ fourth straight overall and moved them to 9-3 on the season, 6-2 in the ACC. UVa closed its season with a 3-9 record, 2-6 in the ACC.

“I’m proud of our guys,” Tech head coach Frank Beamer said. “They came in and played hard and played well. We were fortunate to get a break and get things going our way in the second half.”

Williams, a redshirt freshman from Manassas, Va., all but locked up the ACC’s rookie of the year honor and may be in the mix for the league’s offensive player of the year award. He tied a school record with his ninth 100-yard rushing performance of the season, and his four touchdowns give him 20 on the season, enabling him to break the ACC’s single-season record for touchdowns by a freshman.

“It feels good,” Williams said. “I think I’ve done the unexpected. I don’t really try to set any goals for the season. My main goal is just to do whatever it takes to help the team win and I think I’ve done that. That’s all I’ve really wanted.”

Tech got off to a bit of a slow start in this one, as the Cavaliers struck on the game’s first possession. They went 73 yards on 10 plays and scored on a 15-yard run by quarterback Jameel Sewell less than six minutes into the game for the 7-0 lead.

Williams, though, got the Hokies on the board on the ensuing possession. A seven-play, 84-yard march ended with his 5-yard touchdown run with 4:58 left in the first quarter and tied the game.

UVa retook the lead on its next possession, going 55 yards in 11 plays before settling for a 33-yard field goal by Robert Randolph with 15 seconds remaining in the first quarter. But Williams gave Tech the lead for good. His 20-yard touchdown run with less than 10 minutes to go gave the Hokies a 14-10 lead. The Cavaliers tacked on a field goal with 40 seconds remaining, and the Hokies went into the locker room with only a 14-13 lead at the break.

The second half was all Tech, as the Hokies scored 28 unanswered in the final 30 minutes. They also rushed for 220 of their 298 yards in the second half and finished with 483 yards of total offense.

The momentum totally went the Hokies’ way following a UVa turnover. Sewell tried to pitch the ball to tailback Mikell Simpson on the option, but the pitch hit Simpson in the facemask and fell to the ground at the UVa 25, where Tech safety Kam Chancellor picked it up and ran to the UVa 10.

“It turned out to be a big play,” Chancellor said. “We needed a game-changing play and the defense needed to do it. We got the fumble recovery and put us in scoring position.”

“You get in these rivalry games and one play can make a difference,” Beamer said. “I thought that play was big.”

Williams took care of the rest for the Hokies. His first carry gained six yards to the 4, and then on the next play, he went around the right side for a 4-yard touchdown run with 5:51 left in the third quarter. His score gave the Hokies a 21-13 lead.

“I told the offensive line ‘You know what time it is,’ ” Williams said when the Hokies started the drive. “By that I meant, it was time to get me in the end zone. They know what time it is when we get inside the 10-yard line. It’s smash-mouth time; time to get the ball in the end zone. I think they fed off my energy. I try to be vocal when I can and I think they fed off that. It was a good feeling.”

Williams’ fourth touchdown came on a 2-yard run early in the fourth quarter. That run capped a 62-yard drive in which he carried the ball on eight of the 11 plays and gave Tech a 28-13 lead.

The Hokies scored twice more in the game. One came when Jarrett Boykin recovered a Williams fumble in the end zone after a 50-yard run by Williams. The other came on David Wilson’s 10-yard run with 2:43 left.

After a shaky first half, Tech’s defense slammed the door on the Cavaliers in the second half, holding them to 95 total yards. Sewell was the lone bright spot for the Cavaliers’ offense, rushing for 104 yards on 17 carries and becoming the sixth player this season to rush for more than 100 yards against Tech’s defense. But he gained just five of those 104 in the second half.

“We blitzed from some different areas and changed up some coverage schemes,” Chancellor said. “We tried to keep pressure on Sewell and keep him in the pocket. They were running a lot of quarterback draws and we changed up some things to get an extra tackler in there.”

The Hokies now await their postseason destination. In all likelihood, they will end up in the Chick-fil-A Bowl in Atlanta on New Year’s Eve or in the Gator Bowl in Jacksonville on New Year’s Day.

For updates on Virginia Tech football, follow the Hokies on Twitter (@VT_Football).

For updates on the Hokies, follow Jimmy Robertson on Twitter (@jrobIHS).

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