November 26, 2011
Hokies advance to ACC title game after shutout of Cavaliers
By Jimmy Robertson
(6) Virginia Tech (11-1) 7771738
(24) Virginia (8-4) 00000
  • Smith/Harrison/Scott - 61,124
  • Passing: Logan Thomas 187 yds
  • Rushing: David Wilson 153 yds
  • Receiving: Marcus Davis 119 yds

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – David Wilson rushed for 153 yards and two touchdowns, and Virginia Tech’s defense played outstanding from the start, as the Hokies clinched the Coastal Division championship with 38-0 victory over Virginia in the two team’s ACC regular-season finale at Scott Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

With the win, Tech moved to 11-1 overall, 7-1 in the ACC and advanced to play in next Saturday’s ACC Championship Game against Clemson. The championship game appearance will mark the Hokies’ fifth since joining the ACC.

“That’s a fantastic thing for us,” Tech head coach Frank Beamer said of the Hokies’ appearance in the ACC title game. “The way this team has hung in there throughout the year … we got the loss early [Clemson], but we hung in there, hung together, had some injuries, hung together and played hard. It wasn’t always pretty, but we played hard.

“This is kind of special. What happened here tonight and getting back to that championship game is really kind of special from my way of thinking.”

The Hokies also beat the Cavaliers for the eighth straight time and for the 12th time in the past 13 meetings between the two schools. UVa, which saw its four-game winning streak snapped, finished the regular season with an 8-4 record, 5-3 in the ACC.

Tech led 14-0 at halftime, and then Wilson scored two second-half touchdowns to break the game open. His first came on Tech’s first drive of the second half in which the Hokies went 79 yards in eight plays. Wilson finished the drive with a 27-yard scoring run that enabled the Hokies to take a 21-0 lead with 10:45 left in the third.

Wilson’s second score came early in the fourth quarter. His 38-yard touchdown run with 13:54 remaining gave the Hokies a 28-0 lead and put the game out of reach. A Logan Thomas touchdown pass to Marcus Davis and a Cody Journell field goal accounted for the final margin.

Wilson rushed for 121 yards in the second half. His performance marked his 10th 100-yard rushing game of the season, tying the Tech and ACC record held by former Hokie running back Ryan Williams.

“That’s the thing with David, he’s so fast and powerful, and he’s usually just a step away,” Beamer said. “You’re glad he’s on your side. He’s dangerous, he’s tough and he’s rugged. He likes the game. He has fun playing, and I think that showed up tonight.”

On the other side of the ball, Tech’s defense was superb. Virginia drove into Tech territory on six occasions and failed to score. That included three trips into the red zone.

The Hokies held UVa to just 241 total yards, and the Cavaliers got nothing going on the ground, rushing for just 30 yards. They also sacked UVa quarterback Michael Rocco four times on the day, an impressive total considering UVa had given up just 11 sacks the entire season.

“Not taking anything away from their offensive line, they’re good,” said Tech defensive end James Gayle, who recorded two sacks. “They have some big guys over there. But today, we were the better line. That’s how it is sometimes.”

“We were a little concerned about their big guys up front,” Beamer said. “But I thought our guys hung in there. I give our defense a lot of credit. They hung in there. They’ve been doing that a lot this year.”

Thomas continued his stellar play down the stretch, completing 13 of 21 for 187 yards and two touchdowns. He also rushed for a touchdown, his 10th rushing touchdown of the season. Davis was the recipient of most of Thomas’ passes, catching five passes for 119 yards and a touchdown.

Thomas’ 14-yard touchdown in the first quarter gave the Hokies the early lead. His 16-yard touchdown pass to Jarrett Boykin with 11:36 left in the first half gave Tech a 14-0 lead, which it took into the locker room at halftime.

“I’m extremely excited,” Thomas said. “But I don’t want to win just a Coastal Division championship. I want to win an ACC championship. We’ll get a shot against a team we lost to earlier this year, and I’m looking forward to it.”

The ACC title game will be next Saturday night at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte. Kickoff is slated for 8 p.m.

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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