BLACKSBURG, Va. (AP) -- Virginia Tech stepped up in competition
and stepped up its game, handing Georgia Tech a thorough beating in
a 51-7 rout Saturday.
The fourth-ranked Hokies, coming off a pair of 45-0 wins against
the likes of Duke and Ohio University, were at their all-around
best against the 15th-ranked Yellow Jackets: Marcus Vick threw for
a career-best 223 yards and a touchdown and an avalanche of special
teams and defense produced another 21 points.
"When everybody's clicking on all cylinders like that, there's
no better time," defensive end Chris Ellis said after returning a
third-quarter interception 29 yards for a TD as part of a 17-point
barrage in 44 seconds.
The Hokies (4-0, 3-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) also got a
blocked field goal that turned into a 78-yard scoring run by D.J.
Parker and an interception for a touchdown by Xavier Adibi.
Virginia Tech has outscored four foes 161-23.
"We're out to prove something," cornerback Jimmy Williams
said. "A lot of people don't feel we belong in the ACC. A lot of
people think we lucked out when we won the ACC last year. We're
just trying to repeat, to tell you the truth."
They looked more than capable against the Yellow Jackets (3-1,
1-1), who were trying to start a season with four consecutive
victories for the first time since they shared the national title
in 1990. Instead, they discovered Beamerball, starting with tight
end Jeff King's block of a field goal try with the score 7-0.
"I think that's what changed this game around," coach Frank
Beamer said. "Instead of them being 7-3, it's 14-0. It's momentum.
It's points. It's everything. There's just no bigger play in
football than when you block a kick, particularly a field goal."
Georgia Tech coach Chan Gailey was mighty impressed with the
"I think that they're the best football team I've seen since
I've been in the ACC," he said. "I said that earlier in the week.
I didn't change my mind tonight."
King also caught a 13-yard touchdown pass from Vick, who now has
thrown seven touchdown passes and just one interception. Mike Imoh
and Cedric Humes both ran for TDs and Brandon Pace kicked three
field goals in as many tries for the Hokies.
And even when the Yellow Jackets finally did something right,
after falling behind 31-0 early in the third quarter, the Hokies
response only seemed to make it worse.
It was the first touchdown the Hokies have allowed in 14
quarters since the opening drive of the season, and losing the
shutout seemed to fire up the Hokies defenders.
After Virginia Tech drove for a field goal, Adibi stepped in
front of Ball's pass toward Johnson and went 25 yards for the
touchdown. On the Yellow Jackets next series, Ellis did the same
thing, taking it 29 yards to finish the 17-point outburst.
Ball, who sat out last weekend's victory against Connecticut
while being treated for viral meningitis and had had limited
practice time this week, was not sharp. He finished 11-of-27 for
143 yards before being mercifully lifted in the late going.
"It was like playing catch-up from the get-go," Ball, who was
pressured all game, said. "They just dominated all phases of the
game. ... They played great."
The Yellow Jackets finished with 217 yards.
"It was an old-fashioned beat-down," tailback P.J. Daniels
The Hokies travel to West Virginia (4-0) next week.
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