Evans powers Virginia Tech past No. 23 Maryland

BLACKSBURG, Va. -- Darren Evans and Virginia Tech spent 12 days hearing about an offense that fans blamed for the team's struggles in a wide-open ACC.

They spent Thursday night suggesting the problems are solved and much brighter days are ahead.

Evans ran for a school-record 253 yards and a touchdown and the Hokies played stout defense to continue their Thursday night mastery with a 23-13 victory over No. 23 Maryland.

"We're tired of hearing about our offense not being good," Evans said after his 32-carry, breakout performance. "We just had to show up tonight and that's what we did."

And no one showed up more than Evans, a redshirt freshman who had shown flashes of his potential over the first eight games, but nothing to suggest what he did against the Terps.

"I've never seen him run like that. He was running like a man possessed," said Sean Glennon, who started at quarterback in place of Tyrod Taylor, who has a left ankle sprain. "He was running over people, he was breaking tackles. I think he grew up tonight. He went from being a rookie to a veteran and made my job easy."

And he did it on a stage the Hokies have come to own.

Virginia Tech (6-3, 3-2) improved to 15-3 on Thursday night and ended a two-game losing streak while remaining one of five teams in the ACC's Coastal Division with two conference losses. The Hokies, Virginia and Miami are a half-game behind Georgia Tech (4-2).

Evans credited his much maligned offensive line with making his job easy by opening holes that he said were "the biggest they've been all year." His runs included bursts of 50 and 45 yards, and several others into the secondary.

After beginning to doubt whether he had a future with the Hokies, "This game has really put my head above the water," he said. "It really showed me that I belong out here."

Evans broke the record of 243 yards set by Mike Imoh in 2004.

He had no bigger fan Thursday than coach Frank Beamer.

"He kind of got in there and got hot and when he got hot, we just kept giving it to him," Beamer said. "There were some holes there and when he got in there, he ran strong."

Maryland (6-3, 3-2) came into the game as the only ACC team with one league loss, but dropped into a tie for the Atlantic Division lead with Florida State and Wake Forest.

The Terrapins arrived averaging 167 rushing yards, but finished with minus 12.

"They just loaded up the box for the most part," said quarterback Chris Turner, who was 19-of-31 for 240 yards. He hit Darrius Heyward-Bey with a short pass that he turned into a 63-yard touchdown, but also was sacked three times, once fumbling the ball away.

The fumble, forced by Orion Martin and recovered by Cordarrow Thompson, led to the second of three field goals by Dustin Keys and gave the Hokies a 20-3 third-quarter lead.

"It was exactly what we didn't need," Turner said. "It was pretty deflating."

Keys' third field goal, from 27 yards with 7:30 left, made it a two-score game.

Until then, the Terrapins were rallying, relying on a defense that had allowed just 17 second-half points in four ACC games to give them time to erase a 17-point deficit.

Heyward-Bey, Maryland's big-play receiver, made it interesting at 20-10 when he took a short slant pass on third-and-5 and went 63 yards for a score midway through the third.

The Hokies forced Maryland to punt from its 44 on the next series, but Travis Baltz's kick bounced off Virginia Tech's Kam Chancellor and the Terps recovered at the Hokies 11.

Virginia Tech held, but Obi Egekeze's 27-yard field goal made it 20-13.

Glennon, who lost his job after one game because of the Hokies' weak offensive line, threw a 5-yard touchdown pass to Greg Boone to end Virginia Tech's second series. Evans did much of the damage in the drive, carrying seven times for 49 yards, including runs of 15 and 17 yards.

The Terps, who drove to the Hokies 29 on their first series before Egekeze missed a 47-yard field goal attempt, got to the Virginia Tech 24 on their second series, with Turner's 13-yard pass to Heyward-Bey on third-and-18 putting them in range for Egekeze's 41-yarder.

Evans again did much of the work on the Hokies' second scoring drive. After taking over at their own 20, he broke off a career-best 50-yard run on the first play. Glennon completed a 13-yard pass to Dyrell Roberts on third-and-5 from the 14, and Evans dived in for the TD.

College Football News