Va. Tech's Williams sets school single-season rushing record in win

ATLANTA -- Ryan Williams isn't keeping track of his records.

"Someone eventually will break them anyway," Virginia Tech's fantastic redshirt freshman running back said.

Probably, but in just one season Williams has already made a quite an impression.

He capped a brilliant debut season with a record-setting game, running for two touchdowns to power Virginia Tech (No. 11 BCS, No. 12 AP) past Tennessee 37-14 in the Chick-fil-A Bowl on Thursday night.

"I just saw green," said Williams of his two touchdown runs. "When I see green, I take advantage of it."

The Hokies (10-3) took the lead with a field goal in the final seconds of the first half and outscored Tennessee 20-0 in the second half on their way to a sixth straight 10-win season.

The only team with a longer active streak is Texas with nine.

Williams, a redshirt freshman, had 117 yards rushing to become Virginia Tech's single-season rushing leader with 1,655 yards. Williams also set Atlantic Coast Conference records with 21 rushing touchdowns and 22 total touchdowns this season but said "I really don't care about records."

The Hokies outrushed Tennessee (7-6) 229-5.

"Ryan was something tonight, particularly at the start of the second half," Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer said. "We got after them good."

Tennessee's star running back, Montario Hardesty, could not keep up with Williams. The Volunteers' senior had 18 carries for 39 yards and a touchdown.

"We got gassed; we got tired," Tennessee defensive end Chris Walker said. "You could tell especially on defense we weren't making plays.

"Ryan Williams is a really great player."

Tennessee quarterback Jonathan Crompton was taken to a local hospital after the game for precautionary reasons, according to a school spokesman. Crompton suffered an undisclosed injury late in the game.

Vols junior safety Eric Berry confirmed after the game he will enter the NFL draft.

Tennessee was hurt by two turnovers which led to 10 points for Virginia Tech, and a dropped pass that cost the Vols a touchdown.

"For whatever reason, we didn't play well today," Tennessee coach Lane Kiffin said. "I was surprised we weren't able to run the ball better."

Rashad Carmichael intercepted a pass by Crompton in the first quarter to set up Williams' first touchdown run. Crompton fumbled when sacked by Nekos Brown late in the fourth quarter. John Graves recovered at the Tennessee 13 to set up Matt Waldron's third field goal, a 22-yarder.

Virginia Tech players dumped a cooler of water on Beamer seconds later. Virginia Tech fans in the sellout crowd of 73,777 cheered, and Beamer raised his fists in response.

Williams sat out the fourth quarter after a left ankle sprain. Virginia Tech fans cheered when Williams left the trainer's table and ran on the sideline, but Beamer gave the fourth-quarter carries to Josh Oglesby and David Wilson.

Wilson had a 3-yard touchdown run with 5:14 remaining.

Williams passed Kevin Jones' school-record record 1,647 yards rushing in 2003.

North Carolina's Don McCauley held the ACC records with 19 rushing touchdowns and 21 total in 1970. Clemson's C.J. Spiller matched the total touchdown mark this season. Georgia Tech's Robert Lavette also rushed for 19 touchdowns in 1982.

Williams passed Jones with his seventh carry of an eight-play touchdown drive in the third quarter. He had long runs of 21 and 32 yards in the drive before setting the record on a 6-yard run to the 3.

Tyrod Taylor scored from the 1 for a 24-14 lead. He completed 10 of 17 passes for 201 yards with an interception.

Crompton completed 15 of 26 passes for 235 yards with a touchdown and an interception.

Waldron, who had a 21-yard field goal at the end of the first half, added a 46-yarder -- the longest of his career -- to push the lead to 27-14 early in the fourth quarter.

Tennessee's had a chance to get back into it, but wide-open Denarius Moore dropped a deep pass from Crompton on the Vols' next drive. Kiffin said the play "really took the wind out of our sails."

Williams had two short touchdown runs to give the Hokies a 14-0 lead in the second quarter.

Tennessee then responded.

Hardesty ran through 301-pound defensive tackle Cordarrow Thompson's tackle for a 4-yard run to cap an 80-yard drive.

Janzen Jackson's interception set up Crompton's 2-yard touchdown pass to Moore with 18 seconds remaining in the first half.

Instead of running out the clock, Taylor threw from his 33 to Jarrett Boykin, who was stopped inside the Vols' 5 as the clock apparently expired. Tennessee players left the field but were summoned back as a video review showed Boykin's knee hit the ground with 2 seconds remaining.

"I knew that there was time left looking at the clock when Boykin made the catch," Taylor said.

Waldron's 21-yard field goal gave Virginia Tech a 17-14 halftime lead.

The Hokies, who won the Orange Bowl last season, have back-to-back bowl wins for the first time in school history.