Commentary

Hokies edge rival Virginia for bagging rights, conference championship bid

Originally Published: November 24, 2007
By Heather Dinich | ESPN.com

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. -- For the past three days, Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer has had an upset stomach caused by his considerably rattled nerves -- so much so that Saturday morning, he asked the team doctors for some pregame medicine.

"I kept saying this was biggest game we've ever played against Virginia," said Beamer, who estimated he slept about an hour last night. "I think I started believing it."

He was right.

Never before had the Commonwealth's biggest rivals met in the regular-season finale to determine the Atlantic Coast Conference's Coastal Division champion, a title which guarantees the winner a chance to play Boston College for the ACC title next weekend.

Turns out the No. 8 Hokies' 33-21 win over No. 16 Virginia was all Beamer -- and his stomach -- needed.

"I feel pretty good right now, though," he said with a smile. "Feeling great."

Not even the concrete wall separating the visitors locker room in Scott Stadium from the interview room could drown out the whoops and hollers coming from the Hokies (10-2, 7-1), who came into a sold-out Scott Stadium on senior day, and before a crowd of 61,711 beat the Cavaliers (9-3, 6-2) for the fourth straight time.

"It's definitely one of the most important wins I've ever been a part of," said Virginia Tech quarterback Sean Glennon, who started the game but split his time almost equally with Tyrod Taylor. "This rivalry, it's just a bitter rivalry, and the bragging rights in-state, and the trip to Jacksonville, I don't know if I've been a part of too many games that had more on the line than that."

Frank Beamer
James Lang/US PresswireFrank Beamer's team has a chance to revenge a 14-10 loss to Boston College.

Virginia retired senior defensive end Chris Long's jersey and honored 18 other seniors, but it was the Hokies' senior class that earned the most significant reward. They became the winningest class in school history with 41 wins and will face Boston College (10-2) at 1 p.m. ET on Saturday in the Dr. Pepper ACC Championship game at Jacksonville Municipal Stadium. The winner receives an automatic bid to the Orange Bowl.

Virginia Tech is looking to redeem itself from a 14-10 loss to Boston College earlier this season in Blacksburg, Va.

"Boston College scarred me for life," Glennon said. "…There's not much more we can ask for. Now we can't complain about what happened, or a heartbreaking loss, because we get another shot at them and one of us goes to the Orange Bowl."

One of the biggest differences about Virginia Tech's next meeting with Boston College will be the Hokies' quarterback -- this time there will be two. Taylor, a true freshman, has become just as much of a factor -- if not more -- in the offense. Beamer switched the two of them roughly 20 times today.

"Both of them, as I said going into it, they give you things that win football games," Beamer said. "We're trying our best to get that out of both of them. I think today we did. I think today was a perfect example of getting the best out of both of them."

Glennon led the passing game with 260 yards and one touchdown on 13-of-19 completions, but Taylor, more of a dual-threat quarterback, scored two rushing touchdowns and totaled 39 passing yards.

"Me and Sean were talking about it after the game," Taylor said. "It worked out very good. It was the first time we got the chance to play the whole game. It threw the defense off plenty of times."

Long, who finished with six tackles, 1.5 sacks and one forced fumble despite having strep throat earlier this week, said it's Taylor who throws things off.

"What makes the two-quarterback system tough to defend is the guy, No. 5," Long said. "He's going to be a heck of a player. Like I told him after the game, he already is a heck of a player because of what he brings to the table athletically. It's not so much who's back there play in and play out, it's just the fact that No. 5 is back there. He poses a different threat."

It was Branden Ore, though, who Virginia couldn't stop. The healthiest he's been all year, Ore rushed for 147 yards on 31 carries -- surpassing the 100-yard mark for the first time this season. Virginia was held to 241 yards of total offense while Virginia Tech averaged 6 yards per play.

"We didn't have quite what we needed in every respect today," Virginia coach Al Groh said. "Virginia Tech had a little bit more at certain times than we did, and that's really what made the difference."

Virginia took a 14-13 lead in the second quarter -- the first time the Hokies had trailed in the series since the third quarter of the 2004 game in Blacksburg. The momentum shifted, though, when Brandon Flowers intercepted Jameel Sewell's pass late in the second quarter and landed the Hokies on their own 35-yard line. Three plays later, Glennon completed a 39-yard touchdown pass to Eddie Royal, who finished with six catches for 147 yards, and Virginia Tech had a 20-14 lead it never relinquished.

The Cavaliers were held scoreless in the final quarter.

"We always tell each other we play to have no regrets, and I feel like we have no regrets," Long said. "We do have things we wish we could have back a little, but … we really played our hearts out for 12 games here."

Heather Dinich is a college football writer for ESPN.com. Send your questions and comments to Heather at espn.hd@hotmail.com.

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