Defense, special teams score 3 TDs

BLACKSBURG, Va. (AP) -- Virginia Tech's return to its trademark Beamerball had its namesake smiling Saturday.

Virginia Tech returned an interception, a kickoff and a blocked punt for touchdowns in building a 40-0 lead against Connecticut, then let the Huskies dominate the clock in the last 20 minutes of a 47-13 loss.

"I was pleased overall with the different ways we scored. I think we showed different potential for this football team," Beamer said. "But we didn't get off the field a couple times there late."

By then, of course, Virginia Tech was on its way to its 28th consecutive victory in games played before October, dating to 1996.

The fifth-ranked Hokies (4-0) have specialized in scoring on special teams and defense under Beamer, and they got Nos. 62, 63 and 64 in the last 116 games before getting too cozy in cruise control for the coach.

"We don't put our second group in there to get scored on," he said, noting the Huskies' 443-368 yards advantage and 84 plays to the Hokies' 47.

But the Hokies, to their credit, did everything on a big scale.

Virginia Tech also scored on a 28-yard catch by Ernest Wilford, who laid out fully extended in the air to catch Bryan Randall's pass; on a 23-yard run by Kevin Jones, who gained 105 yards on just 12 carries for his second straight strong effort; and on Cedric Humes' 58-yard burst.

The Huskies (3-2), fifth in the country with an average of 497 yards coming into the game, lost star tailback Terry Caulley to a knee injury on his second carry and never were in it against the Hokies' No. 4 defense.

Several of the Huskies were disappointed that they didn't play well enough to see how their upstart program stacked up against the Hokies, but coach Randy Edsall said his team also is a victim of its own success.

"Maybe we've created a monster," he said. "We're in the second year of having 85 full scholarships. Because we've been able to beat people we're not supposed to, all these great things are supposed to happen."

The Huskies turned heads by beating Iowa State in the regular-season finale last year, then beat Indiana 34-10 to start this season. At one point, the Huskies stretched their winning streak to six over two years.

"For the last 10 years, look what they've done," Edsall said of the Hokies, a member of the top 25 for the last 75 weeks. "To think that our program is on par with the number five team in the country is ludicrous."

Especially when the Hokies get Beamerball working.

With UConn in Hokies territory in the second quarter, Eric Green intercepted Dan Orlovsky's pass and brought it back 84 yards, crossing from the right side to the left and just making it to the end zone.

Green got a 15-yard excessive celebration penalty for launching the ball into the stands after scoring, but he said it was a natural reaction.

"I was just very excited. I wasn't thinking," he said.

The Hokies led 27-0 at the half and made it 34-0 when Mike Imoh returned the second-half kickoff 91 yards, the Hokies' first kickoff return touchdown since Tony Kennedy went 91 yards against Louisville in 1992.

Only moments later, Nathaniel Adibi crashed through the line and blocked Adam Coles' punt, Chris Clifton scooping up the ball and returning it the last 16 yards, the Hokies' 15th blocked punt TD under Beamer.

"It was just a matter of time," Randall said, "before we really jumped on somebody and blocked a punt and scored with it. That time was today."

"That was not good by any stretch of the imagination," Edsall said.

With Caulley and his 607 yards rushing heading in for an MRI on Sunday, the Huskies' only good news came after they already trailed 40-0.

Then, Orlovsky hit Matt Cutaia for a 6-yard touchdown pass, extending his streak of games with a touchdown pass to 17. He later hit Keron Henry with a 27-yard touchdown pass and threw for 222 second-half yards.

"Our second and third teams have got to play better," Green said. "We've got to demand it out of each other and give it all we have."

Orlovsky was 25-for-40 for 316 yards.