7:30 PM ET, November 18, 2004
Lane Stadium, BLACKSBURG, VA
BLACKSBURG, Va. -- Frank Beamer said there was never any question that he belonged on the Virginia Tech sidelines on the day his mother died, and Herma Beamer made sure he knew it almost two weeks ago.
"We weren't sure she was going to make it through the night before the North Carolina game, and I went by to see her in the hospital," Beamer said, recalling the No. 15 Hokies' game in Chapel Hill, N.C., on Nov. 6.
"Then when I left, she told my brother and sisters that if anything happened to her, to make sure to tell me to coach in that North Carolina game and to win the ballgame. That kind of tells you about my mom."
Mrs. Beamer, 86, died in her sleep overnight in Fancy Gap, Va., and Beamer and the Hokies did her proud Thursday night by thumping Maryland 55-6 and moving closer to a berth in the Bowl Championship Series.
"I appreciate their efforts," Beamer said of his ACC-leading Hokies (8-2, 5-1 ACC), who won their sixth game in a row. "They presented me and my mom with a game ball back there. I feel good about what they did tonight."
Bryan Randall ran for one touchdown and threw for two more, and the defense forced four first-half turnovers Randall and Co. turned into 24 points. They led 41-3 by halftime, 55-3 entering the fourth quarter.
They did it, Randall said, for their coach and his mom.
"It was special for him to be out here coaching us in a time like this," Randall said, "We just wanted to make it special for him and get him a win."
The Hokies, alone in first place in the ACC, remained in control of their BCS bid with a home game against No. 18 Virginia nine days away and then a finale at Miami (No. 13 ESPN/USA Today; No. 12 AP), their longtime Big East rival, on Dec. 4.
And they did it with a vintage display of playmaking defense and opportunistic offense, getting their points with just 376 total yards. But the Hokies outrushed the Terps 239-56.
"You don't expect to get wins like that this late in the season," Randall said, agreeing that 65,115 fans whipped into a frenzy make Lane Stadium a very difficult place for a team with a young quarterback. "If it's your first time coming into Lane Stadium, you can get a little rattled.
"It seemed like things started going downhill. The defense did a great job forcing turnovers and giving us a short field."
The Hokies led 14-0 after just four minutes, turning an interception of sophomore quarterback Joel Statham into a 29-yard drive and a fumble recovery into a 17-yard drive.
Mike Imoh scored both, then left with a strained left hamstring. But it hardly mattered. Jimmy Williams returned an interception 34 yards for a touchdown, Justin Hamilton scored on a 5-yard run and it looked easy.
Things never got better for the Terrapins (4-6, 2-5), whose hopes of winning their last two games to qualify for a bowl were gone by halftime.
"Obviously, I'm not reaching these kids," coach Ralph Friedgen said. "I just have to sit back and re-evaluate everything. I can tell you what -- I'm not very good at this.
"You won't see me around here a whole long time if we do this a whole lot. They won't have to fire me. I'll quit."
The trouble started right away for the Terps and Statham. On Maryland's first series, his third pass was intercepted by James Griffin and returned 11 yards to the Maryland 29. Five runs by Imoh -- the first for 21 yards, the last a 1-yard dive -- made it 7-0.
After a false start to begin the next series, Statham connected with Derrick Fenner, who was quickly stripped by James Anderson, and Mikal Baaqee recovered for the Hokies at the 17. Three plays later, Imoh ran it in from the 6, hurt his hamstring and watched the rest of the rout.
Randall threw touchdown passes of 35 yards to Jeff King and 15 yards to Jared Mazzetta, and Brandon Pace added field goals of 27 and 34 yards.
Virginia Tech's only setback since a season-opening 24-13 defeat against top-ranked Southern California came when Pace missed a 43-yard field goal on the last play of a 17-16 loss to North Carolina State.
But after a series of close games decided in the fourth quarter, Randall was happy to yield the quarterbacking duties late and watch.
"I'll take a victory like this any day," he said. "We got the momentum early, it stayed with us and they were on their heels the whole game."
This was the second consecutive humbling loss in Virginia since Maryland stunned Florida State 20-17 almost three weeks ago.
The Terps lost 16-0 at Virginia on Nov. 6.
Team Stat Comparison
|3rd Down Conversions||5-14||5-12|
|4th Down Conversions||0-0||1-1|
|TD||12:21||MIKE IMOH 1 YD RUN (BRANDON PACE KICK)|
Drive info: 5 plays, 29 yards.
|TD||11:00||MIKE IMOH 6 YD RUN (BRANDON PACE KICK)|
Drive info: 3 plays, 17 yards.
|FG||2:33||NICK NOVAK 42 YD FG|
Drive info: 9 plays, 38 yards.
|TD||0:25||JEFF KING 35 YD PASS FROM BRYAN RANDALL (BRANDON PACE KICK)|
Drive info: 6 plays, 53 yards.
|TD||14:56||JUSTIN HAMILTON 5 YD RUN (BRANDON PACE KICK)|
Drive info: 3 plays, 23 yards.
|FG||4:47||BRANDON PACE 27 YD FG|
Drive info: 12 plays, 74 yards.
|TD||1:00||JARED MAZZETTA 15 YD PASS FROM BRYAN RANDALL (BRANDON PACE KICK)|
Drive info: 6 plays, 62 yards.
|FG||0:00||BRANDON PACE 34 YD FG|
Drive info: 3 plays, 1 yards.
|TD||1:54||BRYAN RANDALL 1 YD RUN (BRANDON PACE KICK)|
Drive info: 9 plays, 38 yards.
|TD||0:23||JIMMY F. WILLIAMS 34 YD INTERCEPTION RETURN (BRANDON PACE KICK)||3||55|
|FG||2:44||NICK NOVAK 33 YD FG|
Drive info: 11 plays, 46 yards.