7:45 PM ET, November 26, 2005
Lane Stadium, BLACKSBURG, VA
BLACKSBURG, Va. (AP) -- Cedric Humes challenged himself at halftime, raised his game and helped carry No. 5 Virginia Tech into the first Atlantic Coast Conference title game.
Humes ran for a career-high 134 yards and two third-quarter touchdowns and the Hokies beat North Carolina 30-3 on Saturday night, clinching the ACC's Coastal Division title and a spot in the championship against Florida State on Saturday.
And they did it with Humes and Branden Ore toting the load behind an offensive line that started opening bigger holes and allowing the runners to make it look easy.
"Everybody knew what we had to do," Humes, who carried 20 times, said. "We knew we could play better than we did in the first half, and that's what we came out and did."
The Hokies (10-1, 7-1) led only 6-3 at halftime, but Humes scored on runs of 1 and 3 yards and Ore added a 4-yard TD run -- all in the third quarter -- as Virginia Tech opened a 27-3 lead with Marcus Vick only being asked to hand the ball off and watch.
"I felt like I could go another four quarters if I had to," Vick said.
He finished just 8-for-15 for 61 yards with one touchdown and one interception.
Ore added 104 yards on 17 carries as the Hokies finished with 277 rushing yards just a week after running for 333 in a 52-14 victory against rival Virginia.
"We came out in the second half and really took it over," coach Frank Beamer said. "We said let's run the football and then occasionally get some play action in there, and we didn't need much play action, to be honest. I thought the backs ran well."
Now they have a chance to win their second ACC championship in as many years only three weeks after they thought they had blown the chance in a 27-7 loss to Miami.
But the Hurricanes then lost at home last weekend against Georgia Tech, putting the Hokies back in control of their fate -- and they made sure they took advantage.
"It just shows a lot about this program and this group of seniors that came through here," said defensive tackle Jonathan Lewis, one of 19 seniors on the team. The loss deprived the Tar Heels (5-6, 4-4) of becoming the ninth conference team to have the six wins needed for a bowl berth. It also marked only the second time in the last 16 seasons that North Carolina has lost its last regular-season game.
"You get off to a poor start in the third quarter and things start rolling the other way," Tar Heels coach John Bunting said. "It starts snowballing a little bit."
The Hokies wasted no time taking charge after the sluggish first half.
Humes carried on six plays the first time the Hokies got the ball after the half. He had runs of 11, 9 and 13 yards to start the drive and finished with a 1-yard dive.
After the Tar Heels went three-and-out, Ore took over at tailback, carrying seven times for 42 yards -- including a 20-yard burst -- before scoring from 4 yards out.
The Hokies again held the Tar Heels without a first down, and again it was Humes' turn, his touchdown coming as he pushed a pile of defenders into the end zone.
"I could see the end zone, and I just really wanted to get there," he said.
Vick threw only two passes after halftime, completing both.
"They didn't have to use him, to tell you the truth," Tar Heels defensive end Tommy Davis said. "Their running game was so effective. My hat's off to them."
The Tar Heels did drive to the Hokies' 2 and had first-and-goal, but the Virginia Tech defense stiffened and turned them away on four consecutive plays.
Earlier, the Hokies seemed tentative.
Humes fumbled the ball away in the first quarter, and Vick finally brought the frigid crowd to life with a 1-yard scoring pass to a diving Jeff King early in the second quarter. Brandon Pace's extra-point try was pulled wide to the right.
The next five possessions ended in punts before Vick overthrew David Clowney late in the second quarter and Kareen Taylor intercepted, leading to a 25-yard field goal from Connor Barth with :01 left in the half. It could have been worse for Tech, but on the previous play, Jesse Holley dropped Matt Baker's perfect pass in the end zone.
Top 25 Overview
It was over when... The Hokies, up only 6-3 at the half, ripped off three third-quarter TDs to take a 27-3 lead.
Gameball goes to... RB Cedric Humes, who ran for a career-high 134 yards and two touchdowns -- both scored in the third-quarter burst.
Stat of the game... 61: Virginia Tech QB Marcus Vick was limited to just 61 passing yards on 8-for-15 passing.
Team Stat Comparison
|3rd Down Conversions||6-17||5-9|
|4th Down Conversions||1-2||0-0|
|TD||10:30||JEFF KING 1 YD PASS FROM MARCUS VICK (MISSED KICK)|
Drive info: 9 plays, 73 yards.
|FG||0:01||CONNOR BARTH 25 YD FG|
Drive info: 6 plays, 22 yards.
|TD||9:42||CEDRIC HUMES 1 YD RUN (BRANDON PACE KICK)|
Drive info: 6 plays, 45 yards.
|TD||4:57||BRANDEN ORE 4 YD RUN (BRANDON PACE KICK)|
Drive info: 8 plays, 60 yards.
|TD||1:35||CEDRIC HUMES 3 YD RUN (BRANDON PACE KICK)|
Drive info: 5 plays, 21 yards.
|FG||10:49||BRANDON PACE 44 YD FG|
Drive info: 7 plays, 34 yards.