7:30 PM ET, October 26, 2006
Lane Stadium, Blacksburg, VA
7:30 PM ET, October 26, 2006
Lane Stadium, Blacksburg, VA
BLACKSBURG, Va. (AP) -- Virginia Tech felt disrespected after a two-game losing streak that bounced the Hokies from the polls and made them look like pretenders.
Virginia Tech RB Branden Ore has 939 of the Hokies' 1,058 net rushing yards this season (88.8%), making him pretty much a one-man show in the backfield. Ore recorded 203 yards against Clemson to become the first back in Hokies history to have back-to-back 200-yard games.
They probably fixed that Thursday night, getting 203 rushing yards and two touchdowns from Branden Ore and a magnificent defensive effort that limited No. 10 Clemson to 76 yards in the final three quarters of a 24-7 victory.
"We knew tonight was our night," right tackle Duane Brown said after the maligned offensive line made Ore the first back in Hokies history to have back-to-back 200-yard games. He had 207 yards five days earlier against Southern Mississippi.
"The setting was there," Brown said. "Everybody thought we were going to lose. We were the underdogs on our home field. We took that to heart."
They also took it to the Tigers, who came in with the nation's No. 1 scoring offense, averaging better than 42 points, and did nothing after a first quarter TD.
Clemson (7-2, 4-2) had just three first downs in the last three quarters, and the third one came in the final minute, not long before the final gun sounded and Hokies fans streamed onto the field, surrounding the team and celebrating around midfield.
"We put ourselves back in the race," said Ore, who carried a career-high 37 times.
Virginia Tech (6-2, 3-2 Atlantic Coast Conference), beaten soundly in its last two ACC games by Georgia Tech and Boston College, dominated in every phase. The Tigers had 10 series that didn't yield a first down, including eight three-and-outs.
"They had more people in there than we could block," Spiller said. "They were strong to the ball. They made sure that me and James didn't get to the second level."
Ore was well aware of how much hype the Tigers' runners were receiving.
"There was a lot of talk about how good they were. I really wasn't hearing my name at all," he said. "I just wanted to put myself up there in that category."
He did, and brought the rest of the Hokies with him.
"It's just so satisfying to have a great team win," said coach Frank Beamer, whose team has drawn negative publicity recently after having three arrests off the field and a slew of unsportsmanlike penalties on it. "We did it the right way."
Clemson coach Tommy Bowden, his team suddenly behind the one-loss trio of Boston College, Wake Forest and Maryland in the ACC's Atlantic Division standings, said he knew coming into raucous Lane Stadium his team would have to play well, but didn't.
"This is not the first team Virginia Tech has done this to," he said.
Ore, he said, "was very equal to what we had on the field."
The Hokies, leading 10-7 at halftime, padded their lead early in the third quarter after Xavier Adibi intercepted Will Proctor's pass at the Clemson 35. Ore did the rest, carrying on five consecutive plays, the last an 11-yard, second-effort run for the TD.
Later in the period, he essentially put the game away, breaking off a 21-yard run to get the ball inside the Clemson 5, then carrying two more times to get it to 24-7. Sam Wheeler also had a big play in the drive, a 41-yard reception from Sean Glennon.
Clemson tailback James Davis had been tearing up opponents, so it's not really a surprise that the Tigers struggled when Virginia Tech shut him down on Thursday night. Here's Davis' 2006 game log:
|9-2||Florida Atlantic||W 54-6||14||94||6.7||1|
|9-9||@Boston College||L 34-33||24||93||3.9||2|
|9-16||@Florida State||W 27-20||19||87||4.6||2|
|9-23||North Carolina||W 52-7||15||95||6.3||4|
|9-30||Louisiana Tech||W 51-0||11||143||13||2|
|10-7||@Wake Forest||W 27-17||26||95||3.7||0|
|10-21||Georgia Tech||W 31-7||21||216||10.3||2|
|10-26||@Virginia Tech||L 24-7||12||30||2.5||1|
Glennon came in expecting to yield to Ike Whitaker at times to boost the running game, but it never happened. Glennon finished 9-for-15 for 108 yards and ran for a TD.
The Hokies dominated the second quarter on defense and led 10-7 at halftime.
Clemson ran just 12 plays -- for 21 yards -- in the quarter as Virginia Tech kept the ball for nearly 10 minutes. Brandon Pace's 37-yard field goal with 11:36 left in the half made it 10-7 and was his 14th consecutive successful field goal.
Clemson was in great position to at least tie it when C.J. Gaddis stripped the ball from a scrambling Glennon and Gaines Adams recovered for the Tigers on the Tech 25.
Three plays later, however, Proctor never got the handle on the third-and-9 snap and Hokies defensive end Barry Booker jumped on the loose ball to end the threat.
The teams were like mirror images in the first quarter.
Both started with three-and-outs, and then the Tigers drove 77 yards in 11 plays to Davis' 17th rushing touchdown of the season, a 6-yard burst around the left side.
The Hokies countered by driving 84 yards in 12 plays, highlighted by Glennon's 2-yard sneak on fourth-and-1 from the Hokies 36, and Ore's 40-yard burst through the right side to the 6-inch line. Two plays later, Glennon dove it in.
It was over when... an angry bunch of Hokies stormed into raucous Lane Stadium looking for redemption.
Gameball goes to... Branden Ore. The sophomore powered his way to 203 yards and two touchdowns on 37 carries.
Stat of the game... 86: The Virginia Tech defense held Clemson's potent ground game to only 86 rushing yards.