12:00 PM ET, September 23, 2006
Lane Stadium, BLACKSBURG, VA
BLACKSBURG, Va. (AP) -- Given a scare by Cincinnati in the first half, No. 11 Virginia Tech turned to its hallmarks Saturday -- power running and Beamerball.
Branden Ore ran for 152 of his 170 yards in the second half and scored a touchdown and the Hokies overcame a sluggish start to beat Cincinnati 29-13.
The Hokies also got two more of the plays that have made coach Frank Beamer's name famous -- a blocked punt for a safety and a 72-yard interception return for a sealing TD by Victor "Macho" Harris, capping a 17-point rally in the fourth quarter.
The Hokies (4-0), who won their first three games by a combined 109-10, didn't take the lead for good until Brandon Pace's 21-yard field goal with 14:51 remaining made it 15-13.
Ore carried six times on the drive to Pace's go-ahead kick, including a 24-yard burst. He added consecutive runs of 11, 46 and 8 yards, followed by two 1-yard runs and then a touchdown from a yard out as Virginia Tech went ahead 22-13 with 8:30 left.
"Coach always stressed to never let the first guy tackle, and that's pretty much what I tried to do," the sophomore tailback said. He carried 25 times in the game.
The Hokies trailed 10-5 and had minus-8 yards rushing at halftime, and Beamer was delighted to see his offensive line finally start doing its job.
"They opened up a few holes that allowed Brandon Ore to make a couple of terrific runs," he said.
Cincinnati coach Mark Dantonio said his defense got tired in the fourth quarter, just as it had last week when No. 1 Ohio State pulled away to beat the Bearcats 37-7.
"In the fourth quarter we missed tackles and you have to give them credit, give Ore credit -- he made some nice runs," Dantonio said.
The Hokies also used Beamerball to account for their first and last scores. Besides Harris' interception return, Josh Morgan blocked a punt out of the end zone for a safety.
Harris had two interceptions, and his touchdown was the 67th scored by a defensive player under Beamer, who is in his 20th season at his alma mater. Morgan's punt block was the 112th by the Hokies under Beamer, and the fourth kick blocked this season.
Harris said he'd been well-coached to make the interception.
"I baited it and I got it," he said.
Beamer said the Hokies were trying to just hold onto their lead after Mike Mickens recovered a fumble to give the Bearcats the ball on the Tech 43 with 3:13 left.
"But then Macho settled the whole thing in one play," Beamer said.
Beamer cautioned his team against complacency this week, noting that the Bearcats played the Buckeyes close for 2½ quarters last week, and Cincinnati proved him right by scoring the last 10 points of the first half.
Cincinnati didn't flinch, though, launching a 15-play drive that lasted 8:45. Kevin Lovell finished it with a 46-yard field goal to put Cincinnati back ahead, 13-12.
But then smash-mouth took over, and Ore and Harris assured the victory.
The Hokies struggled with their passing game. Glennon was 11-for-23 for 188 yards with one interception. He was sacked three times and had minus 21 yards rushing.
Tech finished with 145 rushing yards. The Bearcats had 121 yards on the ground and 280 in all.
Cincinnati kept up its momentum, intercepting a Glennon pass at Tech's 24-yard line. That led to Lovell's 34-yard field goal with 58 seconds left in the half.
Pace kicked at 37-yard field goal for Tech late in the first quarter.
Top 25 Overview
It was over when... Brandon Pace kicked a 21-yard field goal to give Virginia Tech the lead for good in the fourth quarter. Brandon Ore added an insurance TD.
Gameball goes to... Ore, who carried the ball 26 times for 163 yards and a TD. The freshman RB consistently found holes in the Bearcats' D.
Stat of the game... 136: Ore was the lone rusher for the Hokies, but Va. Tech's 136 yards rushing were still more than Cincinnati gained.
Team Stat Comparison
|3rd Down Conversions||6-14||6-12|
|4th Down Conversions||0-0||0-0|
|FG||1:09||BRANDON PACE 37 YD FG|
Drive info: 10 plays, 44 yards.
|TD||3:15||GREG MOORE 1 YD RUN (KEVIN LOVELL KICK)|
Drive info: 5 plays, 57 yards.
|FG||0:58||KEVIN LOVELL 34 YD FG|
Drive info: 4 plays, 4 yards.
|TD||13:24||JUSTIN HARPER 47 YD PASS FROM SEAN GLENNON (BRANDON PACE KICK)|
Drive info: 5 plays, 70 yards.
|FG||4:39||KEVIN LOVELL 46 YD FG|
Drive info: 15 plays, 52 yards.
|FG||14:51||BRANDON PACE 21 YD FG|
Drive info: 12 plays, 70 yards.
|TD||8:30||BRANDEN ORE 1 YD RUN (BRANDON PACE KICK)|
Drive info: 8 plays, 74 yards.
|TD||2:01||VICTOR HARRIS 72 YD INTERCEPTION RETURN (BRANDON PACE KICK)||13||29|