BLACKSBURG, Va. -- Virginia Tech showed there's no question the Hokies are the best team in the state.
After starting slow, as they have all season, the Hokies got on track with the help of big plays on defense and special teams and beat the Cavaliers for the 11th time in 12 games.
"I think there were a couple of big stops there that got the game going in a different direction," Hokies coach Frank Beamer said. His team became the only Division I program in the country to have won at least 10 games in each of the past seven seasons.
Eddie Whitley provided the first spark, intercepting Marc Verica on the second play of the second quarter, setting up Williams' first touchdown, and Bruce Taylor and Jeron Gouveia-Winslow provided the second, stopping Colter Phillips on a fake-punt pass completion.
"We kind of needed that because we weren't doing anything on offense," Williams said of his 5-yard scoring run. Whitley had returned the interception 19 yards to the Virginia 5.
Taylor said knowing Virginia likes to fake off rugby-style punts helped keep him focused on the next big play. Cavaliers punter Jimmy Howell rolled right as if he would kick rugby style, then threw to Phillips needing 2 yards for the first down. Phillips got 1 before Taylor and Gouveia-Winslow stopped his progress cold, allowing the Hokies to take over.
"There's always the potential for a fake off that play," Taylor said. "I knew it was fourth-and-short so I didn't break down. I just tried to run through it and made a big play."
The score was still just 7-0 at that point, but the lead doubled four plays later.
Taylor hit Wilson with a swing pass that he took down the right sideline, dodging several tacklers and then lunging with the ball in front of him to reach the end zone.
Taylor threw for 176 yards and a touchdown and became the career passing yardage leader for the Hokies (10-2, 8-0 ACC). Virginia Tech also became the first team to finish the regular season unbeaten in Atlantic Coast Conference play since Florida State in 2000.
The Hokies will meet either the Seminoles or North Carolina State in next weekend's ACC championship game in Charlotte, N.C. It will be Tech's fourth appearance in six years.
The game ended a difficult first season under coach Mike London for Virginia (4-8, 1-7). The Cavaliers lost their final four games and have now dropped 13 straight games in November.
"We're having a tough time beating everybody," defensive end Cam Johnson said.
In his effort to rebuild the Virginia program, London would do well to improve his team's fortunes against the Hokies. Virginia Tech has now won 14 of the last 18 matchups and 11 of the last 12; the dominance has given coach Frank Beamer's team a huge recruiting edge.
"They're the measuring stick right now," London said of the Hokies. "That's what I aspire to be. ... This is very humbling. With humility I see how far we have to go."
Leading 17-0, the Hokies put the game away on their opening drive of the second half. Taylor hit Jarrett Boykin for 24 yards, and then for 11. Williams took it the last 15, carrying linebacker LaRoy Reynolds at least 5 yards and into the end zone for a 24-0 lead.
"I didn't get touched until I was 10 yards down the field," Williams said.
Darren Evans led an 88-yard, 11-play drive capped by his 6-yard scoring run with 3:51 left in the third quarter. A 2-yard run by Wilson with 4:53 to go made it 37-0.
Taylor needed 153 yards to pass Bryan Randall (2001-04) as Virginia Tech's career passing yardage leader and got that in the third quarter. He now has 6,532 yards; Randall had 6,508.
Taylor's first-half TD pass to Wilson was his 20th scoring pass this year.
The matchup that figured to be critical -- Virginia's 106th-ranked rushing defense against the Hokies 18th-ranked rushing offense -- had little bearing in the first 30 minutes. The Hokies managed just 37 rushing yards in the half, and Taylor had 19 of them on three runs.
Chris Hazley's school-record 19th consecutive field goal, from 40 yards, came 22 seconds before halftime, giving the Hokies a 17-0 cushion at the break.
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