2008 Football Game Recap: Hokies Dominate Bearcats, Win Orange Bowl 20-7

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Cincinnati (12) .......   7   0   0   0 -  7
Virginia Tech (19) ....   0  10   3   7 - 20

Scoring Summary:

1st Quarter
13:08 CIN - Marshawn Gilyard 15 yard pass from Pike (Rogers kick)

2nd Quarter
13:00 VT - Tyrod Taylor 17 yard run (Keys kick)
00:00 VT - Dustin Keys 43 yard FG

3rd Quarter
8:32 VT - Dustin Keys 35 yard FG

4th Quarter
11:29 VT - Darren Evans 6 yard run (Keys kick)

Miami, FL — Virginia Tech topped Cincinnati 20-7 in the 75th Orange Bowl, behind 153
yards rushing from Darren Evans and four interceptions by the Hokie defense.
Tech gave up an early touchdown, then locked down on the Bearcats, and VT had
one of their strongest offensive efforts of the season to score 20 unanswered
points and notch the win. It is Tech’s first BCS Bowl win since the 1995 Sugar
Bowl and brings the Hokies their fifth ten-win season in a row, a feat matched
by just USC and Texas.

Offensively, the Hokies had 398 total yards, their second best yardage effort
of the season, behind only the Maryland game (400 yards). Led by Evans’ 153
yards on 28 carries, Tech gained 259 yards on the ground and controlled the
clock for 39:39, their most dominating time-of-possession stat of the year.

Tyrod Taylor finished with 187 yards of total offense, going 13-of-23 for 140
yards and rushing 15 times for 47 yards and a touchdown. Taylor threw one
interception, Tech’s only turnover of the game.

On defense, the Hokies gave up a score to Cincinnati on the Bearcats’ opening
possession, then held Cincinnati scoreless for over 58 minutes. The Bearcats
gained 311 total yards, but they had just 73 yards rushing, and Bearcat QB Tony
Pike threw a season-high four interceptions.

The Hokie defense came up big deep in their own territory, intercepting Pike
in the end zone on a second quarter possession, and turning in a goal line stand
in the fourth quarter. Cincinnati star receiver Mardy Gilyard had 7 catches for
158 yards and a touchdown, but he did most of his damage early and wasn’t a
factor late in the game.

After the Bearcats’ opening touchdown, Taylor capped off a 73-yard drive with
a magnificent 17-yard scramble for a touchdown to tie the score early in the
second quarter. Late in the first half, the Hokies turned Stephan Virgil’s end
zone interception into a 43 yard field goal on the last play of the half.

Tech dominated play in the second half, but points were slow coming. Keys
kicked a 32-yard field goal midway through the third quarter, and the Hokies
finally salted the game away when Orion Martin made a spectacular interception
early in the fourth quarter on the Cincinnati 10 yard line. Evans, who had 100
of his yards rushing in the second half, punched it in from 6 yards out for the
final 20-7 margin.

The Bearcats penetrated deep into Tech territory in the fourth quarter, but a
goal line stop of Pike by Tech freshman linebacker Barquell Rivers turned
Cincinnati away, and the Hokies held on for the win.

The Hokies turned in a sharp effort from whistle to whistle and made it look
easier than most expected. The victory was the classic ball-control type of win
that Frank Beamer favors, spearheaded by a strong rushing game, a positive
turnover margin, and a stone wall defense.

The victory brings to an end a 1-for-5 dry spell the Hokies were suffering
through in bowl games since winning the 2002 Emerald Bowl. It’s the ACC’s first
BCS Bowl win since Florida State’s 1999 victory over VT in the Sugar Bowl, and
the Hokies’ record in BCS Bowls is now 2-4, breaking a four-game losing streak.

Game Recap

Cincinnati wasted no time getting on the board, driving 72 yards in six plays
and scoring on a beautiful 15 yard touchdown pass from Pike to Gilyard. Gilyard
also had a catch for 38 yards earlier in the drive. Cincinnati’s drive took just
1:52 off the clock, but it would be their last score of the game.

The Hokies answered with a 67 yard drive that included a 27-yard end around
by Dyrell Roberts and a 34-yard catch by Danny Coale, but it ended in
frustration when Dustin Keys, normally very reliable inside 40 yards, missed a
26-yard field goal wide right. Keys had been ill the night before.

After a couple of uneventful possessions for each team, the Bearcats again
got into Tech territory when Gilyard caught a 39 yarder from Pike. The drive
ended when Cincinnati kicker Jake Rogers missed a 44-yard field goal badly.

The Hokies finally got on the board with a 9 play, 73 yard drive. Taylor
completed 4-of-5 passes for 33 yards, and on third and 9 from the Cincinnati 17
yard line, Taylor scored on a spectacular scramble. Taylor broke the pocket, ran
up the middle, juked a Cincinnati linebacker, broke outside left, and dashed
into the end zone just inside the pylon. His score came with 13:00 to go in the
second quarter and knotted the score at 7.

The teams traded punts for a while, with Cincinnati controlling field
position but failing to cash in. The Hokies broke out of their end of the field
with a 32-yard run by Darren Evans to midfield, but Taylor ended the drive with
an interception on the next play, easily his worst play of the game. Taylor
didn’t see Dyrell Roberts running wide open down the middle of the field, and
instead threw it into double coverage, where it was intercepted by Cincinnati’s
Brandon Underwood at the Bearcats 28 yard line with 4:52 to go in the half.

Cincinnati put together a nice drive, going all the way to the Hokie 8 yard
line, but on second and goal, Pike threw an end zone interception to Tech’s
Stephan Virgil. The Hokies took possession on their 20 with 2:23 left in the
half and drove 54 yards in 11 plays. Taylor completed two straight passes to
Greg Boone for 32 yards, and Taylor also converted a fourth and 1 with a QB
sneak to keep the drive alive. Keys nailed a 43-yard field goal on the last play
of the first half to give Tech a 10-7 lead the Hokies would never relinquish.

In the first half, the Hokies controlled the ball for 18:15 and had 255 total
yards, 130 rushing and 125 passing.

VT had the first possession of the second half and proceeded to chew up 6:28
off the clock, driving 68 yards in 13 plays and getting a 35 yard field goal
from Keys to go up 13-7. The drive featured a 16 yard run up the middle by Greg
Boone from the Wild Turkey formation, where Boone takes the shotgun snap direct
from center.

The Hokies were now firmly in control, and on the second play of Cincinnati’s
ensuing possession, Tech’s Kam Chancellor made a diving interception of Pike in
the middle of the field. The Hokies couldn’t do much with the turnover, as two
sacks kept Tech from advancing the ball very far. VT did run eight plays and
spend another 4:45 off the clock before punting.

The two teams traded punts, and early in the fourth quarter, Pike made the
game-breaking mistake that put the game out of reach. On second and 7 from the
Bearcat 17, Pike rolled out right and threw a screen pass back to the left, by
design. Virginia Tech defensive end Orion Martin, the former walk-on playing his
last game as a Hokie, broke on the ball and made a brilliant diving interception
at the Cincinnati 10 yard line.

The Hokies cashed in. On third and goal from the six yard line, Darren Evans
ran off-tackle right, broke the run to the outside, and scored easily. Keys
added the extra point, and with 11:29 to go, the Hokies led 20-7.

Cincinnati answered with a last-ditch effort, marching down the field and
setting themselves up with a first and goal from the Hokie 4 yard line. After
two incompletions, John Goebel ran it down to the 1 yard line. On fourth and
goal from the one, Pike ran to the right and tried to punch it in off right
tackle, where he was met by redshirt freshman linebacker Barquell Rivers. Rivers
had been pressed into service for this game due to a knee injury suffered by
usual starter Brett Warren, and on this play, Rivers stopped Pike cold, giving
Tech possession with 7:25 left.

Aided by a roughing the punter penalty, the Hokies moved the ball out of the
shadow of their own goal post, finally punting it back to the Bearcats with just
2:31 remaining.

In a desperation effort, Pike threw his fourth interception of the game, this
one to Cody Grimm on a poorly thrown ball and an athletic pick by Grimm. The
Hokies ran out the clock on the win with four kneel-downs that ironically
totaled six lost yards rushing and turned what would have been Tech’s best
offensive yardage game of the season (404 yards) into their second best (398
yards).

The Hokies will take it, though. Frank Beamer got a well-earned Gatorade bath
with a minute to go, along with a big bowl win that the VT program and the ACC
badly needed.


STATISTICS

                         CIN          VT
                         ----        ----
First downs               14          23
Rushed-yards           21-71      55-258
Passing yards            239         140
Sacked-yards lost        1-1        3-12
Return yards              31           9
Passes               16-33-4     13-23-1
Punts                 4-45.8      5-38.0
Fumbles-lost             2-0         3-0
Penalties-yards         3-30        3-17
Time of possession     20:21       39:39
Att: 73,602

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS 

RUSHING-Virginia Tech, Evans 28-153, Taylor 15-47,
Roberts 2-34, Boone 2-19, Oglesby 3-8, Coale 1-7, TEAM 4-(-10). 
Cincinnati, Ramsey 4-34, Goebel 9-26, Pead 2-10, Barnett 1-(-3),
Pike 5-4, Ramsey 4-34.

PASSING-Virginia Tech, Taylor 13-23-140-1.
Cincinnati, Pike 16-33-239-4.

RECEIVING-Virginia Tech, Coale 3-52, Boone 3-41, 
Boykin 2-28, Roberts 2-12, Evans 2-5, Jefferson 1-2, 
Cincinnati, Gilyard 7-158, Goodman 6-51, Goebel 1-18,
Barnett 1-6, Ramsey 1-6.
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