Virginia Tech (3)... 0 7 7 14 -28 Maryland............ 0 3 0 6 - 9 Scoring Summary: 2nd Quarter 11:35 VT - Vick 8 yd run (Pace kick) 03:00 MD - Ennis 38 yd field goal 3rd Quarter 11:35 VT - Imoh 2 yd run (Pace kick 4th Quarter 10:45 VT - Imoh 10 yd run (Pace kick) 06:47 VT - Ore 4 yd run (Pace kick) 02:16 MD - Fenner 10 yd pass from Hollenbach (2 pt. conv. failed)
Virginia Tech kept its undefeated record and national championship hopes alive by defeating the Maryland Terrapins 28-9 in a Thursday night game that was not as close as the score indicated. The Hokies played a sloppy game, turning the ball over four times and committing seven penalties for 71 yards. Despite their play, Tech was able to leave College Park with a relatively easy victory to improve to 7-0 overall and 4-0 in ACC play.
Marcus Vick has been praised all season for his ability to protect the football. He entered Thursday night’s game with only two interceptions on the season, the only two turnovers by the Virginia Tech offense this season. In a somewhat surprising development, Vick threw three interceptions on three consecutive possessions in the third quarter, which helped Maryland stay in the game until the fourth quarter.
The Hokies had a chance to blow the game open in the first half. They moved the ball to the Maryland one yard line on two different occasions, yet came away with zero points on each drive. Mike Imoh fumbled while attempting to dive over the goal line on the first possession and Brandon Pace missed a 20 yard field goal attempt to end the first half.
Except for his turnovers, Marcus Vick was able to move the Hokies up and down the field on the Maryland defense. He finished the game completing 14 of 23 passes for 211 yards. He also had the first 100 yard rushing game of his career, carrying the ball 16 times for 133 yards, with one rushing touchdown.
Vick was not the only Tech player to find success running the football. Mike Imoh had 18 carries for 86 yards and two touchdowns, while Branden Ore had another successful game with nine carries, 48 yards and a touchdown. The Hokies rushed for 286 yards as a team. Combined with Vick’s 211 yards passing, Tech had 497 yards of total offense, their highest output of the season.
Despite the yardage output, the offense had trouble scoring points because of four turnovers. However, the Virginia Tech defense was dominant. They held Maryland to just 254 yards of total offense. Both of Maryland’s scores, a field goal in the first half and a touchdown after the game was already decided, came after the Tech defense committed penalties to keep the Terrapins’ drives alive.
The Virginia Tech linebackers were especially dominant. Vince Hall, Xavier Adibi and James Anderson combined for 33 tackles, three tackles for loss, two sacks and an interception.
Although both teams showed signs of being able to move the football offensively during the first quarter, the game was scoreless after the first 15 minutes of play. With 11 minutes remaining in the first quarter, Maryland began a drive on their own 20 yard line. The Terps drove all the way to the Tech 20 yard line, and took 5:24 off the clock in the process. Quarterback Sam Hollenbach completed two passes to tight end Vernon Davis for a total of 38 yards, but on second and seven from the Virginia Tech 20, he was intercepted by Tech linebacker James Anderson.
With 52 seconds remaining in the first quarter, the Hokies embarked on what would become their first touchdown drive of the game. The drive began with an 18 yard pass play to David Clowney. Vick carried the ball four times four 42 yards on the drive. Maryland did not force Tech into a third down situation until the final play of the drive, when Vick scrambled around the right side for an eight yard touchdown run. With 11:35 remaining in the second quarter, the Hokies led 7-0.
Maryland responded with a quick three and out, and the Hokies took over on their own 45 yard line. On the first play of the drive, Vick found David Clowney down the sideline for a 48 yard gain to the Maryland seven yard line. The Hokies found themselves facing a fourth and one situation from the one yard line, and Frank Beamer elected to go for it. Mike Imoh took the handoff and attempted the leap over the goal line, but he fumbled the ball in the process and Maryland’s Gerrick McPhearson recovered.
Maryland took over on their own six yard line and proceeded to drive all the way to Virginia Tech’s 21 yard line. The key play of the drive came on third and ten from Maryland’s own 32 yard line. Hollenbach was pressured and tackled for a no gain by Xavier Adibi, but Vince Hall was whistled for a personal foul, which gave the Terps 15 yards and a new set of downs. They would take advantage, with Daniel Ennis later converting the Tech mistake into a 38 yard field goal. With 3:00 remaining in the first half, the Hokies led 7-3.
Virginia Tech got the ball back and easily moved the ball downfield, with Vick completing a 28 yard pass to Josh Morgan and a 14 yard pass to Eddie Royal. The Hokies had the ball first and goal at the Maryland one yard line, and it looked like Tech was going to keep the momentum heading into halftime.
However Vick was stopped on a quarterback sneak on first down. On second down, Vick and Imoh botched an attempted handoff, but the Hokies recovered the fumble at the four yard line. On third down, Vick completed a two yard pass to Mike Imoh, who failed to get out of bounds. Brandon Pace was forced to attempt a quick 20 yard field goal, which he bounced off the left upright as time expired in the first half. The Hokies led 7-3 at halftime, and they had blown the opportunity to score two touchdowns from Maryland’s one yard line.
The Hokies got the ball first to start the second half, and they came out like a team possessed. They drove 81 yards on eight plays in 3:25, with Mike Imoh scoring on a two yard touchdown run. The drive was highlighted by a beautiful 38 yard scramble by Vick, one of his many big runs on the day. After Imoh’s touchdown, Tech led 14-3 with 11:35 left in the third quarter.
Virginia Tech was then presented with another opportunity to run away with the game. On the next Maryland possession, Hollenbach badly overthrew a pass towards the sideline, and it was intercepted by free safety Justin Hamilton. Virginia Tech had the ball on Maryland’s 35 yard line, and it looked like the Hokies were about to put the game away.
On second and 11 from the Maryland 36, Vick rolled to his right and floated a pass to an open Tech receiver. He put too much air under the ball however, and it was intercepted by Maryland’s Milton Harris. The Terrapins threatened to convert the turnover into points. Derrick Fenner caught a screen pass and took it 45 yards up the sideline before finally being pushed out of bounds by Justin Hamilton. The Tech defense held, and Ennis came on for a 38 yard field goal attempt. This time however, he missed, and the Hokies still held a 14-3 lead.
Vick faired no better on Tech’s next possession. He tried to throw a pass over the middle, but didn’t see Maryland linebacker D’Qwell Jackson, who intercepted the pass and returned it to Tech’s 33 yard line. The Terrapin offense could only manage to move the ball three yards against the tough Hokie defense, and Ennis missed his second field goal of the night, this time from 47 yards. The Hokies seemed to be hanging on by the skin of their teeth.
Unfortunately for Tech, Vick wasn’t done with throwing interceptions. On the Hokies’ next possession, Vick looked for tight end Jeff King over the middle, but threw the pass too high. It was intercepted by Maryland safety Chris Varner. Maryland took over on their own 46 yard line, but once again the Tech defense was up to the challenge. Maryland was forced into another three and out, and the drive as ended on a sack by Xavier Adibi.
Maryland punter Adam Podlesh was able to pin the Hokies at their own one yard line with 54 seconds remaining in the half. After failing to covert numerous short field opportunities into points, Tech did the improbable and drove 99 yards for a touchdown. Vick completed just one pass on the drive, a seven yarder to fullback Jesse Allen. The Hokies rode the legs of Vick and Imoh to the endzone, and were aided by a pass interference call on cornerback Josh Wilson. With 10:45 left in the game, Mike Imoh scored from ten yards out, and the Hokies took a 21-3 lead.
After yet another Maryland three and out, Virginia Tech took over on the Terrapins’ 37 yard line, looking to add to their lead. Branden Ore carried the ball six consecutive times, finally scoring on a four yard touchdown run. The short drive took 2:49 off the clock, and the Hokies had iced the game, taking a 28-3 lead with 6:47 remaining.
Maryland would finally reach the endzone on their next drive, but only after some help by the Hokies. Jonathan Lewis sacked Hollenbach for a loss of 11 yards on third and nine from the Tech 49, but a personal foul penalty on cornerback Roland Minor gave Maryland an automatic first down. Later in the drive, a personal foul on Jimmy Williams would move the Terps closer to the endzone. Hollenbach would later connect with wide receiver Derrick Fenner for a ten yard touchdown. The two point conversion attempt failed, and Tech would go on to win 28-9.
The Hokies return to action next Thursday night when they host the Boston College Eagles, who are ranked 13th in the AP Poll and 11th in the Coaches’ Poll. The game will be televised by ESPN and kickoff is scheduled for 7:45.
STATISTICS VT MD ---- ---- First downs 25 16 Rushed-yards 48-286 33-96 Passing yards 211 158 Sacked-yards lost 1-8 4-28 Return yards 81 44 Passes 14-23-3 14-30-2 Punts 2-43 5-43.6 Fumbles-lost 2-1 1-0 Penalties-yards 7-71 5-49 Time of possession 30:35 29:25 Att: 54,838 INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS RUSHING-Virginia Tech, Vick 16-133, Imoh 18-86, Ore 9-48, Bell 2-10, Royal 1-8, Morgan 1-3, Team 1-(-2). Maryland, Ball 15-75, Lattimore 8-17, Hollenbach 8-5, Merrills 1-0, Walker 1-(-1). PASSING-Virginia Tech, Vick 14-23-3-211. Maryland, Hollenbach 14-30-2-158. RECEIVING-Virginia Tech, Clowney 3-76, Morgan 3-63, Royal 3-33, Imoh 3-21, King 1-11, Allen 1-7. Maryland, Davis 4-48, Melendez 4-32, Fenner 3-63, Ball 2-9, Walker 1-6.