Cincinnati........... 0 10 3 0 - 13 Virginia Tech (10)... 5 0 7 17 - 29 Scoring Summary: 1st Quarter 04:54 VT - Team safety, punt blocked out of end zone 01:09 VT - Pace 37 yd FG 2nd Quarter 03:16 CIN - Moore 1 yd run (Lovell kick) 00:58 CIN - Lovell 34 yd FG 3rd Quarter 13:24 VT - Harper 47 yd pass from Glennon (Pace kick) 04:39 CIN - Lovell 46 yd FG 4th Quarter 14:51 VT - Pace 21 yd FG 08:30 VT - Ore 1 yd run (Pace kick) 02:01 VT - Harris 72 yd INT return (Pace kick)
Blacksburg, VA – #10 Virginia Tech overcame a lackluster first half to knock off the visiting Cincinnati Bearcats 29-13 on Saturday afternoon in Lane Stadium. The Hokies found themselves down 10-5 at halftime, but they rode the legs of Branden Ore to victory in the second half. The win takes Tech to 4-0 overall, and they remain 2-0 in the ACC. Cincinnati drops to 1-3 on the season.
Branden Ore finished the game with 25 carries for 170 yards and a touchdown, an average of 6.8 yards per carry. At halftime, no one would have predicted he would have put up such gaudy numbers. The r-sophomore had just seven carries for 17 yards in the first half, but as the game went on, offensive coordinator Bryan Stinespring called his number more and more, and Ore delivered.
Ore also had a 71 yard touchdown run called back for holding downfield on Eddie Royal, so he was only credited with an eight yard gain on the play.
Playing without leading receiver David Clowney, the passing game never got going consistently. It did however produce several big plays, including a 47 yard touchdown to Justin Harper. Sean Glennon finished the game 11-of-23 for 188 yards, with one touchdown and one interception.
Six Hokies caught passes during the game. Josh Morgan had four receptions for 27 yards, and Justin Harper had two catches for 64 yards and a touchdown. Eddie Royal and Branden Ore each made big plays in the passing game, catching passes for 44 yards and 34 yards respectively. Josh Hyman added two catches for 10 yards, while Greg Boone had one catch for nine yards.
The Virginia Tech offensive line struggled in pass protection, as well as run blocking, in the first half. They allowed three sacks in the first half, and Ore had no running room. But after halftime adjustments, they performed much better in the second half.
The Tech defense, which allowed 280 yards of total offense, was led by highly touted linebackers Xavier Adibi and Vince Hall, who finished with 13 tackles apiece. They each had half a tackle for loss, and Adibi forced a fumble.
From a playmaking standpoint, Barry Booker had the best game of his Tech career. The r-junior defense tackle had 10 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss and half a sack. He made one very impressive play in the second half, snuffing out a screen pass and tackling the running back five yards behind the line of scrimmage.
Sophomore cornerback Victor “Macho” Harris made two big plays for the Tech defense. He returned an interception 72 yards for a touchdown to put Tech up 29-13, and on the very next drive he had another interception to seal the victory.
The Hokies recorded two sacks on the day, with Booker, Carlton Powell, Noland Burchette and Orion Martin each recording half a sack.
Overall, it was a game of two halves for the Hokies, who recorded 227 of their 333 total offensive yards in the second half.
Cincinnati threatened the Hokies on their very first drive of the game. Quarterback Dustin Grutza hooked up with wideout Derrick Stewart on a 51 yard gain on third down to the Virginia Tech 19 yard line. Two plays later Grutz found Conner Barwin for a 13 yard gain to the Tech 5 yard line, but Brandon Flowers came up from his cornerback position and forced the fumble, which Noland Burchette recovered.
After the turnover, the Hokies drove to the Bearcat 39 yard line but could not convert, and Nick Schmitt was forced to punt. Cincinnati went three and out, and with the ball on their own 11 yard line, was forced to punt, but BeamerBall struck again. Josh Morgan broke through the line and blocked the punt out of the end zone for a safety, putting the Hokies up 2-0 with 4:54 remaining in the first quarter.
Cincinnati then kicked off from their own 20 yard line, and Eddie Royal’s nine yard return started the Hokies on offense from their own 36 yard line. Tech immediately started going backwards. A reverse by Eddie Royal was stopped for a five yard loss, and a Sean Glennon pass intended for Josh Hyman was incomplete. Two consecutive penalties, an illegal substitution and a false start, made it third and 25 from their own 21 yard line.
Facing third and long, Glennon dropped back and fired a pass up the seam to Eddie Royal, who beat a Cincinnati defender to the ball for a 44 yard completion to the Bearcat 35 yard line. The Hokies drove all the way to the 20 yard line before the drive stalled, and Brandon Pace connected on a 37 yard field goal to make the score 5-0 Virginia Tech 1:09 left in the first quarter.
In the second quarter, Cincinnati finally got on the scoreboard. The key play of the drive came from Bearcat tailback Butler Benton, who broke off a 40 yard run through the middle of the Hokie defense to the Tech 16 yard line. They drove the ball to the Tech one yard line before Greg Moore punched it in to put Cincinnati up 7-5 with 3:15 left in the second quarter.
The Hokies began their next drive from their own 21 yard line, but Sean Glennon was intercepted by Cincinnati’s Dominic Ross. Ross returned the interception to the 21 yard line, but the Bearcats could only manage a field goal to go up 10-5 with 58 seconds remaining before halftime. Tech couldn’t get anything going on their final drive of the half, and the 27-point favorite Hokies found themselves trailing by five at halftime.
The Hokies got back on top in the first drive of the third quarter. After driving to the Cincinnati 47 yard line and facing second and six, Glennon dropped back and fired a deep pass to the right to Justin Harper, who made a leaping catch at the goal line to come down with the 47 yard touchdown reception. The Brandon Pace extra point made the score 12-10 Virginia Tech with 13:24 left in the third quarter.
Cincinnati would go back up on their next drive as they embarked on a 15 play drive that covered 52 yards and took 8:45 off the clock. The Tech defense bent, but did not break, and surrendered a 46 yard field goal to Kevin Lovell. The field goal put the Bearcats back up 13-12 with 4:39 left in the third quarter. Cincinnati completed just two passes on the drive, but one was a key 31 yard completion to tight end Brent Celek on third down.
The Hokies finally began to get Branden Ore involved on their next possession. To this point Ore had just 21 yards on eight carries, but on this drive alone he had seven carries for 62 yards. Ore broke off runs of 24, 6, 6, 7 and 14 during the drive. He led the Hokies all the way to the Cincinnati four yard line, but the Hokies couldn’t punch it in, and Brandon Pace’s 21 yard field goal made the score 15-13 Virginia Tech with 14:51 left in the game.
The Tech defense forced Cincinnati to go three and out on their next possession, and the offense got the ball back at their own 26 yard line. On third and 11, Glennon threw deep to Eddie Royal. The pass was incomplete, but the Bearcats were flagged for defense holding, which gave the Hokies a first down at their own 35 yard line.
At that point, Tech gave the ball to Branden Ore six straight times, and Ore delivered. He broke off a 46 yard run to the Cincinnati 10 yard line, and three plays later he scored on a one yard touchdown run. Pace’s extra point made the score 22-13 with 8:30 left in the game, and the Hokies were in control.
After Cincinnati punted, the Hokies attempted to run out the clock, but after Branden Ore found a hole for a 15 yard gain, the Bearcat defense managed to strip the ball from him, and the defense recovered at the Tech 43 yard line.
However the Hokies’ defense would bail them out. Six plays into the drive, Tech cornerback Macho Harris stepped in front of a Grutza pass and returned it 72 yards for a touchdown, and the Hokies led 29-13 with 2:01 left in the game. Harris recorded another interception on Cincinnati’s next drive, effectively ending the game.
The Hokies return to action next Saturday when they host the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets in their toughest test to date. Kickoff is scheduled for 3:30, and the game will be televised by ABC.
STATISTICS VT CIN ---- ---- First downs 15 12 Rushed-yards 33-145 38-121 Passing yards 188 159 Sacked-yards lost 3-25 2-14 Return yards 84 46 Passes 11-23-1 14-20-2 Punts 3-39.0 5-30.2 Fumbles-lost 1-1 2-1 Penalties-yards 7-52 9-75 Time of possession 25:54 34:06 Att: 66,233 INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS RUSHING-Virginia Tech, Ore 25-170, E.Lewis 1-2, Team 1-(-1), Royal 1-(-5) Glennon 5-(-21). CIN, Benton 9-52, Moore 16-48 Waugh 1-7, Grutza 7-5, Jones 1-3, McKenzie 1-3 Glatthaar, 3-3 PASSING-Virginia Tech, Glennon 11-23-188-1. CIN, Grutza 14-20-159-2 RECEIVING-Virginia Tech, Morgan 4-27, Harper 2-64, Hyman 2-10, Royal 1-44, Ore 1-34 Boone 1-9. CIN, Celek 3-45, Barwin 3-36 Moore 3-16, Goodman 2-9, Glatthar 2-2 Stewart 1-51.