1:00 PM ET, December 6, 2008
Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, FL
TAMPA, Fla. -- A pair of Virginia Tech fans in the South end zone seats held a sign above their heads, summing up the Hokies' jubilation and Boston College's disappointment.
"History Repeats Itself," the message began. "VT over BC when it counts."
Dinich: Old hat
Winning the ACC championship is becoming routine for Virginia Tech, which did it again on Saturday by punishing Boston College, writes Heather Dinich. Blog
It was the fourth meeting in the past 14 months between the one-time Big East rivals. BC (9-4) won during the regular season this year and last, but the Hokies (9-4) prevailed for the second straight time with league's BCS spot and a trip to the Orange Bowl on the line.
"That was real sweet," Evans said after becoming the sixth player in league history to rush for more than 1,000 yards as a freshman. "It would be good to get the regular-season games, but you can't be too greedy."
The Hokies are just that when it come to collecting ACC titles. They've won three in the five years they've been in the conference.
• Virginia Tech, 0-2 vs. Boston College in the regular season over the past two seasons, won its second straight ACC championship, improving to 2-0 against the Eagles in the ACC title game.
• Virginia Tech picked up its ninth win of the season, putting them closer to their fifth straight 10-win season.
• With the win, Virginia Tech receives the ACC's automatic bid to the Orange Bowl.
• Darren Evans topped the 100-yard mark for Virginia Tech. It was his third 100-yard game of the season, all of which have come in the last five games.
-- ESPN research
"We fell a little bit short, but it takes nothing away from what these guys accomplished this year," Jeff Jagodzinski, BC's second-year coach, said. "They kept battling. It didn't go our way."
Easily playing its most complete game of the season, Tech was dominant on offense and defense in avenging a 28-23 regular-season loss to BC, which won that meeting despite five turnovers.
Special teams contributed, too, with Dustin Keys kicking a 50-yard field goal -- longest in the title game's four-year history.
Evans set a record for individual rushing in an ACC title game, but also fumbled twice. His 10-yard TD burst, set up by Stephan Virgil's interception and 36-yard return, put the Hokies up 24-7 late in the third quarter.
"We came out with a lot of intensity, and we took advantage of our opportunities that they gave us," Evans said.
Michael Kelly, ACC associate commissioner for football operations, said 53,927 tickets were distributed for the game, played in Tampa for the first time after a three-year run in Jacksonville, Fla.
Dwindling attendance has been a concern ever since the inaugural title game between Virginia Tech and Florida State drew an announced 72,749 in 2005. The figures slipped to 62,850 for Georgia Tech and Wake Forest in 2006 and 53,212 for BC and Tech a year ago.
Although each school was allotted about 10,000 tickets for Saturday's rematch, the Eagles and Hokies reportedly combined to sell fewer than 5,000. And, with neither Florida State or Miami in the game, and Florida playing for the SEC championship on television later in the afternoon, there was little interest locally.
"It's just the way it is right now. ... Obviously, we're never going to be satisfied until we get this game sold out," Kelly said, adding that ticket sales were affected by the economy and the fact neither school clinched a spot in the game until last week.
The game will be played in Tampa again next year, then head to Charlotte in 2010.
BC overcame an early 10-point deficit to win the regular-season meeting. But that was with Chris Crane running the offense -- not Dominique Davis, the redshirt freshman who made his second start since Crane broke his right collarbone two weeks ago.
Davis threw a 16-yard TD pass to Rich Gunnell in the second quarter, but was picked off twice and had a fourth-quarter fumble returned for a touchdown.
The 19-year-old who grew up in Lakeland, about 30 miles east of Tampa, set up the Eagles' only TD with a screen pass that Montel Harris turned into a 51-yard gain to the Tech 15. Two plays later, he found Gunnell open in the right corner of the end zone to trim BC's deficit to 14-7 at the half.
Taylor, picked as the game's most valuable player, completed 11 of 19 passes for 84 yards and rushed for 11 times for 30 yards -- 80 fewer than he ran for in the regular-season meeting -- and scored on runs of 5 and 4 yards.
Evans carried 31 times and hiked his season rushing total to 1,112 yards. He and Josh Ogelsby were held to 40 yards on 23 carries the last time by a BC defense that limited opponents to just 57 yards per game rushing over the last five weeks of the season.
Davis was 17 of 43 for 263 yards. He was sacked five times, lost the fumble that Tech's Orion Martin returned 17 yards for a TD with nine minutes left. Gunnell had seven catches for 114 yards, but his longest reception -- a 37-yarder -- ended with him fumbling into the end zone and Tech recovering.
"It wasn't the game I thought it was going to be. It was totally opposite," Davis said, adding that the final score will stick with him for a while.
"I'm not going to have this feeling again. If we make it back, we're going to win. I'm not going to let my team down like this again."
Top 25 Overview
It was over when... Orion Martin returned a fumble 17 yards for a TD to seal it for the Hokies.
Gameball goes to... Darren Evans, who rushed for 114 yards and one TD to pace Virginia Tech.
Stat of the game... 35:58. The amount of game clock that the Hokies ate up while controlling the ball on offense.
Team Stat Comparison
|3rd Down Conversions||3-15||7-17|
|4th Down Conversions||0-2||0-1|
|TD||06:27||Tyrod Taylor 5 Yd Run (Dustin Keys Kick)||0||7|
|TD||11:08||Tyrod Taylor 4 Yd Run (Dustin Keys Kick)||0||14|
|TD||01:29||Rich Gunnell 16 Yd Pass From Dominique Davis (Steve Aponavicius Kick)||7||14|
|FG||06:07||Dustin Keys 50 Yd||7||17|
|TD||01:17||Darren Evans 10 Yd Run (Dustin Keys Kick)||7||24|
|FG||12:54||Steve Aponavicius 24 Yd||10||24|
|TD||09:05||Orion Martin 17 Yd Fumble Return (Pat Failed)||10||30|
|SF||02:58||Brent Bowden Ran Out Of End Zone||12||30|