Virginia Tech used a familiar script in its latest emasculation of the Wahoos Saturday. The Hokies used a punishing ground game, suffocating run defense and relentless pressure on the quarterback to win 38-0 and claim its eighth consecutive win over Virginia.
In beating UVa, Tech claimed its fifth ACC Coastal division championship in seven years and set up a rematch with Clemson in the ACC Championship Game at 8 p.m. EST Saturday, Dec. 3 in Charlotte on ESPN. The Hokies will have the chance to avenge their lone loss of the season and claim their fifth ACC title since joining the conference in 2004.
Virginia came into Saturday's game with hope and a fancy winning streak. It left reminded (as Bill Roth said) there is a lot more separating these two programs than two hours. Tech's offensive and defensive lines paved the way to another dominating win over our rivals.
On defense, the line used speed and agility to disrupt the UVa run game from the inside out and to pressure Michael Rocco from the outside in. Defensive tackles Luther Maddy and Derrick Hopkins were able to shed their blocks effectively and helped hold UVa's top three running backs to 39 yards on 16 carries (2.4 ypc).
After a slow start, defensive end James Gayle was in Rocco's face (and his ear) most of the game, recording two sacks. Tech was able to pressure Rocco to the tune of four sacks and two interceptions.
On offense, Tech's offensive line got rolling downhill in the second half after facing tough sledding the first. Tech averaged a hair over three yards per carry in the first half and 4.7 in the second. David Wilson finished with 153 yards, 6.4 ypc and two touchdowns.
Logan Thomas was given time to throw and was again solid and stable, throwing for 187 yards (61.9 pct, 8.9 ypa) and two touchdowns. UVa's pass rush was negligible, which was one of many deciding factors in this game. When you have two pro-style offenses like we saw today, the game comes down to which team can run the ball more effectively, which team can get more pressure on the other's quarterback and which team wins the turnover battle. When you dominate all three of those like the Hokies did today, you get results like the one you saw.
The one thing the Hokies need to improve upon from Saturday's game was its pass coverage, which was awful at times, especially in the middle of the field. UVa doesn't have the game-changers outside that the Hokies will see against Clemson. Many of those catches Tech gave up for big yards against the Hoos could go the distance next week in Charlotte.
But that's for next week. Today was a good day, Hokies. Enjoy it. Sticking it to the Hoos never gets old.
(PS - For those of you claiming Mike London refused to shake Frank Beamer's hand after the game, click here.)