Monday, December 08, 2008
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Va. Tech beats BC, wins 2nd straight ACC title

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[December 08, 2008]  TAMPA, Fla. (AP) -- Dangle the Atlantic Coast Conference title in front of Virginia Tech and the Hokies will find a way to grab it.

Tyrod Taylor scored two first-half touchdowns and Darren Evans ran for 114 yards and one TD in less than half-full Raymond James Stadium on Saturday, helping Virginia Tech become the first two-time winner of the ACC championship game with a 30-12 victory over No. 18 Boston College.

InsuranceThe Hokies (9-4), who have won three titles since leaving the Big East for the ACC in 2004, also beat Eagles (9-4) for last year's crown and earned their second consecutive trip to the Orange Bowl.

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 became the sixth player in league history to rush for over 1,000 yards as a freshman, 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.

"Obviously, we're never going to be satisfied until we get this game sold out," Kelly said, adding that ticket sales was affected by the economy and the fact neither school clinched a spot in the game until last week.

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.

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Davis threw a 16-yard TD pass to Rich Gunnell in the second quarter, but was intercepted 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.

[Associated Press; By FRED GOODALL]

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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