CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP)-Sean Glennon threw for 260 yards and the other half of Virginia Tech’s quarterback rotation, Tyrod Taylor, ran for two touchdowns, as the No. 8 Hokies won the biggest game in the history of its rivalry with Virginia 33-21 on Saturday to advance to the ACC championship game.
The Hokies (10-2, 7-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) also got a season-high 147 yards rushing from Branden Ore and six catches for 147 yards and a touchdown from Eddie Royal. They won their fourth straight in the series and eighth in the last nine meetings.
The victory earned Virginia Tech a rematch with No. 15 Boston College in next Saturday’s conference title game in Jacksonville, Fla. The Eagles rallied with two touchdowns in the final 2:11 to stun the Hokies 14-10 in Blacksburg on Oct. 25.
No. 16 Virginia (9-3, 6-2) led late in the second quarter before an interception by Brandon Flowers with 40 seconds to go turned into a three-play, 65-yard touchdown drive that left the crowd of 61,711 stunned. Up 20-14, the Hokies never trailed again.
Taylor scored on runs of 9 and 5 yards, the second with 11:50 remaining to give Virginia Tech a 30-21 lead. After Virginia was forced to punt, the Hokies drove to the Cavaliers 9-yard line, and Jud Dunlevy’s fourth field goal completed the scoring.
Dunlevy also kicked a 29-yarder early in the second half to make it 23-14, capping a short drive set up when Davon Morgan blocked Ryan Weigand’s punt from the Cavaliers 38.
The stakes had never been so high in the previous 88 meetings between the teams. Late in the third quarter, Virginia seemed poised to make it go down to the wire.
Lombardi Award finalist Chris Long, quiet up to that point, sacked Taylor at the Hokies 28. The freshman fumbled, and Antonio Appleby recovered for the Cavaliers.
Jameel Sewell, who ran for two touchdowns, kept the ensuing drive alive with a 17-yard pass to a diving Jonathan Stupar on third-and-12 from the 19. He then ran it in on the next play to pull Virginia within 23-21 and fire up the home crowd. But the Cavaliers never got any closer
After an exchange of punts, the Hokies struck again.
Glennon hit Josh Morgan for 25 yards, and Ore went off left tackle for 25 more, putting the ball at the Cavaliers 16. Five plays later, Taylor replaced Glennon at quarterback and took off on a delay for the left corner of the end zone.
The Cavaliers appeared to have momentum late in the first half, leading 14-13 and driving into Virginia Tech territory. Then Flowers intercepted Sewell.
Glennon completed a pass to Josh Morgan for 26 yards on the next play, moving the ball to the Cavaliers 39. After an incompletion, he hit Royal in stride deep in Virginia territory. Royal silenced the crowd by beating a tackle and taking it into the end zone.
Virginia Tech scored on its first two possessions on a 9-yard run from Taylor and a 20-yard field goal by Dunlevy before Virginia got anything going.
Consecutive completions for 22 yards by Sewell finally got the Cavaliers into Hokies territory, and Mikell Simpson broke off a 27-yard TD run to make it 10-7.
Glennon’s 56-yard pass to Royal set up another field goal by Dunlevy from 37 yards. The Cavaliers went three-and-out before a trick play backfired for Virginia Tech.
On second-and-3 from the Virginia 45, Royal took a lateral from Taylor and had tight end Greg Boone open deep downfield. But his pass was intercepted by Chris Cook. Seven plays later, Sewell ran it in from the 7.
The Hokies didn’t get another first down until the big one just before halftime.