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Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Virginia Tech season review

By ESPN.com staff
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

Despite one of the worst offenses in the country -- again -- the Hokies won the ACC title -- again. Virginia Tech beat Boston College for the second straight year in the ACC championship game, earning the program its third conference title in five seasons. It was quite an accomplishment, considering Frank Beamer couldn't remember having less experience at the offensive skill positions, and there were nine season-ending injuries. Beamer's decision to start Tyrod Taylor over Sean Glennon got mixed reviews, but it turned out to be the right move, as Taylor was able to add a spark to an otherwise dormant offense.

The ACC title was a testament to the coaching staff and a stifling defense that was able to overcome the loss of seven starters. The Hokies rank seventh in the nation in total defense, and the coaching staff kept the team together in spite of mounting criticism and after three road losses to Boston College, Florida State and Miami. For the second straight season, the Hokies had to beat rival Virginia to win the Coastal Division, and they did, a 17-14 win during which some of the younger receivers started to make significant strides. Despite Virginia Tech's offense ranking 107th in the nation in total offense, Beamer said he doesn't plan on making any staff changes.

Offensive MVP: Tailback Darren Evans. He rushed for 1,112 yards and 10 touchdowns -- the most rushing yards by a Tech freshman -- and got better as the season progressed. Evans averaged 118.6 yards over his past five games and is the third-leading rusher in the ACC.

Defensive MVP: Cornerback Victor "Macho" Harris. Beamer got the most out of Harris, who lined up at wide receiver, cornerback, and was also a punt returner. He leads the team with six interceptions, including one he returned 23 yards for a touchdown in the fourth quarter of a critical 14-3 win over Duke.

Turning point: Darren Evans' record-setting performance in a 23-13 win over Maryland prevented back-to-back losses from snowballing, and gave the Hokies the offensive confidence they needed without injured quarterback Tyrod Taylor in the lineup. Evans ran for 253 yards against the Terps.

What's next: The pressure is on for Beamer to represent in the Orange Bowl, and he's been given a second chance to do it. The ACC is desperate to end its streak of eight losses in BCS bowls. If the Hokies win, it will be the fifth straight 10-win season for the program.