ACC: Blacksburg 0811

Virginia Tech's Evans proves doubters wrong

November, 7, 2008
11/07/08
1:57
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

BLACKSBURG, Va. -- Virginia Tech tailback Darren Evans had heard the doubters from the time he was in high school to the days leading up to Thursday night's game against Maryland.

 
 AP Photo/Don Petersen
 Darren Evans rushed for a school-record 253 yards Thursday night.

There were legitimate reasons, though, for the wavering confidence. Not only had Evans not had a 100-yard rushing performance this season, but the entire offense wasn't even able to hit that mark in its last game at Florida State.

Evans single-handedly changed that on Thursday night when he ran for a school-record 253 yards and a touchdown in the Hokies' critical 23-13 win over Maryland.

"I know a lot of people back home never thought I would be this way, or come this far," said Evans, a redshirt freshman. "I've even heard people talking about turning me into a quarterback when I got to college, that I was too big or too slow. I don't have that Noel Devine-type speed, but I do think I'm a good running back. It was big to come out and have a good game on Thursday night at our home when we needed it most."

It was a validating performance not just for Evans, who carried the ball 32 times, but for an offense in dire need of a spark. Evans and backup Josh Oglesby combined to average 64 yards per game and had no touchdowns in losses to Boston College and Florida State.

This time, though, the holes were big enough for an elephant to go through. The offensive line blocked. The receivers blocked. Tight end Greg Boone blocked. And Evans ran and ran.

He called it "beautiful."

"This game really put my head above the water," he said. "It really showed me I belong out here."

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Maryland not looking like an ACC champ; VT one step closer

November, 7, 2008
11/07/08
12:50
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

BLACKSBURG, Va. -- Virginia Tech avoided a third loss that would have been devastating to its hopes of playing for the ACC title, and Maryland flopped when it had a chance to make a statement that it was indeed a legitimate contender on the Atlantic Division side.

The Terps are now behind Florida State in the Atlantic Division standings, but the two teams still have to meet in a game that could decide the division on Nov. 22.

Right now, though, Florida State looks like the best team in the division, regardless of who has beaten whom.

The Terps allowed 273 rushing yards -- a school-record 253 of which came from Darren Evans. Meanwhile, Maryland was held to an embarrassing minus-12 yards, the lowest ever under coach Ralph Friedgen.

"There were a few plays there where the red sea just parted," quarterback Sean Glennon said.

"We made that a real point this week," Friedgen said of stopping the run. "I figured that's what they were going to do. I talked to our players the whole two weeks about stopping the run and what we had to do to stop the run. Last thing I talked to them today was about stopping the run, and we didn't do it. That's a credit to Virginia Tech. They just ran the ball right down our throats."

And Florida State is more than capable of doing the same thing.

Déjà vu for Virginia Tech's Glennon

November, 7, 2008
11/07/08
12:36
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

BLACKSBURG, Va. -- Virginia Tech quarterback Sean Glennon is a believer in fate. After all, his has turned out pretty well despite being demoted -- twice -- in favor of the Hokies' more mobile quarterback, Tyrod Taylor.

 
 AP Photo/Don Petersen
 Sean Glennon threw for 127 yards and a touchdown Thursday night.

But when it comes to the everything-happens-for-a-reason cliché, Glennon has been at a loss to explain why, twice, he has had to earn his starting job back.

"Sometimes you can't see the reason, and trust me, I did not see this reason," said Glennon, who replaced the injured Taylor and helped lead the Hokies to a critical 23-13 win over the Terps on Thursday night. "I was like 'come on, we've already been through this once. Why are you doing it again?'

"As much as I may have complained about it, or didn't like it, in the back of my mind I had to keep that faith this is happening for a reason. I don't know what it is, but it's happening for a reason. I don't know what's going to happen in the coming weeks, but maybe it's the start of why it happened."

Or maybe, Glennon was just the healthiest option on a night the Hokies were in dire need of a healthy quarterback. Nothing, he knows, is ever a guarantee. Regardless, Glennon was given a second chance to prove himself. Again. And for the second straight season, he proved he's good enough to win.

It's déjà vu of his 2007 season, right down to the ankle injury to Taylor.

Glennon was angry, mad, "whatever you want to call it" when he was benched in early September 2007 in favor of Taylor. For the past two seasons, the staff had intended to redshirt Taylor, but last year he started five games until he injured his ankle at Duke. Glennon got his chance at redemption and played well enough that it forced the staff to use the two-quarterback system -- something it wanted to avoid if possible this year.

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Final: Virginia Tech 23, Maryland 13

November, 6, 2008
11/06/08
10:55
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

BLACKSBURG, Va. -- Virginia Tech got more than it needed from Darren Evans to keep it in the hunt for a second straight ACC title, and Maryland ... well, the Terps had minus-12 rushing yards.

Maryland is still leading the Atlantic Division, but will have a hard time staying there if it continues to play like it did tonight.

Heading down to the locker rooms now. Check back later.

3Q update: Virginia Tech 20, Maryland 13

November, 6, 2008
11/06/08
10:14
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer practically built his reputation on special teams, and this year it's been a liability. This game has changed because Maryland caught a few breaks because of a blocked punt and a fumble on a punt -- not to mention a critical unsportsmanlike conduct penalty that led to the Terps' only touchdown of the game so far.

Regardless of Maryland's struggles on both sides of the ball, the momentum shifted in its favor in the third quarter. And somehow, despite an embarrassing minus-14 yards rushing in the game, the Terps are only trailing by a touchdown.

Halftime update: Virginia Tech 17, Maryland 3

November, 6, 2008
11/06/08
9:11
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

Virginia Tech has turned the page in its playbook, and in turn has found some offense.
Offensive coordinator Bryan Stinespring has revealed a few wrinkles. They're using tight end Greg Boone a bit at quarterback and a lot at tight end, getting some plays at receiver out of cornerback Macho Harris, and running the ball efficiently with Darren Evans. It seems like everyone on Virginia Tech's offense is getting a piece of the action, and that just might be the answer to a young team lacking a superstar or go-to player.

Some of the credit, though, has to be given to Maryland's bend-but-don't break defense, which looks broken. It can't match the Hokies' speed when a player gets out in space. Maryland's defense has been like a giant rubber ball Evans is just bouncing off of instead of wrapping him up. Evans was hobbling around on the sideline, but a school spokesman said he's OK.

The Hokies' young players -- particularly Dyrell Roberts -- are making plays tonight. The one thing that's not a surprise in this game is the fact Virginia Tech defensive coordinator Bud Foster has his defense jacked up.

Maryland came in with the intent of making Virginia Tech one-dimensional and that's more of what the Hokies have done to the Terps. Maryland can't run the ball against these guys, and it's taking away from the passing game.

Maryland started to get more production out of its running game with Davin Meggett instead of Da'Rel Scott, but the offense still stalled.

The Terps are getting outplayed and outcoached.

Maryland might lead the Atlantic Division standings right now, but it's certainly not playing like it deserves to be there. And if it keeps this up, it won't.

1Q update: Virginia Tech 7, Maryland 0

November, 6, 2008
11/06/08
8:21
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

BLACKSBURG, Va. -- Well, the quarterback mystery is over. Sean Glennon has been running the offense and he's been doing it effectively. If he keeps it up, this might be the ACC's feel-good story of the year. Quarterback benched, quarterback comeback.

Virginia Tech has been running the ball well and did a good job of getting its tight end involved. In order to keep this lead, the defense can't give up the big plays, something Frank Beamer had preached all week.

While Maryland's first drive was halted, it is still getting away with things like a 26-yard pass on third down. The Hokies have done a good job of containing ACC leading rusher Da'Rel Scott.

Greetings from Blacksburg: Keys to the game

November, 6, 2008
11/06/08
5:49
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

BLACKSBURG, Va. -- Hello from Lane Stadium, where it is an unseasonably warm day and the weather feels just about perfect. There are 18 NFL scouts representing 14 different teams and eight bowl scouts with five different bowls here. The Hokies will wear their all-maroon unis for the first time since last year's game against Florida State. No doubt Bud Foster will have his defense jacked up, but can they overcome the experience of the Terps? Here are some keys to tonight's game:

THREE KEYS FOR VIRGINIA TECH
• Find consistent quarterback play and protect him, whoever that is. Word from within the program is that Sean Glennon and Cory Holt are the healthiest options right now, but all three, including Tyrod Taylor, will dress and can play.
• Limit big plays. Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer noted Darrius Heyward-Bey's 76-yard reverse against Clemson. ACC leading rusher Da'Rel Scott is also expected to play. The Hokies' defense has allowed 34 plays of 20 yards or longer this season.
• Get back to Beamerball. With the offense obviously struggling, the Hokies need to win the battle on special teams, get good field position, and win like they usually do, with defense.

THREE KEYS FOR MARYLAND
• Give Chris Turner time to throw. He's accurate when he has time to be. Turner is No. 2 in the league in pass efficiency and has been a different quarterback since he threw three interceptions at Middle Tennessee. He has eight touchdowns and six interceptions this season.
• Stop the run. Virginia Tech's rushing offense has steadily declined since the Nebraska game, and it's been the Hokies' priority this week to get it back. Maryland, though, knows it's the foundation of Virginia Tech's offense.
• Create turnovers. Virginia Tech just doesn't give it away. The Hokies are No. 2 in the league in turnover margin (+10), but the Terps have put an emphasis on putting a dent in that at practice this week. It's one way to overcome the intangibles of play in Lane Stadium on a Thursday night.

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Friday, 12/26
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