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ACC championships becoming routine for Hokies

12/6/2008

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

Following Virginia Tech's 30-12 win over Boston College in the ACC championship game, offensive coordinator Bryan Stinespring found defensive coordinator Bud Foster on the sideline and practically jumped into his arms. They hugged each other like they were long lost brothers.

Or, like two coaches who had been through a trying season in a year during which player development was critical. For the first time all season, there was time to exhale.

"Without a doubt we feel good about what we did this year," Foster said. "We did a great coaching job. We're going to pat ourselves on the back right now because you had ... a lot of key players that you had to replace that were great football players that won two ACC championships and two Coastal Division championships. To see where we were and where we are now, I'm proud of our players, I'm proud to be associated with this staff. We kept fighting every week. We weren't pretty, but we did what we needed to do."

Both Boston College and Virginia Tech were entirely different teams than the ones that faced each other in the title game a year ago. The Eagles were without quarterback Matt Ryan, their leading rushers and several key starters on defense. The Hokies had to replace all of their top playmakers on both sides of the ball. While they looked different, the results were the same.

For the second straight season, the Hokies couldn't beat the Eagles during the regular season, but avenged the loss in the title game. Virginia Tech won the ACC title for the third time in five seasons and became the first program to win the ACC title game twice.

"I think the ACC has brought out the best in Virginia Tech," coach Frank Beamer said. "I know the ACC has been great for us, and I hope we have been good for the ACC."

As the clock expired, cornerbacks Davon Morgan and Victor "Macho" Harris found Beamer and gave him the obligatory Gatorade bath. Beamer soaked it up with a smile and raised both fists in the air in celebration and the Gatorade dripped off his nose. Considering all of the obstacles the Hokies faced in reaching the title game, this was might have been the most rewarding because it was the most difficult to achieve.

Of the 70 players Beamer brought to last year's ACC championship game, 37 Hokies played in their first ACC title game this season.

"It was a great feeling, we've had a lot of ups and downs this year," Beamer said. "We have a great family atmosphere. It started with the coaches and trickles down to the players. We played through it. We had injuries, suspensions. But we stayed together through it all. It just felt great standing up there."

It wasn't just the fact that the Hokies won, it was how convincing they looked in the process. Virginia Tech's game plan was to stop Boston College's running game and force inexperienced quarterback Dominique Davis to throw it. It worked.

"When they take something away, you have to be able to do something else," coach Jeff Jagodzinski said. "We just didn't throw it effectively good enough today."

Beamer said he doesn't care how the team wins.

"These guys find a way to win," he said. "Close, by a bunch. It was good to be able to breathe at the end of the game for a change."