BLACKSBURG, Va. -- Frank Beamer said there was never any
question that he belonged on the Virginia Tech sidelines on the day
his mother died, and Herma Beamer made sure he knew it almost two
"We weren't sure she was going to make it through the night
before the North Carolina game, and I went by to see her in the
hospital," Beamer said, recalling the No. 15 Hokies' game in Chapel
Hill, N.C., on Nov. 6.
"Then when I left, she told my brother and sisters that if
anything happened to her, to make sure to tell me to coach in that
North Carolina game and to win the ballgame. That kind of tells you
about my mom."
Mrs. Beamer, 86, died in her sleep overnight in Fancy Gap, Va.,
and Beamer and the Hokies did her proud Thursday night by thumping
Maryland 55-6 and moving closer to a berth in the Bowl Championship
"I appreciate their efforts," Beamer said of his ACC-leading
Hokies (8-2, 5-1 ACC), who won their sixth game in a row. "They
presented me and my mom with a game ball back there. I feel good
about what they did tonight."
Bryan Randall ran for one touchdown and threw for two more, and
the defense forced four first-half turnovers Randall and Co. turned
into 24 points. They led 41-3 by halftime, 55-3 entering the fourth
They did it, Randall said, for their coach and his mom.
"It was special for him to be out here coaching us in a time
like this," Randall said, "We just wanted to make it special for
him and get him a win."
The Hokies, alone in first place in the ACC, remained in control
of their BCS bid with a home game against No. 18 Virginia nine days
away and then a finale at Miami (No. 13 ESPN/USA Today; No. 12 AP), their longtime Big East
rival, on Dec. 4.
And they did it with a vintage display of playmaking defense and
opportunistic offense, getting their points with just 376 total
yards. But the Hokies outrushed the Terps 239-56.
"You don't expect to get wins like that this late in the
season," Randall said, agreeing that 65,115 fans whipped into a
frenzy make Lane Stadium a very difficult place for a team with a
young quarterback. "If it's your first time coming into Lane
Stadium, you can get a little rattled.
"It seemed like things started going downhill. The defense did
a great job forcing turnovers and giving us a short field."
The Hokies led 14-0 after just four minutes, turning an
interception of sophomore quarterback Joel Statham into a 29-yard
drive and a fumble recovery into a 17-yard drive.
Mike Imoh scored both, then left with a strained left hamstring.
But it hardly mattered. Jimmy Williams returned an interception 34
yards for a touchdown, Justin Hamilton scored on a 5-yard run and
it looked easy.
Things never got better for the Terrapins (4-6, 2-5), whose
hopes of winning their last two games to qualify for a bowl were
gone by halftime.
"Obviously, I'm not reaching these kids," coach Ralph Friedgen
said. "I just have to sit back and re-evaluate everything. I can
tell you what -- I'm not very good at this.
"You won't see me around here a whole long time if we do this a
whole lot. They won't have to fire me. I'll quit."
The trouble started right away for the Terps and Statham. On
Maryland's first series, his third pass was intercepted by James
Griffin and returned 11 yards to the Maryland 29. Five runs by Imoh
-- the first for 21 yards, the last a 1-yard dive -- made it 7-0.
After a false start to begin the next series, Statham connected
with Derrick Fenner, who was quickly stripped by James Anderson,
and Mikal Baaqee recovered for the Hokies at the 17. Three plays
later, Imoh ran it in from the 6, hurt his hamstring and watched
the rest of the rout.
Randall threw touchdown passes of 35 yards to Jeff King and 15
yards to Jared Mazzetta, and Brandon Pace added field goals of 27
and 34 yards.
Virginia Tech's only setback since a season-opening 24-13 defeat
against top-ranked Southern California came when Pace missed a
43-yard field goal on the last play of a 17-16 loss to North
But after a series of close games decided in the fourth quarter,
Randall was happy to yield the quarterbacking duties late and
"I'll take a victory like this any day," he said. "We got the
momentum early, it stayed with us and they were on their heels the
This was the second consecutive humbling loss in Virginia since
Maryland stunned Florida State 20-17 almost three weeks ago.