Virginia Tech survives Terps' tough first-half test

COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) -- They raced to the locker room at
halftime, their helmets held high and spirits soaring after a solid
performance against No. 3 Virginia Tech.

Despite trailing 7-3, the Maryland Terrapins sensed an upset was
in the making.

Marcus Vick wouldn't let it happen.

The redshirt junior quarterback accounted for 344 yards of
offense, including a career-high 133 rushing, and the unbeaten
Hokies pulled away in the second half to a 28-9 victory Thursday

"I feel fortunate getting out of here with the win. I really
thought our guys hung in there," Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer
said. "The play wasn't always pretty."

The Hokies (7-0, 4-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) committed four
turnovers, but scored 21 straight points after halftime to keep
alive their hope of playing for the national championship in

The Terrapins (4-3, 2-2) came in with a three-game winning
streak and designs of avenging a 55-6 defeat to the Hokies last
November. It seemed possible until Maryland finally got tired of
chasing the elusive Vick.

"Our defense was on the field too long, and they began to wear
down as the game went on," Terrapins coach Ralph Friedgen said.

Although Vick threw a career-high three interceptions -- all in
the third quarter -- the little brother of Atlanta Falcons star
Michael Vick averaged 8.3 yards per carry and completed 14 of 23
passes for 211 yards.

"I think what you have is a dynamic quarterback that has the
ability to beat you running or beat you throwing," Beamer said.
"Pretty good guy. Pretty good quarterback."

After Vick's third interception, Beamer didn't scold him.
Instead, he said, "You're going to win this for us."

Vick's 8-yard touchdown run in the second quarter made it 7-0,
and he directed scoring drives of 81, 99 and 37 yards in the second

That was more than enough support for a defense that forced two
turnovers and kept the Terrapins out of the end zone until Sam
Hollenbach threw a 10-yard touchdown pass to Derrick Fenner with
2:16 to go.

Hollenbach was 14-of-30 for 158 yards and two interceptions, and
Lance Ball had 75 yards rushing on 15 attempts.

The Terrapins wore their alternate black jerseys for the second
time this season, hoping for the same result as the last time: a
45-33 victory over Virginia on Oct. 1.

The ploy didn't work, yet Maryland could take solace in putting
forth a decent performance in front of a national television
audience and a crowd of 54,838, the second-largest in school

"I think we played hard and had the opportunities, but we
didn't take advantage of them," Friedgen said.

The Hokies scored on their first possession of the third quarter
to take a 14-3 lead. A 38-yard run by Vick got Tech to the Maryland
31, and five plays later Mike Imoh scored from the 2.

"I was really big. It set the tempo for the second half," Vick
said. "It quieted the crowd down and just got our guys going."

After the Terrapins failed to capitalize on Vick's third
interception, a punt left Virginia Tech on its own 1. Ten plays
later, Imoh ran in from the 10 to make it 21-3 with 10:45 left.

Branden Ore added a 4-yard TD run with 6:47 to go.

The Terrapins trailed 7-3 at halftime, but their emotional
charge off the field probably had a lot to do with the fact they
were down 41-3 at intermission in last year's game.

The Hokies ran only 11 plays and had minus-2 yards rushing
during a scoreless first period, the only quarter this season in
which Virginia Tech has failed to score.

Vick finally Tech moving on its third possession. He began an
80-yard drive with an 18-yard completion to David Clowney, then
added four runs for 43 yards, including a sprint around right end
for a touchdown.

The next time Tech got the ball, Vick completed a 48-yard pass
to Clowney to set up a first-and-goal at the 7. On fourth down from
the 1, Imoh lost possession of the ball while trying to dive over
the top and Maryland recovered -- the first time this season the
Hokies lost a fumble.

The Terrapins then moved 73 yards in 13 plays before Dan Ennis
kicked a 38-yard field goal.

That left Vick three minutes to score. With the clock running
down and Tech out of timeouts, a 20-yard field goal try by Brandon
Pace bounced off the left upright.

"The whole team went into the locker room at halftime really
upset," Clowney said. "It was a terrible performance."

Led by Vick, the Hokies made up for it the second half,
outgaining Maryland 275 yards to 96.