No. 15 Virginia Tech clobbers Maryland

Posted: Friday, November 19, 2004

BLACKSBURG, Va. Bryan Randall threw two touchdown passes and ran for another score Thursday night, helping Virginia Tech move closer to a Bowl Championship Series game with a 55-6 rout of Maryland.

One night after his mother died, coach Frank Beamer guided the No. 15 Hokies to their sixth consecutive victory, keeping them alone in first place in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

Jimmy Williams returned an interception 34 yards for a touchdown, and Mike Imoh ran for two scores before leaving with a hamstring injury. Playing their first season in the ACC, Virginia Tech (8-2, 5-1) can wrap up the conference title and a lucrative BCS berth with wins against No. 18 Virginia and at No. 12 Miami.

The Hokies scored 24 points off four first-half turnovers and yielded little on defense. They turned an interception and a fumble recovery into touchdown drives of 29 and 17 yards to lead 14-0 after four minutes.

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, when they trailed 41-3.

Beamer said his 86-year-old mother, Herma, would have wanted him to coach Virginia Tech to a victory, so he joined his team on the sideline.

The Hokies made it look easy right from the start.

On Maryland's first series, Joel Statham's third pass was intercepted by James Griffin and returned 11 yards to the Terrapins 29. Imoh did the rest, carrying on five straight plays, the first a 21-yard run, the last a 1-yard touchdown dive on fourth-and-goal.

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 in from the 6.

He strained his left hamstring on the play, but wasn't needed again. Randall threw touchdown passes to Jeff King and Jared Mazzetta, and Justin Hamilton scored on a 5-yard run.

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 Carolina State.

For the Terrapins, this was the second consecutive humbling loss in Virginia since they stunned Florida State 20-17 almost three weeks ago. The Terps lost 16-0 at Virginia on Nov. 6.

Once again, quarterback play was a huge part of the problem as Statham and then Jordan Steffy seemed ill-equipped to handle the Hokies' defense.

Statham was lifted for the first series of the second quarter, after the Hokies went ahead 28-3. He returned in the third quarter after Steffy was hurt trying to tackle Anderson following an interception.

Sam Hollenbach played the fourth quarter at quarterback, guiding the Terps on a 33-yard drive to Nick Novak's second field goal.

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