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Virginia Tech downs 'Canes, clinches ACC title-game berth

Nov 21, 2010 - 4:33 AM Miami, FL (Sports Network) - Ryan Williams and Tyrod Taylor notched fourth- quarter touchdown runs as 14th-ranked Virginia Tech locked up a berth in the ACC title game with a 31-17 victory over 24th-ranked Miami-Florida.

Taylor finished with 94 yards passing and a touchdown, while Williams struck for 142 yards and a pair of rushing scores on 14 carries for the Hokies (9-2, 7-0 ACC), who clinched the Coastal Division with their ninth straight win and await their opponent from the Atlantic Division for the December 4 contest in Charlotte.

"To come down here and win when things didn't look great -- I think this is just a special group," said Hokies head coach Frank Beamer. 'They work hard and they support each other. It's really a neat feeling to be the head coach of a crowd like this."

Danny Coale posted four receptions for 83 yards and a touchdown, and Darren Evans added 73 yards on 14 attempts for Virginia Tech, which can become the first team in the conference to go unbeaten since Florida State in 2000 if it beats Virginia next Saturday.

Freshman Stephen Morris finished 15-of-33 for 202 yards and one touchdown, but threw three late and costly interceptions for the Hurricanes (7-4, 5-3), who had won two in a row.

Lamar Miller ran for a career-high 163 yards and a TD on 15 carries and Leonard Hankerson added six catches for 79 yards and a score for Miami- Florida, which lost despite piling up 464 yards of total offense.

Coale broke out on a crossing route, took a Taylor pass in stride over the middle and he raced 43 yards for a touchdown to give Virginia Tech a 17-10 edge with just over 5 1/2 minutes left in the third quarter.

However, Miami responded to tie on the ensuing possession when Miller rolled in from four yards out. It capped a four-play, 62 yard drive.

That didn't deter Williams, who outraced half the Hurricanes' secondary on an 84-yard jaunt to give the Hokies the lead once more, inside of two minutes played in the fourth.

Two Hurricanes series later, Jayron Hosley then picked off Morris and returned the ball to the Miami 25. Five plays in, Taylor eluded several tacklers for an 18-yard TD run on 2nd-and-15.

Davon Morgan followed with a pick on the next Hurricanes series with 5:18 remaining, and though the visitors failed to move the ball, Morris threw into the hands of Tariq Edwards with roughly 2 1/2 minutes left to seal the victory.

"We had opportunities and couldn't capitalize on it," Miami-Florida head coach Randy Shannon said. "So that's the nut of it. And that's the way the game went. The guys played hard. They were into it. But like anything, you can't turn the ball over against Virginia Tech."

The opening kickoff sailed out of bounds and the Hurricanes set up on their own 40. Eight plays later Hankerson eluded double coverage in the end zone and came down with a nine-yard TD reception.

Virginia Tech tied the game with 51 seconds left in the opening quarter as Williams broke free up the middle for a 14-yard score.

Matt Bosher's 34-yard field goal put the 'Canes ahead early in the second, but Chris Hazley drilled a 49-yarder to knot the score on the Hokies' next series.

Game Notes

For Virginia Tech, it will be the fourth berth in the ACC championship contest. The Hokies lost in 2005, and topped Boston College in both 2007 and 2008...VTech has won four of the last five meetings but the 'Canes still hold an 18-11 overall series edge...Tech wide receiver Marcus Davis left the game late in the first quarter after absorbing hard hits from several Miami defenders after making a catch...Hankerson's TD catch gave him 12 on the season, breaking Michael Irvin's previous mark of 11 back in 1986. He also became the fourth Hurricanes receiver to notch at least 900 yards in a season, joining Eddie Brown (1984), Wesley Carroll (1990) and Andre Johnson (2002).