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Virginia hands Georgia Tech first loss of season

Oct 16, 2011 - 12:46 AM Charlottesville, VA (Sports Network) - Virginia jumped off to a quick lead and never trailed as the Cavaliers hung on for a 24-21 upset win over the 12th- ranked Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets at Scott Stadium.

"I told them I was proud of them. I loved the effort. This is one of those wins that can change the perception of what you think about yourself. Last second play against Indiana. Last second play against Idaho. Overtime. This is one of those wins against a good team with a lot of accomplishments that you can try to turn the corner on about how you think about yourself, and how people view your program. There's a long season yet to play, but it's a great start to the second half of the season," Virginia coach Mike London said of the win.

Virginia (4-2, 1-1 ACC) took the final 5:58 off the clock on 14 plays. Perry Jones picked up a critical 3rd-and-6 with an 18-yard catch in the right flat with 3:18 to go. Kevin Parks then moved the chains with a six-yard run on a 3rd-and-1 as Georgia Tech was left with just one timeout with 1:54 remaining. Jones put the contest away with an 11-yard run on 2nd-and-9.

The Cavaliers rushed for 272 yards on 47 carries. Jones had 149 yards on 18 rushes while Parks added 86 yards and a score on 17 carries.

Michael Rocco was 8-of-14 for 118 yards with a touchdown and one interception. Tim Smith caught two balls for 45 yards, which included a 37-yard touchdown reception.

With its fourth win, Virginia has already matched its win total from a year ago.

Georgia Tech (6-1, 3-1) suffered its first loss of the season despite rushing for 272 yards.

Yellow Jackets quarterback Tevin Washington ran for 115 yards and a pair of scores on 26 carries, but was just 2-for-8 through the air for 24 yards and two interceptions.

Embry Peeples accumulated 37 yards on four carries, David Sims had 35 yards on 11 rushes and Orwin Smith added 24 yards on five carries.

The Cavaliers picked up three third downs on the opening possession of the game en route to their first score. Parks finished off the 12-play, 73-yard drive with a six-yard touchdown run.

After a 40-yard punt by the Yellow Jackets, Virginia took over in prime field position at Georgia Tech's 45-yard line. The Cavaliers made it 14-0 just two plays later when Rocco floated a pass down the left sideline and into the hands of Smith for a 37-yard score.

"They couldn't have scripted a better start - take the ball, run time off the clock. Then we get the ball and get two penalties in the first four plays. We made some bonehead plays," Georgia Tech head coach Paul Johnson said of Virginia's quick start.

A pair of blocked field goals followed. Georgia Tech's Justin Moore failed to elevate his 52-yard field goal attempt as his boot was engulfed at the line of scrimmage, while Robert Randolph's 32-yard try was tipped at the line as the ball sailed wide right.

Georgia Tech finally got on the board five minutes into the second quarter. Washington concluded the 11-play, 80-yard march with a seven-yard touchdown run up the middle.

The Yellow Jackets quickly evaporated the 14-0 hole when Rocco's pass was intercepted by Rod Sweeting three plays into their ensuing drive. Sweeting returned the pick 32 yards for the tying score. It was Rocco's ninth interception of the year, as opposed to just three touchdowns.

True freshman David Watford came on to relieve Rocco on Virginia's next possession. The Cavaliers concluded a 10-play, 72-yard touchdown drive when Clifton Richardson took a carry off the right side and scored from 22 yards out. All 72 yards were gained on the ground as Watford's two pass attempts fell incomplete.

Virginia got the ball back just three plays into Georgia Tech's ensuing drive when Minnifield intercepted Washington at the Virginia 40-yard line. With Rocco back on the field, the Cavaliers added a Randolph 36-yard field goal to take a 24-14 halftime lead.

A Stephen Hill block in the back penalty negated a 29-yard run by Washington on the first offensive play of the second half. Instead, the Yellow Jackets settled for a 19-play, 85-yard touchdown march which took 9:31 off the clock. Washington converted on three fourth downs, including a 23-yard run on a 4th- and-5, before he snuck in from a yard out to make it 24-21. Washington ran the ball 12 times for 61 yards on the drive.

After the Cavalier defense forced a third consecutive Georgia Tech punt, they took over at their own 23-yard line with 5:58 to go.

Game Notes

Both teams were efficient on third down. Georgia Tech was 6-for-14, while Virginia was 7-for-13...The Yellow Jackets ran 27 plays in the third quarter after running 27 total plays in the first half...Virginia's defense forced a three-and-out on Georgia Tech's first possession. It was the first time all season that the Yellow Jackets failed to score on their opening drive.