Big second-half by Ore leads Virginia Tech over CincySep 23, 2006 - 7:31 PM BLACKSBURG, Virginia (Ticker) -- After a rough first half, Branden Ore put No. 11 Virginia Tech on his back.
Ore ran for 170 yards and a touchdown as the Hokies overcame a sluggish opening half with a 29-13 victory over Cincinnati.
In the first meeting between the schools in 11 years, the Bearcats (1-3) appeared to be the more motivated club in the first half, holding the Hokies to minus-eight rushing yards en route to taking a 10-5 lead.
The early lead for Cincinnati was a quite a surprise as Virginia Tech had allowed a total of just 10 points in its opening three games. It was also the first time the Hokies trailed at the half against an unranked opponent since at Georgia Tech, 17-7, in 2004.
"I give Cincinnati credit," Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer said. "They made it a tough football game. They ran the ball a little bit on us there, and they've got a good defense."
However, Virginia Tech (4-0) responded after the break as Ore rushed 18 times for 152 yards.
"I didn't think anyone lost their poise in the second half," Beamer said. "I'm proud of that offensive line, they opened up a few holes that allowed Branden Ore to make a couple of terrific runs."
Managing just a safety and a field goal in the first 24 minutes, the Hokies opened the second half with a five-play, 70-yard drive that was capped by a 47-yard touchdown pass from Sean Glennon to Justin Harper.
Although Cincinnati came right back to reclaim the lead at 13-12 on a 45-yard field goal by Kevin Lovell, Virginia Tech responded with Ore, who ripped off a 23-yard run on the second play of the next drive and had 62 yards on seven attempts to set up a 21-yard field goal for Brandon Pace.
Ore extended the lead to 22-13 with 8:40 remaining on a one-yard TD plunge. The redshirt sophomore also had a 71-yard touchdown run called back due to a holding penalty.
A late fumble by Ore with 3:26 left gave the Bearcats a chance to rally but cornerback Victor "Macho" Harris broke up a slant route with a interception that went 72 yards for a touchdown. The sophomore added another interception in the final minute.
"Well, we were hanging on," Beamer said about Harris' interception. "But then Macho settled the whole thing in one play. It shows his ability, coming back and sealing the game for us."
In all, the Hokies scored 17 unanswered points in the fourth quarter.
"We got tired on defense in the fourth quarter and missed tackles," Cincinnati coach Mark Dantonio said. "It was very much the same at Ohio State (last week). Give Ore credit, he made some nice runs."
Glennon completed 11-of-23 attempts for 188 yards and an interception.
Virginia Tech opened the scoring in interesting fashion as Josh Morgan blocked a punt with 5:10 left in the first quarter that bounced out of the end zone for a safety. Pace added 37-yard field goal four minutes later for a 5-0 advantage.
It was the sixth consecutive game against Cincinnati in which Virginia Tech blocked at least one kick. In the last meeting in 1995, the Hokies stuffed a field-goal attempt.
"We needed to play sound on special teams and make a play and they actually blocked (that) one punt," Dantonio said. "Thank goodness it only resulted in two points."
Despite Ore's stellar day, Cincinnati also had a solid rushing performance against a very tough Virginia Tech defense. Believing a strong running attack would spearhead victory, the Bearcats racked up 121 yards on 38 rushes.
"We came here ready to play and thought the formula for success was to outrush them," Dantonio said. "Their record when they've been outrushed is something like 16-58. So that was our formula for success and we were ready to go."
Greg Moore had 52 yards, including a one-yard touchdown in the second quarter, on 16 rushes and Butler Benton added 54 on nine attempts.
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