for this game

Virginia Tech avenges earlier loss, wins ACC title

Dec 2, 2007 - 12:00 AM JACKSONVILLE, Florida (Ticker) -- Like he did in October, Matt Ryan was trying to rally Boston College to another dramatic victory over Virginia Tech. But thanks to Hokies linebacker Vince Hall, this game had a different ending.

Hall intercepted Ryan's fourth-down pass deep in Virginia Tech territory with 2:25 remaining in the fourth quarter Saturday as the sixth-ranked Hokies held off No. 12 Boston College, 30-16, to capture the Atlantic Coast Conference championship.

"It was emotional," Hall said. "We knew it was going to be physical from the get-go."

Virginia Tech (11-2) avenged a 14-10 loss to Boston College on October 25, when the Hokies squandered a 10-0 lead in the final 2:11.

"I can't tell you how proud I am of our football team," Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer said. "The seniors (are) the winningest group to come through Virginia Tech."

Saturday's victory likely will send Virginia Tech to the Orange Bowl, although the Hokies began the day with remote national championship hopes.

At the end of the game, jubilant Virginia Tech fans tossed oranges on to the field.

"They (Virginia Tech defense) stopped BC when we needed to," Hokies quarterback Sean Glennon said. "It just said everything about our football team."

In their earlier meeting, Virginia Tech's defense dominated until Ryan engineered two late touchdown drives in a driving rainstorm.

The rematch was played under perfect conditions but for awhile, it appeared the ending could be eerily similar to the first game.

After Glennon threw his third touchdown - a 24-yard strike to Eddie Royal that gave the Hokies a 23-16 lead with 7:12 remaining - Ryan went to work.

He completed seven passes on the ensuing drive, including a 19-yarder to Kevin Challenger that gave the Eagles a first down at the Virginia Tech 19.

The Hokies' defense stiffened, however, forcing Boston College into a 4th-and-4 from the 13.

On the fourth-down play, Virginia Tech chased Ryan out of the pocket, and he was forced to attempt an off-balanced pass across his body. It floated into the hands of Hall, who fell to his knees at the 10-yard line.

"I made sure who is around me and behind me when he threw it up," Hall said. "I was going to be the person to that ball."

Boston College (10-3) forced a punt, but linebacker Xavier Abidi put the finishing touches on the victory by returning an interception 40 yards for a touchdown with 11 seconds left.

Glennon, often the target of criticism by Virginia Tech fans, was named the game's Most Valuable Player after completing 18-of-27 passes for 174 yards.

"It's been such an emotional rollercoaster this season," Glennon said. "To get the MVP shows how blessed I've been. A few months ago, I didn't think it would be (possible)."

While Ryan completed 33-of-52 passes for 305 yards, the difference for the Eagles was an inability to cash in several opportunities against Virginia Tech's bend-but-don't break defense.

On seven trips into Virginia Tech territory, Boston College scored only one offensive touchdown. In three trips in the red zone, the Eagles managed only a field goal.

"I think we had 49 snaps in the first half," Boston College coach Jeff Jagodzinski said. "We moved the ball. We just didn't get any points out of it."

Strong special teams play, long a staple for Virginia Tech under Beamer, also helped turn around the game after the Eagles dominated the first half and built a 16-7 lead.

Virginia Tech blocked a field goal and an extra point that the Hokies returned for two points.

The Eagles took a 7-0 lead when safety Jamie Silva returned a fumble by Virginia Tech quarterback Tyrod Taylor midway through the first quarter.

Boston College stretched its lead to 16-7 on Ryan's 14-yard TD run with 5:35 left in the half.

However, the game turned when Kory Robertson blocked the extra point. Brandon Flowers returned the block the distance for two points, pulling the Hokies within 16-9.

The big special teams play sparked life into Virginia Tech, which tied the contest before halftime on Glennon's 13-yard TD pass to Josh Hyman with 45 seconds remaining.

"We came out in the second half, everybody was loud, talking," Hall said. " Nobody was sitting on the bench anymore. We came out ready to play."

Since the loss to Boston College, Virginia Tech has reeled off five straight victories.