Georgia Tech Runs Past Virginia Tech in ACC Football Showdown

By Mark Viera
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, October 18, 2009

ATLANTA, Oct. 17 -- Virginia Tech opened its season with disappointment about a mile from Bobby Dodd Stadium. On Saturday, the fourth-ranked Hokies returned here for another game that would help to define their year.

Since losing to Alabama at Georgia Dome on Sept. 5, Virginia Tech had won five straight and recently looked worthy of its lofty poll position. But with a 28-23 loss to No. 19 Georgia Tech, the Hokies relinquished their driver's-seat position in the ACC and likely ended any of hopes of a national championship.

"I can speak for the team on this: I don't think we were thinking ahead," quarterback Tyrod Taylor said. "We just didn't go out there and execute well."

The ACC Coastal Division was thrown into disarray with Virginia Tech's loss, and it might not be sorted out until November. On Saturday, Virginia (3-3, 2-0) took possession of first place in the division with a 20-9 win over Maryland.

But the conference's heavyweights -- Virginia Tech, Miami and Georgia Tech -- are positioned for a three-way tie because they all have favorable remaining schedules that include Virginia.

Miami beat Georgia Tech, 33-17, on Sept. 17. Virginia Tech beat Miami, 31-7, on Sept. 26. And now Georgia Tech has beaten Virginia Tech.

Led by bruising quarterback Josh Nesbitt, Georgia Tech stampeded the Hokies (5-2, 3-1) for 309 rushing yards, all but 37 coming in the second half. The Yellow Jackets gave Virginia Tech's defense trouble after making blocking adjustments at halftime. Georgia Tech (6-1, 4-1) sealed off the Hokies' defensive backs with the tweaked scheme, allowing its cadre of talented backs to run free.

"It wasn't the same thing we prepared for all week," Hokies rover Dorian Porch said. "We tried to make an adjustment and it worked for a little bit, and then they switched again on us. It was kind of going back and forth, kind of like a chess match, and they won it."

Georgia Tech started with a spark in the second half. Keeping the ball on an option play, Nesbitt rumbled for a 31-yard run that set up a touchdown that gave Georgia Tech a 14-3 lead.

Nesbitt found a crease in the Hokies' defense when free safety Kam Chancellor came up to make the tackle but was cleared out by the kind of cut block that opened up the Yellow Jackets' offense after halftime.

"They played exactly the same way the whole game on defense," Georgia Tech Coach Paul Johnson said. "We got the reads right and everyone went in the right direction."

In the second half, Georgia Tech broke seven runs of 10 yards or more. The Yellow Jackets averaged 6.47 yards per carry in the second half, wearing down the Hokies with 38 minutes 22 seconds time of possession for the game.

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