Freshman tailback Otis Copeland ran 120 yards on 21 carries to help Virginia Tech beat Virginia, 21-14, tonight. It was Coach Bill Dooley's 100th career victory.
"They were a little bit better than we were," Coach George Welsh of Virginia said. "I thought they played pretty good defense most of the night. I guess that turned out to be the difference. We had several chances but we just didn't capitalize on the opportunities. They made the big plays. We didn't."
Tech took a 21-14 lead, then four straight interceptions in the fourth quarter finished the Cavaliers.
Virginia had a chance to tie with 8:18 remaining in the game. But Wayne Schuchts' pass from the five-yard line into the end zone was intercepted by Mike Johnson.
"We just didn't execute well on the goal line series that resulted in an interception," Welsh said. "That play was an automatic at the line, and I think the receivers didn't hear him."
Jake Clark, James Robinson and Derek Carter of Tech also intercepted in the fourth period.
The Cavaliers took a 7-0 lead midway in the first quarter. Pat Chester intercepted one of Todd Greenwood's passes at the Virginia Tech 43-yard line and returned it to the 10. Three plays later Schuchts threw an 18-yard scoring pass to Henry Johnson and Wayne Morrison converted.
Virginia Tech scored with 2:47 left in the first half on a six-yard pass play from quarterback Mark Cox, who replaced starter Todd Greenwood, to tight end Mike Shaw. Cox's 19-yard pass to Shaw was the big play in the 63-yard drive. Allen Talbott missed the extra point and the Cavaliers led at the half, 7-6.
"Mark Cox came in to give us a big lift," Dooley said. "It was just a night when Todd Greenwood was having trouble getting on track."
Virginia Tech received the halftime kickoff and drove 70 yards to take the lead. Copeland led the drive, gaining 52 yards on four carries. His one-yard plunge provided his first touchdown as a college player. The Hokies went for a two-point conversion, failed and led, 12-7.
Minutes later Tech defensive back John Scott intercepted Schuchts and returned to the Virginia 28. That set up Allen Talbott's 44-yard field goal with 9:26 left in the third quarter and gave Tech a 15-7 lead.
Virginia had to punt on its next possession. Tech's John Ludlow fumbled the punt and Virginia's Chris McMahon recovered on the Tech 39. On the next play Schuchts found Johnson open for the touchdown.
In the fourth quarter Tech scored with 12:40 remaining on Cox's one-yard run. Talbott missed the extra point and Tech led, 21-14.