No sooner had Virginia Tech scored 62 unanswered points to defeat Temple today than the Hokies turned their attention to the matter that has been on their minds for weeks: completing an undefeated regular season.
The 62-7 victory over the Owls moved Virginia Tech one step closer to a shot at its first national championship. The next obstacle is No. 25 Boston College (8-2), which the Hokies host Friday.
"We've accomplished a lot, but yet there's a lot more to go," said Virginia Tech Coach Frank Beamer, whose team is 10-0 for the first time in school history and, with the win, clinched at least a share of the Big East title and a berth in the Bowl Championship Series. "I don't know if you all understand the pressure that gets going. It's a good pressure, but the more you win, the more pressure you get on the next one."
Despite facing criticism for their weak schedule--which today's win, no matter what the margin, couldn't diminish--the Hokies believe an undefeated record, combined with their No. 2 ranking, will be enough to get them to the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans, site of the national championship game.
"Yes, we believe a win next week and we get there," Hokies linebacker Ben Taylor said. "That's the big one. We don't think it matters how much we win by or anything like that, just that we win."
Following No. 1 Florida State's 30-23 victory over No. 3 Florida today, the Seminoles are assured of a Sugar Bowl berth, and it appears the only team that could move ahead of the Hokies in the Bowl Championship Series rankings is Nebraska (9-1).
For the second week in a row Virginia Tech spotted its opponent an early touchdown, but there never was a threat of the upset Temple handed Virginia Tech last season. One key difference was that last year the Hokies were playing their third-string quarterback, while this season the player at the helm was redshirt freshman Michael Vick, one of the keys to Virginia Tech's remarkable season.
Vick rushed for 134 yards on 12 carries, including touchdown runs of 53 and 75 yards that showed his skilled footwork and speed. On both scores, Vick rolled one direction looking to pass before cutting back across the field and outracing defenders to the end zone. He also completed 7 of 10 passes for 171 yards, including touchdowns of 65 and 30 yards to wide receiver Andre Davis--all in three quarters of play. Vick threw two interceptions in the first half--his first in six games--but his overall performance made the errors easy to forget.
"Nothing he does amazes me anymore," Virginia Tech rover Cory Bird said. "We see that every single day. He's just incredible."
Junior tailback Shyrone Stith rushed for 75 yards on 17 carries to bring his season total to 1,029, making him the seventh player in school history to rush for more than 1,000 yards in a season. Reserve tailback Andre Kendrick added scores of 20 and three yards and Lee Suggs scored once from two yards out.
"There's not much to say after a game like that," Temple Coach Bobby Wallace said. "Except Virginia Tech's got a great football team. . . . And I hope they win the national championship."
What left Wallace nearly speechless was the Hokies' defense, which was as stifling today as it has been all season. Virginia Tech held Temple (2-8) to minus-two yards rushing on 28 attempts and 224 yards of total offense.
"I just told those guys in the locker room there that I've been in this business a long time and it's not often you're trying to finish out the season undefeated," Beamer said. "You just don't get that opportunity very often . . . but we have it."