Virginia Tech 62,
Florida A&M 0
-- Midway through the first quarter in Lane Stadium on Saturday, Florida A&M already was Tapped out. By that time, just seven-plus minutes after the opening kickoff, Virginia Tech defensive end Darryl Tapp had recovered a fumble, caused one with a wicked quarterback sack and intercepted a pass.
That one-man mauling helped lift the Hokies to a three-touchdown lead before the Rattlers could muster their second first down. And with substitutes flowing onto the field in droves even earlier than Coach Frank Beamer anticipated, they had a 48-point lead at the half and coasted to a 62-0 victory.
"He's coming quickly," Beamer said of Tapp. "He's a force. He practices that way and plays that way, makes a difference. We've had some [gifted playmakers on defense] around here. He's right in the middle of that bunch."
Said Tapp, "[I'm] just trying to work hard on every play."
Everything went about as well as Beamer could have hoped. "We dressed 80 guys and played about 80," he said.
He was semi-apologetic about the play that had the crowd as animated as it was all game, a fourth-and-inches stop near the end of the third quarter. With a 62-0 lead, Tech had seven first-stringers in the game, with the only backups the linemen.
Beamer said he wanted another grouping on the field "and a lot of first-stringers went in . . . so it really wasn't intentional." Overall, the reserves also were hugely productive, with backup defensive tackle Kevin Lewis intercepting a pass and recovering a fumble to set up two short touchdown drives before halftime and third-string tailback Cedric Humes averaging 5.3 yards on nine carries and scoring a touchdown -- in the second quarter.
"Even if the competition wasn't the greatest, going out and making the right decisions, cutting [well], always helps," said Humes, who finished with 120 yards and two touchdowns on 17 carries.
Almost overshadowed by Tapp and the defense was quarterback Bryan Randall, who threw four touchdown passes in the first half, the first time a Hokie has done that since Michael Vick did it against Rutgers in 1999. Backup quarterback Sean Glennon (Westfield) was under center with 6 minutes 38 seconds left in the second quarter and played the entire second half.
Two other times, each before halftime, the Hokies crossed the goal line, with Randall scoring on a long run and cornerback Jimmy Williams scoring on a punt return. But their efforts were nullified by penalties.
Tapp began his barrage on the game's third play, when Tech defensive end Jim Davis forced a fumble and Tapp recovered at the Florida A&M 16-yard line. On Tech's first play from scrimmage, sophomore flanker David Clowney grabbed Randall's short flip near the right sideline and eluded two tacklers before skipping into the end zone. After the Hokies scored their second touchdown without obvious help from him, Tapp set up the third with a magnificent series. On second and five from the Florida A&M 39, he blindsided quarterback Ben Dougherty and caused a fumble that bounced out of bounds for a 12-yard loss.
On the next play, Dougherty tried a screen pass that got tipped twice at the line as Dougherty, a Rattlers lineman and Tapp fought for the ball before Tapp controlled it at the Florida A&M 13.
"I got upfield [toward the quarterback], then realized it was a screen over my head," Tapp said. "So I had to turn around quickly. The ball popped up, so I just stayed with it."
One play and one penalty later, Randall hit tight end Jeff King in the end zone from the 10 and the Hokies soon had a 21-0 lead.
The floodgates opened even wider in the second quarter, as Lewis's interception and fumble recovery set up Tech drives of nine and 29 yards that lifted the halftime advantage to 48-0. Humes's short touchdown run on the first series after intermission, and backup linebacker Blake Warren's 46-yard interception return for a touchdown run increased the Hokies' lead to 62-0 with 10:47 left in the third period.