Virginia Tech 55, Maryland 6
On occasion, Maryland has been offensively inept or has played, according to its coach, like passionless "zombies."
But never this season, never in Ralph Friedgen's four-year tenure at his alma mater, have the Terps been as humbled, as dominated as they were Thursday night.
Virginia Tech scored two touchdowns in the first four minutes and cruised to a 55-6 win before 65,115 at Lane Stadium. Maryland's loss, its worst since 2000, eliminated the Terps (4-6, 2-5 ACC) from bowl contention and ensured their first losing season under Friedgen.
"You won't see me around here for a whole long time if we do this a lot," Friedgen said. "They won't have to fire me. I'll quit."
Friedgen and Virginia Tech Coach Frank Beamer briefly embraced in the middle of the field after the game. Neither was enthused to play the game considering they had been friends for more than 30 years. But Beamer has had more pressing matters on his mind. His 86-year-old mother, Herma, died early Thursday morning.
On the field, the victory could not have been more complete for No. 15 Virginia Tech (8-2, 5-1), which remained atop the Atlantic Coast Conference standings. Maryland committed five turnovers, including four interceptions.
Because of ineffectiveness, injury and a depleted roster, the Terps finished the game with their fourth-string quarterback.
Starter Joel Statham, who completed 8 of 17 passes for 70 yards, threw two first-quarter interceptions and was replaced at the start of the second quarter by freshman Jordan Steffy, who never made it to halftime. In the final minute of the first half, linebacker James Anderson intercepted a Steffy pass, raced down the sideline and collided helmet to helmet with Steffy before veering out of bounds. Steffy was taken to a local hospital at halftime.
Third-string quarterback Ryan Mitch did not travel for personal reasons that Friedgen declined to disclose. And fourth-string quarterback Sam Hollenbach played well, completing 5 of 8 passes in the second half, albeit when the game was out of reach.
Friedgen, asked if Hollenbach played well enough to start the season-ending game against Wake Forest, said, "I have to look at the tape. We'll see, and we'll see where Steffy is."
What about Statham? "I don't know," Friedgen said.
Frustration was evident at halftime, when Friedgen uttered an obscenity to an ESPN sideline reporter before heading into the locker room. Friedgen apologized immediately after the game, calling his use of profanity "not acceptable."
The coaching staff is seemingly without answers after using several motivational tactics this season, most recently issuing rubber wristbands to players, which were inscribed with the mantra "Are you in or are you out? I'm in." Senior center Kyle Schmitt, asked if anyone has emotionally quit, said, "I hope not. You see some stuff here and there, but I hope not. I can't answer that for everyone."
Maryland couldn't have started the game worse. The Terps' first five plays included one pass that was batted away, another that was tipped, one interception and another turnover on a fumble. Virginia Tech began its first two possessions on the Maryland 29 and 17, finishing each drive with a touchdown run from tailback Mike Imoh (Robinson High). Imoh did not play the rest of the game because of a hamstring injury.
On third and three from the Maryland 35, Virginia Tech tight end Jeff King was left wide open as linebackers David Holloway and D'Qwell Jackson appeared confused with the coverage. As a result, Virginia Tech quarterback Bryan Randall hooked up with King for a 35-yard touchdown pass to give the Hokies a 21-3 lead at the end of the first quarter.
While the game featured little suspense, the waning moments of the first half consisted of some intrigue. Virginia Tech led 38-3 and was setting up for a 34-yard field goal. The Hokies called a timeout, which prompted Friedgen to call consecutive timeouts. Kicker Brandon Pace made the attempt, all but erasing any doubt about the outcome.
"I wouldn't say they are  points better," Maryland cornerback Domonique Foxworth said. "I wouldn't say any team in the country is that much better than us. This is just very disappointing."