Blacksburg, Va. - Aided by four first-half Maryland turnovers, the Virginia Tech Hokies scored early and often and rolled to a 55-6 ACC victory over the University of Maryland on Nov. 18 in front of 65,115 fans. The Hokies remained in sole possession of first place in the ACC with the victory, improving to 8-2 overall and 5-1 in the conference. Maryland dropped to 4-6 overall and 2-5 in the ACC, eliminating the Terrapins from bowl contention.
The Hokies took a comfortable 41-3 lead into the locker room at halftime, leaving little room for drama in the second half. Tech intercepted Terrapin starter Joel Statham twice, reserve Jordan Steffy once, and recovered a fumble by Maryland receiver Derrick Fenner to set up 24 of those first-half points. Hokies James Anderson, Xavier Adibi and James Griffin all intercepted their first career passes.
After Griffin's interception on Maryland's first possession, tailback Mike Imoh carried the ball five straight times for 29 yards, culminating in a 1-yard plunge to give Tech a 7-0 lead. On Maryland's next possession, Anderson forced Fenner to fumble and Mikal Baaqee recovered. Three plays later, Imoh once again found the end zone on a 6-yard run.
Maryland cut the lead to 14-3 on a 42-yard field goal by Nick Novak, but the Hokies responded with a 6-play, 53-yard drive, capped by a 35-yard scoring strike from Bryan Randall to tight end Jeff King. The reception was a career-high for King and gave the Hokies a 21-3 lead. Adibi was next up, intercepting Statham at the Maryland 23, and three plays later, Justin Hamilton scored on a 5-yard run on the first play of the second quarter, giving Tech a 28-3 advantage.
On Tech's next possession, Brandon Pace hit a 27-yard field goal with 5:43 left in the half. Then Randall connected with tight end Jared Mazzetta from 15 yards out with 1:33 left in the half. The touchdown was the first of Mazzetta's career and gave Tech a commanding 38-3 lead. Anderson intercepted Steffy on Maryland's next possession and Pace hit a 34-yard field goal to punctuate the first half.
Tech's defense did not let up in the second half. The Hokies gave up just a field goal to the Terrapins over the final 30 minutes and contributed even more to the final margin. After a 1-yard touchdown run from Randall gave the Hokies a 48-3 lead with 4:43 remaining in the third quarter, Tech's Jimmy Williams intercepted a pass on Maryland's ensuing possession and returned it 34 yards for a touchdown. The pick was Williams' team-leading fourth of the season and gave Tech a 55-3 advantage.
Novak added a late field goal with under three minutes remaining in the game to provide the final score.
Randall ended up passing for 137 yards and the two touchdowns, leaving him 149 yards and six touchdowns shy of becoming Tech's all-time leader in those categories.
On the other side of the ball, the defense forced five turnovers in the game and held the Terrapins to just 197 yards of total offense.
Tech has eight days to prepare for the arrival of ACC and intrastate foe UVA on Nov. 27. The Hokies serve as the host to the Hoos in a 1 p.m. kickoff that will be televised regionally on ABC.