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ACC: Title in reach of Hokies

Associated Press
Published November 28, 2004


BLACKSBURG, Va. - Bryan Randall is wrapping up his career at Virginia Tech in style, and with the biggest stakes in front of him.

Randall threw two second-half touchdowns and the Hokies moved one victory from the conference title Saturday with a 24-10 victory over Virginia.

"The stakes just keep getting bigger," Randall said after leading the Hokies to their seventh consecutive win and ninth in 10 games.

The Hokies can take the league title - and a BCS berth - by winning next weekend at No. 9 Miami, which moved from the Big East to the ACC with Virginia Tech this season.

"To go down to Miami and get a win and the whole championship outright by ourselves in the first year, it would be phenomenal," said Randall, whose Hokies were picked to finish as low as eighth in the conference.

Randall finished 16-of-22 for 200 yards and passed Don Strock to become the career yardage leader at Virginia Tech. Strock ended his career with 6,009; Randall has 6,061.

Tech's defense posed problems for the Cavaliers, who were playing for a share of the ACC title.

The Hokies blocked a 45-yard field-goal try by Connor Hughes to end Virginia's first series. Then, after a 78-yard run by Alvin Pearman and two 6-yard bursts by Wali Lundy gave Virginia first and goal at the Hokies' 4, Tech's Jonathan Lewis pounced on a fumble by Lundy.

And, in perhaps the biggest sequence of the game early in the fourth, the Hokies led 10-7 and stopped three consecutive plays from their 1, forcing Virginia to end a 17-play, 78-yard march with a tying field goal.

MARYLAND 13, WAKE 7: Sam Hollenbach threw 164 yards in his first start and host Maryland's defense redeemed itself. Hollenbach, who spent most of the season as the third-string quarterback, was 16-of-27 with no interceptions. The sophomore started ahead of the ineffective Joel Statham and injured second-stringer Jordan Steffy.

Despite the victory, Maryland finished with a losing record for the first time in four seasons under coach Ralph Friedgen. Hollenbach played well, but the Terrapins won because of a defense that had yielded 55 points in its previous outing against Virginia Tech. Wake Forest's touchdown came on a 28-yard drive after a turnover.

Nick Novak kicked two field goals for the Terrapins and finished his career with 393 points, most in ACC history and tied for fifth on the Division-I list.

Chris Barclay ran for 103 yards and scored for Wake. The junior finished with 1,010 yards to become the first Wake player to top the 1,000-yard mark in successive seasons.

N.C. STATE 52, ECU 14: Jay Davis threw three touchdowns and North Carolina State allowed only 140 yards in the game played at Charlotte, spoiling the final game for Pirates coach John Thompson. Thompson resigned last week, effective at the end of the season, after athletic director Terry Holland told him he would be fired. In two years, Thompson was 3-20.

The Wolfpack blocked a punt for a score, returned an onside kick for another and had an interception return for a TD nullified by an inadvertent whistle. Davis also scored the first rushing touchdown of his career.

But it was N.C. State's top-ranked defense that stole the show. East Carolina played most of the game without starting quarterback James Pinkney, who left in the first quarter with a sprained knee.

Senior backup Des Robinson was pressured into two interceptions - a few more bounced off the hands of defenders - and when he had time, he missed open receivers. Robinson finished 7-for-23 for 62 yards, including a completion to himself on a batted pass.