- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 25, 2005

BLACKSBURG, Va. — Fourth-ranked Virginia Tech intercepted Georgia Tech quarterback Reggie Ball twice for touchdowns as the Hokies routed the No.15 Yellow Jackets 51-7 in a showdown of ACC leaders yesterday.

The Hokies (4-0, 2-0) turned the game their way with 3:50 left in the first quarter when tight end Jeff King blocked a Travis Bell 35-yard field goal attempt — the third block of King’s career. Safety D.J. Parker scooped the ball up and ran 78 yards down the left sideline for a 14-0 advantage.

“There’s just no bigger play in football than when you block a kick, especially a field goal,” Hokies coach Frank Beamer said.

King said: “We work on it in practice every week, so it’s pretty routine.”

Parker: “My eyes got big and everything got quiet. I knew they weren’t going to catch me.”

Back-to-back interception returns for touchdowns late in the third quarter blew the game open 48-7. Linebacker Xavier Adibi intercepted Ball with 1:55 left and returned it 26 yards. Two plays later, defensive end Chris Ellis tipped a pass and scored from 29 yards out.

“He tried to fit it in there, so I had to make the best of a good situation,” Ellis said.

The Yellow Jackets’ only score — an 11-yard touchdown pass from Ball to Calvin Johnson — ended a 10-quarter scoreless streak for Virginia Tech’s defense. The touchdown also marked the first passing touchdown against the Hokies and the first score of any kind since N.C. State’s Darrell Blackman 25-yard run in the first quarter of the opener — a span of 211:52.

But after the touchdown cut the lead to 31-7, the Hokies kicked a field goal and returned the two interceptions for touchdowns — scoring 17 points in 44 seconds.

Ball, recovering from viral meningitis, was not sharp, completing 11 of 27 passes for 143 yards and a touchdown. A large chunk of his total came on a 59-yard pass play that set up the Jackets’ only score.

“You could just tell [Ball] wasn’t himself,” Adibi said.

Georgia Tech punted 11 times and converted only two of 16 third down plays. The Jackets’ defense led the nation in turnover margin of plus-3. Four turnovers and a blocked kick dropped the Jackets lower.

“We’re just capitalizing on the plays when they happen,” said defensive end Darryl Tapp.

Hokies punter Nic Schmitt, averaging 49.2 yards on six punts, made matters worse for Georgia Tech, putting the Jackets at or inside the 20 on seven of eight first-half possessions. His career-best 61-yarder put them inside the 1 in the first quarter.

“We didn’t win in any phase of the game,” Georgia Tech coach Chan Gailey said.

Virginia Tech opened the scoring with at 8:58 in the first quarter on a 13-yard catch by King, whose ninth career touchdown reception set the school record for tight ends.

The Hokies three non-offensive touchdowns gave them 49 since 1999, second only to Miami’s 53.

Virginia Tech plays at West Virginia at noon on Saturday.


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