Nov. 12, 2005
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) – Marques Hagans led Virginia on two scoring drives after it squandered a 17-point lead Saturday and the Cavaliers became bowl eligible by beating No. 24 Georgia Tech for the fourth consecutive season, 27-17.
Virginia (6-3, 3-3 Atlantic Coast Conference), playing without two defensive starters and a key reserve after they were suspended during the week for violating team rules, got two first-quarter touchdown runs from Wali Lundy in building a 17-0 lead.
Georgia Tech (6-3, 4-3) rallied to get even on Reggie Ball’s 24-yard touchdown pass to Damarius Bilbo in the third quarter, but Hagans led one drive that led to Connor Hughes’ 47-yard field goal, then hit Deyon Williams for a 21-yard touchdown with 9:03 left.
The victory came in the first of three difficult chances the Cavaliers had to reach the six victories required for a bowl game. They play rival No. 8 Virginia Tech here next Saturday, then conclude the regular season at No. 3 Miami on Nov. 26.
For a time, it looked as if the Yellow Jackets would rally for their fourth win in a row. They got a 1-yard touchdown run from Tashard Choice and a 48-yard field goal from Travis Bell in the last 5:06 of the first half, then pulled even with 5:23 to go in the third quarter when Ball hit Bilbo streaking down the right sideline for a TD.
Ball was 20-for-38 for 207 yards and ran for another 68 yards.
Virginia hadn’t done much offensively since scoring on its first three possessions, but Hagans got them started again with a 19-yard pass to Jason Snelling. When the drive stalled at the 30, Hughes kicked his second field goal of the game.
After Bell missed a potential tying kick from 44 yards for the Yellow Jackets, Snelling carried five times for 36 yards and Hagans hit three passes, the last to Williams over the middle, as Virginia drove 73 yards in eight plays for the TD.
Williams caught 10 passes for 107 yards, both career highs, and Hagans was 21-for-29 for 205 yards with one interception. He also scrambled for 25 yards as the Cavaliers piled up 366 yards against a defense that came in ranked No. 16 nationally.
The Cavaliers started fast, driving for touchdowns on their first two possessions and limiting the Yellow Jackets to one first down when they had the ball.
Lundy scored both on runs on 15 and 18 yards.
The game was delayed about 10 minutes and the crowd of 60,061 looked on in silence when Virginia safety Nate Lyles did not get up after appearing to take a knee to the helmet while trying to tackle P.J. Daniels on a 12-yard run in the first quarter.
Lyles eventually was placed on an immobilizing board and taken off the field, the crowd cheering to show its support when he moved his hands. The school said he was taken to the emergency room for evaluation.
When play resumed, Marcus Hamilton intercepted Ball on the next play and the Cavaliers drove 47 yards in 14 plays for Hughes’ first field goal, from 48 yards.