CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — Its hopes for a shot at the national championship dashed in a humbling loss to Miami two weeks ago, No. 7 Virginia Tech made sure on Saturday that its November fades of recent seasons would not be repeated.
Doing it against Virginia, and by a 52-14 score, made it that much sweeter.
"We got our swag back," Hokies cornerback Jimmy Williams said. "Everybody was watching. It was more of a statement game to show that we're not the Tech of old . . . There's won't be any more of those November losses and teams tanking around here."
Cedric Humes ran for 113 yards and three touchdowns, Branden Ore ran for 115 and two TDs and Marcus Vick bounced back from a six-turnover nightmare against the Hurricanes with two touchdown passes and the steady play the Hokies count on.
The defense did its part, too, getting two interceptions by Aaron Rouse that turned into 14 points, and a big special teams play that yielded another easy touchdown.
The Hokies dominated almost from the opening kickoff, when some of their coaches worried if the team was far enough past its disappointment of the 27-7 loss to Miami to get back to playing well.
"To be able to come out there and make a statement about our team after our loss to Miami is tremendous," senior defensive tackle Jonathan Lewis said, adding that he'd assured the coaches the team was prepared. "It shows a lot about our character."
Virginia Tech (9-1, 6-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) piled up 503 yards and allowed only 254 to a team that had been playing well behind quarterback Marques Hagans.
But on a day when Hagans and at least 12 other Cavaliers played their last home games, they also played one of their least effective, never getting anything going.
"What can you do but feel embarrassed?" Hagans said.
The Hokies also effectively cut down Hagans' scrambling, which he'd used to such advantage when Virginia beat Florida State, by trying to keep him in the pocket.
"That was the main thing we were focused on," linebacker Vince Hall said. "He broke out plenty of times and did his thing, but we had to try and keep that to a minimum."
Now, the Hokies are looking for help as the season winds down. They finish at home against North Carolina on Saturday, and would need Miami to lose to reach the ACC title game. The conference champion gets an automatic spot in the BCS, though Virginia Tech would be strongly considered for an at-large spot if it finishes with just one loss.
Virginia visits No. 3 Miami in its regular-season finale next weekend.
Even the Hokies were surprised at how easy this one turned out. The running game accounted for 333 yards and five touchdowns and kept the pressure off Vick.
"We came in here for a dogfight thinking we were going to take it down to the last second," Vick said after going 15-for-21 for 170 yards with one interception.
The Cavaliers (6-4, 3-4), who had won two straight at home and 21 of their last 23, gave the crowd of 63,344 reason to hope at the start the second half, driving 71 yards in nine plays to Wali Lundy's 9-yard touchdown run, pulling to 24-7.
But the Hokies answered with an 80-yard march of their own, Humes taking it in from 9 yards out, and Rouse ended Virginia's next two drives with interceptions that the Hokies also turned into touchdowns. Ore got the first on a 7-yard run, and Humes got the next one from 3 yards. Ore later added a 31-yard run to make it 52-7.
"I never thought in a million years the game would turn out like this," Hagans said. He finished 17-for-30 for 140 yards and was also sacked three times.
The turning point came early.
Trailing 10-0, the Cavaliers forced the Hokies to punt. Michael Johnson muffed it at his own 6, the ball bouncing off his shoulder pads, and Roland Minor recovered for Virginia Tech. Humes took it in on the next play from the 1, making it 17-0.
"That's a big turning point in the ballgame," Hokies coach Frank Beamer said.
When Vick hit Eddie Royal for a 24-yard TD 1:24 before halftime, it was 24-0 and Virginia never recovered.
"I always say, 'You are what you are,"' Virginia coach Al Groh said. "And it was what it was today. You can't turn it into anything else."
Lundy did add a second touchdown run in the fourth quarter, joining North Carolina State's Ted Brown and North Carolina's Leon Johnson as the only players in league history with 50 career touchdowns. He finished with 67 yards on 15 carries.