Cedric Humes challenged himself at halftime, raised his game and helped carry No. 5 Virginia Tech into the first Atlantic Coast Conference...

Share story

BLACKSBURG, Va. — Cedric Humes challenged himself at halftime, raised his game and helped carry No. 5 Virginia Tech into the first Atlantic Coast Conference title game.

Humes ran for a career-high 134 yards and two third-quarter touchdowns and the Hokies beat North Carolina 30-3 Saturday night, clinching the ACC’s Coastal Division title and a spot in the championship against Florida State on Saturday.

And they did it with Humes and Branden Ore toting the load behind an offensive line that started opening bigger holes and allowing the runners to make it look easy.

“Everybody knew what we had to do,” Humes, who carried 20 times, said. “We knew we could play better than we did in the first half, and that’s what we came out and did.”

Most Read Stories

Unlimited Digital Access. $1 for 4 weeks

The Hokies (10-1, 7-1) led only 6-3 at halftime, but Humes scored on runs of 1 and 3 yards and Ore had a 4-yard TD run — all in the third quarter — as Virginia Tech opened a 27-3 lead with Marcus Vick only being asked to hand the ball off and watch.

“I felt like I could go another four quarters if I had to,” Vick said. He finished just 8 for 15 for 61 yards with one touchdown and one interception.

“They didn’t have to use him [Vick], to tell you the truth,” Tar Heels defensive end Tommy Davis said. “Their running game was so effective. My hat’s off to them.”

Ore had 104 yards on 17 carries as the Hokies finished with 277 rushing yards just a week after running for 333 in a 52-14 victory against rival Virginia.

“We came out in the second half and really took it over,” coach Frank Beamer said. “We said let’s run the football and then occasionally get some play-action in there, and we didn’t need much play-action, to be honest. I thought the backs ran well.”

Now, they have a chance to win their second ACC championship in as many years only three weeks after they thought they had blown the chance in a 27-7 loss to Miami.

But the Hurricanes then lost at home last weekend against Georgia Tech, putting the Hokies back in control of their fate, and they made sure they took advantage.

“It just shows a lot about this program and this group of seniors that came through here,” said defensive tackle Jonathan Lewis, one of 19 seniors on the team.

The loss deprived the Tar Heels (5-6, 4-4) of becoming the ninth conference team to have the six wins needed for a bowl berth. It also marked only the second time in the last 16 seasons that North Carolina has lost its last regular-season game.

“You get off to a poor start in the third quarter and things start rolling the other way,” Tar Heels coach John Bunting said. “It starts snowballing a little bit.”