BLACKSBURG, Va. - Virginia Tech's Branden Ore was tired of hearing about Clemson's running back's James Davis and C.J. Spiller. He was tired of hearing about how great Clemson's defensive front was.
As a matter of fact, he was just plan out tired hearing everything about the No. 10 Clemson Tigers. Ore made sure all the talking after Thursday's 24-7 win over Clemson was about him. The redshirt sophomore rushed for 203 yards and two touchdowns in front of a sellout home crowd at Lane Stadium in Blacksburg, Va.
"I blame myself for that some," Clemson safety Michael Hamlin said. "There was a couple of times we had him in the back field and we just weren't wrapping up because we didn't set our feet."
It was the second straight game in which Ore gained 200 yards - the first Virginia Tech running back in history to have back-to-back 200 yard games. He had 207 yards against Southern Miss.
"He is a very good running back," Clemson head coach Tommy Bowden said. "He was every bit as good as we thought he would be. He probably saw all the stuff talked about this week about James and C.J. We thought he was pretty good and thought he was every bit the back those two guys are."
Clemson's defensive entered Thursday's night ACC tussle with Virginia Tech as the nation's seventh best rushing defense. But Ore ran through the Tigers vaunted run defense. Clemson came into the game giving up just 72 yards. Virginia Tech finished the night with 224 yards after averaging 119.1 coming in.
"I'm pretty sure he had it on his mind that he was better than James and C.J. Tonight, he played his heart out and I have to respect his game," Hamlin said.
Prior to Ore, Clemson had allowed just one running back more than 100 yards all season and that was in mop up duty by Temple's Tim Brown who had 121 yards in a 63-9 Clemson win.
From the outset, Ore showed why he is one the ACC's premiere runners. On the Hokies second possession, he took a handoff at the Clemson 41 and raced 40 yards up the middle for the longest run of the season against the Tigers defense. The Hokies scored two plays later to tie the game at 7-7.
"People around him thought someone else was going to make the tackle and they just gave up and then he was breaking containment," Hamlin said.
With Ore running the ball so well, it loosened the Clemson defense enough to allow quarterback Sean Glennon to complete 9 of 15 passes for 108 yards, including a 43-yard pass to tight end Sam Wheeler, setting up Ore's second rushing touchdown of the night, a 3-yard touchdown run.
"He is a good back," Davis said. "He did a good job. I have to give him credit, he runs hard."
Davis finished the game with a season-low 30 yards on 12 carries, while Spiller had 41 yards on 10 carries to lead all Clemson running backs. Last week, Spiller and Davis rushed for a combined 332 yards and four touchdowns.
"I'm very proud of Branden. He is kind of special guy too," Virginia Tech head coach Frank Beamer said. "I think he showed that tonight."
Ore's first touchdown came after Clemson quarterback Will Proctor threw a bad pass to Chansi Stuckey which was intercepted by linebacker Xavier Adibi and retuned to the Clemson 35. Five plays later, Ore took the football into the end zone to give the Hokies a 17-7 lead with 9:26 to play.
The Tiger defense ended up yielding just 332 total yards, which defensive coordinator Vic Koenning said was about what he expected after watching how his team played."
"We didn't play as good as we can play," he said. "I think we played good at times. We are also running out of players, too. It became obvious when we had to start subbing some guys. That's when we got into some issues.
"But you cannot do it. Our guys can't play every play. We are just kind of running out of players. It is not excuses, it is just fact. There are guys that started out on the scout team that are playing now."
Longest drive. Virginia Tech's 84-yard first quarter drive, which was capped off by a Glennon one-yard score, was the longest of the season given up by the Tigers defense. On the same drive, Ore rushed 40 yards to setup the touchdown, the longest play all season given up by the Tigers until Sam Wheeler caught a 41-yard pass in the third quarter.
Ore over 100. Coming into the game, Clemson's rushing defense ranked seventh in the nation in run defense and had allowed just one running back over 100 yards all season and that came in mop up duty by Temple's Tim Brown.
On Thursday night, Ore had 108 yards in the first half, including a 40-yard first quarter run to setup the Hokies first score of the night.
Davis starts. After a week of speculation due to a sore shoulder, Davis started the game. He later rushed for a 6-yard score with 6:09 to play in the first quarter to give Clemson a 7-0 lead. It was his 18th rushing touchdown of the season.
Clemson wide receiver Chansi Stuckey started the game after missing the last three games with a broken right foot.
Michael Palmer started for Thomas Hunter at tight end. Clemson running back Demerick Chancellor did not make the trip Thursday night and may have surgery later this week.
Early timeout. Clemson called a timeout on the game's first play of the night, then on the third play of the second drive when quarterback Will Proctor burned the Tigers second time out. The second time out came with 10:14 to play in the first quarter.
Proctor called Clemson's third time out with 7:55 to play after the call was slow to get in.
Moment of silence. Members of the media held a moment of silence before the start of Thursday's game in honor of former Virginia Tech Sports Information Director Wendy Weisend, who served as the Hokies' sports information director for 22 years and was inducted into both the College Sports Information Directors of America and Virginia Tech Sports Halls of Fame. He died Wednesday morning at his home in Blacksburg. Weisend was 82.
Courtesy of Daily Journal