Corey Moore hopes the secret is finally out.
Four games into the season, including two on national television, Moore figures it's time people realized that Shyrone Stith can play with anybody.
Stith ran for 113 yards and a career-best three touchdowns Saturday night and joined quarterback Michael Vick in taking the spotlight away from No. 8 Virginia Tech's No. 1 defense in a 31-7 victory over No. 24 Virginia that wasn't that close.
"You guys talked all week about (Virginia tailback) Thomas Jones being one of the best backs in the country," Moore said. "I don't disagree with that, but we play against one of the best backs in the country every day in practice."
"They tried to stop us on the ground. They did somewhat, but we just put it in the air. You can't concentrate on just one person. It's not a basketball team," said Stith, who is now averaging 130 yards per game and has scored five TDs.
Vick, the much heralded left-hander who tried to force the issue and played poorly when the Hokies beat Clemson 10 days ago, was much more composed this time, letting plays develop and completing 7 of 9 passes for 222 yards.
"I just let things happen," he said. "I just played within myself... trusted my offensive line, trusted my receivers, trusted my reads and came up big."
Vick and Stith essentially finished Virginia with a 28-point first half that silenced the crowd of 51,800, the largest in the history of Scott Stadium.
Vick and Andre Davis got things going with a perfectly thrown 60-yard bomb, the speedy Davis making a fingertip grab two steps behind Tim Spruill. It was the first touchdown pass of Vick's career, and the sophomore Davis' second TD.
From there, Stith tok over, capping a 39-yard march set up by a short punt with a 1-yard burst up the middle to make it 14-0, then adding two second-quarter scoring plunges after Vick led the Hokies on drives of 80 and 60 yards.
Moore also offered high praise for Vick and the Hokies offensive line, saying the unit's play made it easier for the redshirt freshman to do his thing.
"He had time back there to get a drink, wave up in the stands," he said. "Vick's the leader on that side of the ball. He's well mature past his age and he's got a good grasp on the offense. He's dangerous. He's dangerous."
Virginia's banged-up defense, meanwhile, seemed to be playing back on its heels after Vick hit Davis for the 60-yarder, coach George Welsh said.
"Maybe the defense was thinking, `Here we go again,' " Welsh said.
Unlike a year ago, when Virginia rallied from a 29-7 halftime deficit for its biggest comeback ever, 36-32 in Blacksburg, Va., there was no rally this time.
The Hokies' top-ranked defense, which came in allowing just 164.7 yards per game, held Virginia to 213 yards, including just 83 for Jones on 23 carries.
"That's the best defense I've faced," said Jones, who came in ranked fifth nationally with an average of 155 rushing yards per game. "They play fast."
Virginia, coming off a 45-40 victory at BYU that got the Cavaliers back into the national rankings, closed to 14-7 early in the second quarter on Dan Ellis' fourth-down, 1-yard pass to Billy Baber, but never threatened again.
"They put up 45 points on BYU. They put up 7 on us. Enough said," said Hokies linebacker Jamel Smith, who shared the team lead with seven tackles.
With the Cavaliers' offensive line often double-teaming Moore, the rest of the Hokies frequently got into the Virginia backfield. Ellis was sacked twice in the first half, then four more time during the second half.
The Cavaliers, missing as many as seven defensive starters because of injuries and suspensions, also were without leading tackler Yubrenal Isabelle, who was in his native Bluefield, W.Va., because of the death of his mother on Thursday.
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