The Hokie Pokie is hip, and cornerbacks Ike Charlton and Anthony Midget danced up a storm against No. 19 Miami.
Charlton recovered three fumbles, returning one 51 yards for a touchdown, and Midget intercepted three passes as No. 2 Virginia Tech sidestepped the Hurricanes 43-10 Saturday night and moved a step closer to a perfect season and a shot at the national championship.
"We've got good athletes, we keep the pressure on defensively," Tech coach Frank Beamer said. "We keep the pressure on with the kicking game. That constant pressure takes its toll over a period of time."
After Shayne Graham's third field goal of the game, a 42-yarder with 10:27 left, the Hokies added this finishing touch: Andre Kendrick ran 58 yards, was hit before he reached the goal line and fumbled into the end zone, where wide receiver Andre Davis fell on the ball for a touchdown.
Fireworks went off behind the west end of Lane Stadium as the crowd of 53,310 stood and danced the hokey-pokey. Their Hokies had just scored the game's final 43 points to beat Miami (5-4, 3-1) for the fifth straight time.
"We were able to make plays," Charlton said. "We just had to come out here and show the world that we play good football here at Virginia Tech."
The Hokies, third in last week's Bowl Championship Series standings, should move into second place behind No. 1 Florida State in next week's standings. Tennessee was second before its 28-24 loss tArkansas earlier Saturday.
Wins at Temple next week and against Boston College on Nov. 26, would complete the Hokies' first perfect regular season since 1918 and likely send them to the Sugar Bowl on Jan. 4 to play in the BCS' designated title game.
"I don't worry about the rankings, BCS polls and stuff like that," star defensive end Corey Moore said after his two sacks boosted his season total to 15. "We control our own destiny. As long as we continue to take care of our own business, the chips are going to fall into place for us."
After gaining 211 first-half yards against the nation's third-leading defense, Miami had no points and 98 yards in the second half. The Hokies, averaging 39 points per game, third in the nation, rolled up 23 fourth-quarter points to bury the Hurricanes.
"It doesn't take a whole lot of explanation what happened here," Miami coach Butch Davis said. "We got beat bad."
Until the final 15 minutes, when the Hokies finally knocked Miami quarterback Kenny Kelly out of the game with one of their five sacks, Tech was in a tough fight.
Michael Vick was shaken up on three different occasions, but returned after the crunching hits kept the Hokies on track with his brilliant runs and clutch passes. Vick was 11-of-23 for 151 yards and ran 14 times for 46 yards.
Stith, who finished with 78 yards, ran 1 and 41 yards for TDs as the Hokies came back after trailing in the first half for the first time this season.
Kelly was just 8-of-17 for 138 yards, with one TD and two interceptions. He was replaced in the fourth quarter by Ken Dorsey, who was 6-of-17 for 45 yards and an interception.
Midget's first interception set up Stith's 41-yard scoring run and put the Hokies ahead for good, 14-10, with 7:08 left in the half. The first half featured six turnovers four by Miami and seven personal fouls five against the Hurricanes. Midget, a cornerback, had a second interception in the second quarter and his final one came in the fourth quarter.
The Hokies made it 10-7 on Stith's 1-yard run with 17 seconds left in the first quarter. The score was set up by Miami running back Clinton Portis' fumble, Charlton's 11-yard return and two personal fouls against the Hurricanes. The second came after Mami stopped Vick for no gain on third-and-goal from the 1.
Portis finished with 139 yards on 27 carries. Miami's Jarrett Payton had the game's final carry in his first action since returning to the team following the death of his father, Walter. Payton wore jersey No. 34, his father's number, instead of his usual No. 32.
The first quarter was filled with more hard hits than a boxing match. Kelly and Vick fumbled on consecutive possessions; Vick's set up Miami's only touchdown.
With the Hurricanes ahead 3-0 after Andy Crosland's 28-yard field goal on the game-opening drive, Vick was blindsided by 315-pound defensive tackle Adrian Wilson and linebacker Chris Campbell recovered on the Hokies 49. Vick lay face down on the turf for a minute before limping off the field.
Just two plays earlier, Kelly fumbled after a poor snap and Charlton, a cornerback, recovered at the Miami 39.
Miami converted its chance and took a 10-0 on Kelly's 7-yard scoring pass to Andre King with 4:35 left in the period.
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