One goal-line stand hurt. Two proved decisive for West Virginia.
Ike Charlton intercepted three passes, including one in the end zone, and No. 20 Virginia Tech defeated No. 21 West Virginia, 27-13, on Saturday at Blacksburg, Va.
Virginia Tech's defense, ranked second nationally in scoring and third overall, scored the first points by returning a blocked punt for a touchdown. It also blocked an extra point by a kicker who had made 96 in a row.
The Hokies also had four interceptions and four sacks, and stopped the Mountaineers on two goal-line stands in a two-minute span in the third quarter as Virginia Tech was clinging to a 17-13 lead.
"They figured they would come in and make a quick touchdown and get back into the game," Charlton said of the stands. "That took a lot out of their hearts. They no longer had a glimmer in their eyes."
West Virginia Coach Don Nehlen agreed.
"When we had the ball down there on the 10-yard line, and we didn't get in, and then intercepted it and did not get in again, that's when we lost the ball game," he said. "The other stuff did not really matter that much."
Virginia Tech (7-1 overall, 4-1 in the Big East) needs to beat Syracuse and Rutgers to win the conference title, while West Virginia (4-3, 1-2) might be out of the running.
Donovan McNabb threw for two touchdowns and ran for another as No. 17 Syracuse (5-2, 3-0) warmed up after a shaky start for a 45-28 victory over Pittsburgh (2-5, 0-3) in a Big East game at at Syracuse, N.Y. McNabb was 12 for 23 for 228 yards. He also rushed for 98 yards in 17 carries. . . . Edgerrin James sparked a 21-point first quarter with two touchdown runs, shredding the Boston College defense for 182 yards rushing as No. 25 Miami beat the Eagles, 35-17, in a Big East game at Miami. James, who set a Big East rushing record with 271 yards in last season's 45-44 overtime victory, scored on runs of two and one yards as Miami (5-2, 3-1 Big East) put things away early against Boston College (3-5, 2-3). . . . Mike McMahon threw a go-ahead, 10-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter and Jacki Crooks ran for a 159 yards and a late score to lead Rutgers (4-4, 2-3) to a 21-10 Big East victory over Temple (1-7, 1-3) at Piscataway, N.J. . . . Jim Finn rushed for 141 yards and two touchdowns and Matt Rader threw for two touchdowns to help Penn (5-2, 3-1) post a 34-21 victory over Yale (3-4, 2-2) in an Ivy League game at Philadelphia. . . . Chris Menick ran for two touchdowns and gained 104 yards rushing as Harvard (4-3, 3-1) posted a 20-7 victory over Dartmouth (2-5, 1-3) in an Ivy League game at Hanover, N.H. . . . Kevin Coyne rushed for 171 yards in 41 carries and caught a touchdown pass as Brown (4-3, 2-2) beat Cornell, 20-7, in an Ivy League game at Ithaca, N.Y. Cornell fell to 4-3 and 1-3. . . . Derek Theisen's one-yard touchdown run ignited a 17-point second quarter that carried Princeton (4-3, 3-1) to a 20-0 Ivy League victory over Columbia (2-5, 1-3) at New York.