MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (REUTERS) — Quincy Wilson rushed for a season-high 178 yards to lead West Virginia to a 28-7 victory over No. 3 Virginia Tech Wednesday night, casting a huge cloud over the Hokies’ national-title hopes.
Virginia Tech fell down 14 points early and never crossed midfield in the second half in suffering its worst defeat since a 38-7 setback to Pittsburgh Nov. 3, 2001.
The Hokies (6-1, 2-1 Big East) now must regroup for a showdown Nov. 1 at home against No. 2 Miami. Virginia Tech entered the game third behind Oklahoma and Miami in the first Bowl Championship Series standings.
Virginia Tech wanted revenge for a 21-18 setback to the Mountaineers last year in Blacksburg, Va. Instead, West Virginia fans stormed the field in celebration of the school’s first back-to-back wins over the Hokies in a decade and its first victory over a team ranked as high as the Hokies.
Police used pepper spray on fans who tried to tear down the goal posts. Many in the crowd of 56,319 stormed the field, but State Police and dozens of yellow-shirted security personnel surrounded the goal posts and kept fans at bay.
It wasn’t immediately known whether anyone was arrested or hurt.
Wilson and Kay-Jay Harris had touchdown runs. Rasheed Marshall ran for one score and completed the second-longest pass play in school history for another TD as the Mountaineers (3-4, 2-1 Big East) pulled off the shocker.
West Virginia minimized Tech’s biggest weapons, turned two first-half turnovers into scores and roughed up the Big East’s top defense for 426 yards.
Bryan Randall was intercepted three times and had four fumbles, one that was recovered by West Virginia.
Running back Kevin Jones was held below 100 yards rushing for the first time in five games.
DeAngelo Hall, who scored twice on punt returns two weeks ago against Syracuse, rarely got an opportunity.
Randall fumbled the game’s first snap, and not much else went right for the Hokies. Even their three-game streak of blocked punts came to an end.
West Virginia never trailed in ending an 0-7 streak against teams ranked No. 3. They nearly beat No. 2 Miami Oct. 2 but lost 22-20 on a field goal with 11 seconds left. The previous bests by West Virginia were a trio of wins over No. 4 teams — Penn State and Boston College in 1984, and Miami in 1993.
On West Virginia’s first drive of the second half, Marshall found Travis Garvin alone at the Mountaineer 45. He scored on a 93-yard pass play for a 21-7 lead.
Lance Frazier’s 28-yard punt return later in the quarter set up Marshall’s four-yard TD run to finish the scoring.
West Virginia pounded the ball on the ground, out-rushing Tech 264-65. Wilson surpassed his season high of 177 yards, set in his last game against Rutgers.
Jones, the nation’s 10th-leading rusher, was held to 57 yards on only 11 carries.
Brian King, whose interception of Randall in the end zone sealed last year’s win at Virginia Tech, had two picks Wednesday, one at the West Virginia 10 on the opening series.
Josh Bailey’s 10-yard catch — the first by a Mountaineer tight end this season — and Wilson’s 16-yard run set up Harris’ seven-yard run to open the scoring.
Randall then pitched the ball over Jones’ right shoulder on the option, and West Virginia’s Mike Lorello recovered at the Tech 36.
The Mountaineers scored in three plays. Tight end Tory Johnson made a leaping catch for 19 yards, and Wilson scored from five yards out for a 14-0 lead.
Virginia Tech squandered another first-half scoring threat when Carter Worley missed a 39-yard field goal midway through the second quarter.
It appeared West Virginia would capitalize on a penalty after the Hokies ran into Brad Cooper on a missed field-goal attempt.
Instead, Virginia Tech got its only score on the next play.
Tech’s Vegas Robinson returned a fumble by Wilson 17 yards before he appeared to be tackled. But the ball squirted loose, and Vincent Fuller grabbed it at midfield and went untouched for a score two minutes before halftime.
Virginia Tech allows only 88 rushing yards per game but gave up 82 to Wilson in the first half alone.
Tech, the league’s least-penalized team, was flagged 13 times for 116 yards.