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Jackets regroup to pound Cavaliers
Virginia Georgia Tech Heal
Georgia Tech running back Anthony Allen (18) looks for running room as Virginia linebackers LaRoy Reynolds (9) and Jeremiah Mathis (58) defend Saturday in Atlanta. - photo by Associated Press

ATLANTA — Anthony Allen enjoyed his first touchdown of the season so much he went back for more.

Allen ran for 195 yards and three touchdowns and Georgia Tech posted its best rushing total in an Atlantic Coast Conference game to beat Virginia 33-21 on Saturday.

Allen had touchdown runs of 6, 18 and 8 yards in the second half. The Yellow Jackets had 477 yards rushing, the fifth-best total in school history and their top total in an ACC game.

The big game was overdue for Allen, a senior who has taken over for Jonathan Dwyer at the Yellow Jackets' featured B-back position. Dwyer, a rookie with the Pittsburgh Steelers, watched from the Georgia Tech sideline as Allen enjoyed his breakout game.

"Man, I didn't know what to do," Allen said of long-awaited first touchdown. "It felt good to score my first touchdown — and my second and third."

Georgia Tech (4-2, 3-1) has back-to-back wins for the first time this season.

"Good win to build on," said coach Paul Johnson.

Quarterback Joshua Nesbitt added 21 carries for 109 yards and a touchdown. He overcame an interception and a lost fumble.

Nesbitt had a 31-yard pass to Stephen Hill on the first play of the game, setting the stage for a day of big gains for the Yellow Jackets.

Allen had long runs of 44 and 20 yards. Nesbitt had a 67-yard run. Roddy Jones had a 31-yard run.

"It seemed like we'd stop them and we'd stop them, then all of a sudden they'd break one," said Virginia coach Mike London. "You can't do that against a team that's No. 1 in the conference in rushing and sixth in the country. They're very good at what they do, and we had no margin for error."

The Yellow Jackets' previous best rushing total in an ACC game was 472 yards against Miami in 2008.

Virginia (2-3, 0-2) suffered its second straight ACC loss.

London took over for Al Groh, who was fired last year after nine seasons as Virginia's coach. He was hired by Johnson to head Georgia Tech's defense.

Groh was surrounded by his former Virginia players after the game. Many players hugged Groh.

"It wasn't a weird feeling; it was a warm feeling," Groh said.

"For those kids, it was a confirming feeling. They wanted to keep me in their lives, and I wanted to keep them in mine. ... Some of them will be my friends for life, but (Georgia Tech) is my team now."

Groh's defense held the Cavaliers to only 3 of 12 successful third-down conversions.

Virginia quarterback Marc Verica completed 18 of 31 passes for 239 yards and no touchdowns.

Verica was sacked four times as the Cavaliers struggled after a week of emphasizing better third-down production.

Virginia fullback Max Milien had a 37-yard touchdown run early in the second quarter. The Cavaliers trailed 20-14 after a 1-yard touchdown run by Keith Payne with 6:43 remaining in the third quarter.

Virginia was then held without a score until Payne's 1-yard run with only 49 seconds remaining. Payne led Virginia with 14 carries for 56 yards.

The Cavaliers trailed 27-14 when they were stopped on Verica's incomplete fourth-down pass from the Georgia Tech 2 with 10:58 remaining.

The Yellow Jackets put the game away with the 11-play touchdown drive which ended with Allen's third score.

Allen needed another 5 yards to become Georgia Tech's first player to rush for 200 yards since Roddy Jones had 214 in a win over Georgia on Nov. 29, 2008.

"I thought he played really good," Johnson said. "He ran through a lot of tackles."

Allen played two years at Louisville before transferring to Georgia Tech.

Allen's previous high at Georgia Tech was 127 yards rushing against Clemson last season. He had only one previous 100-yard game this season — 20 carries for 115 yards rushing in a win over North Carolina.

Allen's career high is 275 yards rushing for Louisville against Middle Tennessee State in 2007.

Georgia Tech, slowed by two first-half turnovers, dominated the statistics but led only 13-7 at halftime.

The Yellow Jackets stretched their lead as Allen ran for two touchdowns in the third quarter.

Scott Blair had field goals of 40 and 28 yards in the first half for Georgia Tech. The Yellow Jackets finally reached the end zone on Nesbitt's 1-yard run with only 36 seconds remaining in the half.