Virginia left tackle Eugene Monroe said he's rarely had so much fun in a football game, and not just because the Cavaliers upset Georgia Tech 24-17 on Saturday.
The enjoyment for Monroe was competing against Yellow Jackets defensive ends Michael Johnson and Derrick Morgan in battles that showcased three NFL prospects.
Monroe and fellow tackle Will Barker more than distinguished themselves as Virginia allowed just one sack.
"I'm really not under pressure at all back there," quarterback Marc Verica said after completing 29 of 39 passes for 270 yards and two touchdowns.
The one sack was costly as Johnson beat Monroe and jarred the ball loose from Verica.
Morgan recovered at Virginia's 31 to set up a field goal that tied the game at 17.
ODD PENALTY Virginia coach Al Groh was penalized 5 yards on Georgia Tech's final possession for a sideline violation.
Groh said he was attempting to make sure cornerback Ras-I Dowling knew to match up against receiver Demaryius Thomas.
In making his point, Groh came several steps onto the field after an incomplete pass, and head linesman Elmo Gray threw the flag.
"I guess the official thought it was an important thing to do at that time of the game to make his presence known," Groh said.
The infraction gave Georgia Tech a fourth-and-6 rather than fourth-and-11, and the Jackets converted with a 6-yard pass to Thomas.
But on the next play, Vic Hall intercepted Josh Nesbitt to end the Jackets' hopes.
HIGH RISK, HIGH REWARD That's the triple-option offense, Georgia Tech's included.
Nesbitt's two lost fumbles give the Jackets a league-high 26 fumbles, of which they've lost 14.
Virginia nose guard Nate Collins recovered the first after a nasty scrum.
"I was getting my fingers pulled back," Collins said. "But that's part of football, under-the-pile stuff that no one else sees."
INJURY UPDATE Inside linebacker Antonio Appleby dressed but missed the game with the sprained ankle he sustained last week against North Carolina.
"He made more progress in the last 48 hours than in the preceding five days," Groh said.
Darren Childs, who earned the staff's confidence with 10 tackles in relief of Appleby last week, filled in admirably again with five tackles.
Also: Kicker Yannick Reyering returned after missing one game with a knee ailment.
He made a 25-yard field goal on the Cavaliers' opening possession and converted all three of his extra points.
Nose guard Nick Jenkins (ankle) did not play. Collins made a career-best six tackles in his place.
ALL IN THE FAMILY Virginia receiver Maurice Covington was eager to see his uncle Tony after the game.
Tony Covington was a tight end on the 1990 Georgia Tech team that defeated No. 1 Virginia at Scott Stadium en route to a share of the national championship.
Covington caught two passes in the Jackets' 41-38 victory.
His nephew was better Saturday. Maurice caught five passes for 76 yards, 34 coming on a touchdown.
"He's outside waiting for me," Covington said of his uncle. "I can't wait to talk to him."
The Cavaliers' victories over North Carolina and Georgia Tech are their first consecutive wins over ranked opponents since 2002, when they defeated North Carolina State and Maryland, both at Scott Stadium. ...
Virginia converted a sterling 11 of 18 third downs. Georgia Tech was 4-for-10.
ON DECK Virginia hosts Miami at noon Saturday. The Hurricanes (5-3, 2-2 ACC) defeated Wake Forest 16-10 on Saturday.
The Cavaliers embarrassed Miami 48-0 last season in the Hurricanes' final game at the historic Orange Bowl.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun