ATLANTA—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 PENALTYVirginia 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 REWARDThat'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 UPDATEInside 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.