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Ball’s Scoring Pass Lifts Georgia Tech

From Times Wire Services

A wacky fumble recovery led to Reggie Ball’s four-yard scoring pass to Jonathan Smith that gave Georgia Tech a 7-3 victory over Maryland in an Atlantic Coast Conference game Thursday night at Atlanta.

The Yellow Jackets (5-3, 3-2 ACC) won their fourth in a row. Maryland (5-3, 2-2) had a five-game winning streak ended.

The key play came late in the third quarter.

Redshirt freshman Joel Statham, filling in for injured Maryland quarterback Scott McBrien, fumbled when hit from behind by Keyaron Fox. One Maryland player and two Georgia Tech defenders tried -- and failed -- to recover the bouncing ball before Jonathan Cox finally corralled it at the Terrapin 35, returning it 17 yards.

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Ball then converted his scoring pass and the Yellow Jacket defense did the rest.

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It was a wild night in Morgantown, W.Va., after the hometown West Virginia Mountaineers upset No. 3 Virginia Tech, 28-7, on Wednesday.

Rowdy fans were to blame for about 90 fires, at least 12 of which were described as “sizable” by emergency officials. One car was damaged, and streets were littered with broken glass, bottle rockets and firecrackers.

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One student was charged with battery after punching an officer, police said. About 20 other people were charged with setting fires, disorderly conduct and public intoxication.

At one point, about 5,000 students gathered on a road outside the stadium. Inside, police used pepper spray on fans who tried to tear down the goal posts after the game.

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Virginia Tech Coach Frank Beamer is not expected to be disciplined for slapping a player on the helmet during the Hokies’ loss to West Virginia, Athletic Director Jim Weaver said.

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Beamer slapped receiver Ernest Wilford on the sidelines during a heated argument. He apologized afterward.

Beamer, who has coached at Virginia Tech for 17 years and is 2-21 against top 10 teams, is preparing his team to play No. 2 Miami on Nov. 1.

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The remainder of Mike Price’s $20 million lawsuit over his firing as Alabama’s coach was thrown out in Birmingham, Ala., with U.S. District Judge Scott Coogler also dismissing claims against University President Robert Witt. Coogler also ordered Price to pay the costs of the case.

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Price filed a separate lawsuit seeking $20 million over a Sports Illustrated story about his trip to Pensacola, Fla., a trip that resulted in his firing. That case is pending.

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A study by the Alabama Department of Public Safety said state teams were at times better protected than highways.

State troopers have escorted teams and their coaches for many years, but with an 18% cut in funding, the schools have been told they will have to begin paying for the escorts.

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As many as 17 troopers escort 10 teams on a given Saturday, whereas six or fewer troopers typically patrol state highways at night. Because of the shortage of available troopers, the department has even put mannequins in parked patrol cars to deter speeders.


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