Clemson used a spectacular third quarter to outscore Virginia Tech by 21 points and to capture the ACC football championship 38-10 before a record crowd of 73,675 at Bank of America Stadium.
The victory sends Clemson to the Orange Bowl, via the ACC's automatic bid into a BCS game. It appears likely the Tigers (10-3) will be paired against West Virginia of the Big East when bids are awarded Sunday evening.
This will be Clemson's first appearance in the Orange Bowl since the Tigers' national championship in 1981.
The Tigers broke open a 10-10 halftime tie by outgaining the Hokies 210 yards to 51 in the third quarter. The Tigers entered this game having lost three of four, and quarterback Tajh Boyd had suffered numerous sacks and interceptions in that four-game skid.
But Saturday night he threw two touchdowns in the space of three minutes in the third quarter to break open this game.
Boyd found tight end Dwayne Allen for an eight-yard score. Then, wide receiver Sammy Watkins broke behind Virginia Tech's defense, and Boyd found him in stride for a 53-yard touchdown completion.
Two minutes later, Clemson tailback Andre Ellington ran 29 yards up the left sideline to make it Clemson 31, Virginia Tech 10 with about six minutes left in the third quarter.
And just to complete the domination, Boyd ran a one-yard keeper in the first two minutes of the fourth quarter to make it a 38-10 lead.
The Hokies (11-2) will likely head to the Chick-fil-A Bowl, perhaps to play Auburn.
Virginia Tech forged a 10-10 tie with a second left in the first half on a 42-yard field goal by Cody Journell. That was the longest field goal of Journell's college career.
The Hokies drove from their own 17 in the half's last four minutes to set up that field goal. The game was tied at 7-7 at the end of the first quarter. Clemson scored first, thanks to a fumble review that gave the Tigers the ball 24 yards from a touchdown about three minutes into the game.
Thomas lost the ball, but referees initially ruled he was down before fumble. A video review turned the ball over to Virginia Tech, on a recovery by Branch.
Three plays later, Boyd found tight end Dwayne Allen down the left sideline for all 24 yards to the end zone. This was Allen's seventh touchdown reception of the season, tying a Clemson record for tight ends.