2008 Football Game Recap: Hokies Blow Late Lead, Fall to ECU 27-22

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Virginia Tech (17)..........0 14 2  6 - 22
East Carolina.............. 0  7 6 14 - 27

Scoring Summary:

2nd Quarter
12:19 VT - Virgil 30 yd fumble return (Keys)
08:54 VT - Lewis 6 yd run (Keys)
01:16 ECU - Williams 1 yd run (Ryan)

3rd Quarter
10:05 ECU - Bryant 12 yd pass from Pinkney 
10:05 VT - Virgil blocked PAT return for 2-pts

4th Quarter
14:56 VT - Evans 3 yd run (PAT missed)
03:36 ECU - Pinkney 3 yd run (Ryan)
01:52 ECU - Lee 27 yd blocked punt return (Ryan)


Charlotte, NC – Virginia Tech led East Carolina by nine points in the fourth quarter, but couldn’t close the deal. The Pirates scored two touchdowns in the final minutes to pull out a 27-22 victory over the #17 Hokies on Saturday in Charlotte.

The Hokies led 22-13, but East Carolina scored two touchdowns over the final 3:36 to get the win. ECU quarterback Patrick Pinkney had a great game, completing 19-of-23 passes for 211 yards and a touchdown. He also had one rushing touchdown.

His counterpart, Sean Glennon, struggled. Throwing mostly short passes throughout the game, Glennon was 14-of-23 for 139 yards and two touchdowns. 62 of his yards came on one passing play to Dyrell Roberts. As an offense, the Hokies had just 243 yards, while the Pirates gained 369 against the young Tech defense, which had a poor tacking performance.

Virginia Tech’s offensive line appeared to be much improved, although the stats didn’t show it. Tech finished with 104 yards on the ground. They were limited because East Carolina played a lot of defenders close to the line of scrimmage, showing utter disrespect for the Hokie passing game. Kenny Lewis had 11 carries for 63 yards for a touchdown, while Darren Evans carried the ball 12 times for 37 yards and a touchdown.

Tight end Andre Smith, showing the improved receiving ability that he flashed in the offseason, led Tech in receiving with three catches for 32 yards.

Defensively, the Hokies missed numerous tackles, though their opportunistic play helped Tech hold the lead for nearly 57 minutes. Stephan Virgil picked up a dropped backwards pass in the second quarter and returned it for a touchdown. Virgil later caught a blocked extra point in mid air and returned it for two points.

Cam Martin led the Hokies with 11 tackles. Tech had just two tackles for loss during the game, one by Martin and one by Cody Grimm, both whip linebackers. The Hokie defensive line got virtually no penetration the entire game.

Recap

Tech got off to a good start, as Kenny Lewis returned the opening kickoff to the Tech 37 yard line. Lewis later busted a 24 yard run to the ECU 20. The drive ground to a halt when Sean Glennon’s first pass of the game was intercepted by Quentin Cotton on the 9. Glennon tried to get the ball to Greg Boone, but Boone couldn’t reel it in, and it deflected into the air. Dyrell Roberts was wide open on a 5-yard out on the play.

The Tech defense held East Carolina to a three-and-out, and the Hokies got the ball back on their own 44. VT drove the ball downfield at will, with Darren Evans running effectively. Sean Glennon also completed two passes to Danny Coale on the drive, and the Hokies took the ball all the way to the ECU 5, where they faced fourth and a long 1.

Frank Beamer elected to go for it on fourth down, but Evans was stopped by ECU strong safety J.J. Milbrook. The Hokies got into the red zone on their first two possessions, but the offense could not put up any points.

The Hokies missed another opportunity on their next possession, which came early in the second quarter. Facing third and 11, Glennon went deep to Ike Whitaker. He put the pass between the ECU cornerback and safety and hit Whitaker right in the hands. It would have been a long touchdown, or a big gain at the least, but the one-time Hokie quarterback couldn’t haul it in. Tech was forced to punt.

The Tech defense made up for it on the next ECU possession. The Pirates attempted a slot receiver screen, and the pass was thrown behind the line of scrimmage. The receiver couldn’t handle the pass, and Stephan Virgil came up from his cornerback position to pick up the ball and run it back 30 yards for a touchdown. The extra point made it 7-0 Hokies with 12:19 left in the second quarter.

The Hokies made a big play on special teams next. ECU’s Dalvon Mack couldn’t handle the short kickoff, and a big hit by Tech’s Matt Reidy jarred the ball loose even further. Reidy jumped on the ball, and the Hokies had possession at the ECU 25.

Glennon began the drive by completing two passes to Andre Smith for a total of 21 yards. Three plays later, Kenny Lewis broke a tackle and took it in from six yards out. With 8:54 left in the first half, the Hokies led 14-0, and things looked good.

Virginia Tech was in control of the game until shortly before the half. Tech took over on their own 23. On the first play from scrimmage, Glennon was sacked by Quentin Cotton and Zack Slate for a six yard loss. On the next play, Glennon’s pass was intercepted by Nick Johnson and returned to the Tech 1.

The Tech defense held on the first two downs, but on third down, ECU ran it in from 1 yard out, making the score 14-7 Hokies with 1:16 left before the half. That score stood up heading into halftime.

The Hokies controlled the field position battle in the first half up until the ECU touchdown. In the second half, the Pirates began with good field position. After Tim Pisano’s opening second half kickoff made it to just the 19, ECU returned the kickoff 19 yards to their own 39. They marched downfield on nine plays, with Pinkney hitting Jamar Bryant on a 12 yard touchdown in the corner of the end zone.

ECU was about to tie the game, but defensive tackle John Graves broke through the line and blocked the extra point. Stephan Virgil snagged it out of the air and ran it all the way back for the 2-pt. conversion. That made the score 16-13 Hokies with 10:05 left in the third quarter, though they were just hanging on.

The Tech offense moved the ball well on their next drive, taking it all the way to the ECU 27 yard line before being stopped. Dustin Keys came on for a 44 yard field goal attempt, but it bounced off the right upright, and was no good.

The Hokies stopped ECU on fourth and 3 from the VT 34 on the next drive, and the Tech offense quickly took advantage. Sean Glennon found true freshman Dyrell Roberts down the right sideline for a 62 yard gain to the ECU 6. Two plays later, r-freshman tailback Darren Evans found the end zone. Keys missed the extra point, but the Hokies still held a 22-13 lead with 14:56 remaining in the game.

Halfway through the fourth quarter, the Hokies still held that same lead when ECU got the ball on their own 27 with 7:41 left in the game. On the first play of the drive, Pinkney found Dwayne Harris for a 21 yard gain. On the next play, Harris took an end around for a 15-yard gain to the Tech 37. Pinkney later converted a key third and 7 to the Tech 24.

On second and goal from the Tech 3, ECU ran a read option. Pinkney faked the handoff to the tailback, which completely fooled defensive end Orion Martin, and then ran through the open gap for the touchdown. With 3:36 left in the game, the margin was narrowed to 22-20 Hokies.

The Hokies needed to pick up a few first downs to run out the clock on their ensuing drive. They were helped on the first play, as ECU was flagged for a 15-yard facemask penalty. That gave the Hokies a first down at their own 40 with 2:56 left in the game. That’s when it started going downhill for the Hokies, and ECU was able to keep time on the clock, as they had all three timeouts remaining.

On the next play Darren Evans was stopped for a one yard gain. However, the second down play was truly disastrous. Tech attempted a screen to Kenny Lewis. The play was stopped for a loss, but Lewis made it worse by trying to reverse his field, and he was stopped for a 10 yard loss on the play. Facing third and 19, the Hokies went with a draw up the middle, which was stopped after a six yard gain.

Tech was forced to punt. After playing great on special teams for most of the game, the Hokie punt protection team made a critical error. T.J. Lee broke into the backfield, blocked the Brent Bowden punt, and then picked it up and returned it for a touchdown. The extra point was good, making it 27-22 with 1:52 left.

Virginia Tech is 0-1 for the first time since 2004. They will look to get back on track against Furman next Saturday at 1:30pm.


STATISTICS

                          VT         ECU
                         ----        ----
First downs               12          19
Rushed-yards          35-104      35-142
Passing yards            139         201
Sacked-yards lost       2-12         0-0
Return yards             105          90
Passes               14-23-1     19-25-0
Punts                   3-31      3-43.3
Fumbles-lost             2-0         4-2
Penalties-yards          1-0        6-60
Time of possession     26:52       33:08
Att: 72,169

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS 

RUSHING-Virginia Tech, Lewis 11-63,
Evans 12-37, Boone 3-4, Glennon 7-3, Jefferson 1-2
Oglesby 1-(-4). ECU, Simmons 17-54, Williams 10-48
Harris 3-32, Pinkney 11-24

PASSING-Virginia Tech, Glennon 14-23-139-2.
ECU, Pinkney 19-23-201, Kass 0-2-0.

RECEIVING-Virginia Tech, Smith 3-32,
Whitaker 3-14, Coale 2-15, Lewis 2-(-6), Roberts 1-62,
Boone 1-9, Boyce 1-7, Evans 1-6. ECU, Drew 5-65, 
Harris 4-68, Bryant 4-34, Lee 2-26, Simmons 2-11
Gidrey 1-5, Williams 1-2.
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