Virginia Tech (23) ... 6 7 0 3 - 16 East Carolina......... 0 3 0 0 - 3 Scoring Summary: 1st Quarter 08:59 VT - Waldron 41 yd FG 00:51 VT - Waldron 22 yd FG 2nd Quarter 02:06 VT - Taylor 13 yd rush (Waldron) 00:00 EC - Hartman 24 yd FG 4th Quarter 01:13 VT - Waldron 31 yd FG
Greenville, NC — The Hokies got back to Virginia Tech football on Thursday night, controlling the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball in a 16-3 win at East Carolina. Tech had over 200 yards of total offense at halftime, then spent the fourth quarter running out the clock. Ryan Williams finished with a career high 179 rushing yards, and with their sixth win of the year the Hokies are bowl eligible for the 17th consecutive season. Tech is now 6-3 on the season, and East Carolina dropped to 5-4.
Virginia Tech controlled the game from start to finish, and the final score could have been worse. At one point, Tyrod Taylor was tackled at the one yard line and fumbled through the back of the end zone, or else this game could have been a blowout.
The Hokies put up 379 yards of total offense despite sitting on the football for most of the fourth quarter. Tyrod Taylor had a solid all-around game, going 17-of-30 for 136 yards. He was very effective on the ground as well, carrying the ball 11 times for 61 yards, and he scored VT’s only touchdown of the game on a scramble. The Hokies used more designed runs with Taylor in this game, and he also used his legs to buy time to find receivers downfield.
As a team, Tech put up 242 rushing yards, averaging 5.4 yards per carry in the process. Danny Coale led the Hokies in receiving with six catches for 60 yards.
The Virginia Tech defense played a good game overall. ECU quarterback Patrick Pinkney, who was 19-of-23 for 211 yards last year against the Hokies, was not as effective on Thursday night. He was just 16-of-33 for 167 yards, with an interception.
Cody Grimm was the top player on defense for the Hokies. He led the team with 12 tackles, and he also recorded his first sack of the season. Grimm was a playmaker all night long with a forced fumble and a fumble recovery, and he also broke up a pass in the end zone.
The game was iced late in the fourth quarter when boundary cornerback Rashad Carmichael recorded his fifth interception of the season. He now ranks second in the ACC in interceptions.
Thanks to an impressive running game, Virginia Tech was able to dominate the time of possession. The Hokies held the ball for 34:57, while ECU had it for just 25:03. Tech had the ball for 10:30 in the fourth quarter, which ended any East Carolina chance for a comeback victory.
There wasn’t much action in the first two possessions of the game, as both offenses traded punts. The Tech defense was playing well at the line of scrimmage, and Patrick Pinkney couldn’t get anything going downfield. The Hokies got on the scoreboard first following ECU’s first punt.
Virginia Tech’s special teams helped the offense score their first three points of the game. A 33 yard punt return by Jayron Hosley, which was sprung by three crushing blocks, set the Hokies up with a first down on the ECU 31. The Tech offense failed to pick up a first down on the drive, but they did move the ball to the 24. Matt Waldron came on for a 41 yard field goal attempt, and it was good. The field goal gave the Hokies a 3-0 lead with 8:59 remaining in the first quarter.
After another punt by East Carolina, the Virginia Tech offense embarked on their best drive of the game. Unfortunately they couldn’t turn it into a touchdown, and they had to settle for another field gal. The Hokies went 75 yards in 14 plays, taking 6:03 off the clock.
Tyrod Taylor completed four consecutive passes at one point during the drive, including a 23 yarder to Dyrell Roberts. Tech advanced the ball to the ECU 5, but Taylor’s third down pass to Greg Boone was broken up in the end zone. Matt Waldron came on again and this time nailed a 22 yard field goal to make it a 6-0 game with 51 seconds left in the first quarter.
East Carolina finally got something going offensively on their next drive. A 24 yard completion to Darryl Freeney gave the Pirates the ball at the Tech 38, and they eventually drove it to the Hokie 20. A holding call gave ECU a first and 18 from the Tech 28, and that’s when Cody Grimm made the first of his big plays.
ECU completed a short dump off pass to tight end Rob Kass, and he was met head-to-head by Cody Grimm. Grimm was being driven back by the bigger Kass, but he reached down and ripped the ball free and fell on it himself. His strip and recovery gave the Hokies a first down at their own 25.
That’s when the Hokies threatened to blow open the game. A great 46 yard run down the right sideline by Ryan Williams, during which he broke three successive tackle attempts around the line of scrimmage, gave Tech the ball at the ECU 29. A 12 yard pass to Danny Coale moved the ball to the 17, and the Hokies were in business.
On the next play, Tyrod Taylor found daylight up the middle and darted towards the end zone. He was diving for a touchdown, but he was hit and lost control of the football inside the one yard line. The ball rolled through the back of the end zone, which gave East Carolina the ball at their own 20. It was a tough break for Taylor and the Hokies, but they finally managed to punch it in later in the half.
The Hokies went on another impressive drive in the second quarter to take a double digit lead. This one covered 79 yards on 12 plays and took 5:27 off the clock. Tech converted two third downs on the drive, both on passes by Tyrod Taylor. Ryan Williams had 39 rushing yards on the drive, and Taylor capped it with a 13 yard scramble to the left for a touchdown with 2:06 remaining in the first half. That made the score 13-0.
East Carolina finally got something going on their final possession of the half. Running the two-minute offense, they drove down to the Virginia Tech 7 yard line and threatened to score a touchdown before the half. However, Cody Grimm broke up Patrick Pinkney’s pass to the end zone with five seconds left, and ECU was forced to settle for a 24 yard field goal by Ben Hartman. The Hokies went into halftime with a 13-3 lead.
The Tech defense came up with another big play on East Carolina’s second drive of the third quarter. The Pirates were driving and faced first and 10 from the Tech 18. ECU went with an inside run, but tailback Giavani Ruffin couldn’t corral the handoff. The ball rolled free, and r-freshman linebacker Lydell Gibson got on the ground and recovered it for the Tech defense.
That was the last time East Carolina had the ball in Virginia Tech territory. Bud Foster’s defense was dominant for the rest of the game, using an array of blitzes to pressure quarterback Patrick Pinkney. They only sacked him once, but they threw off the timing of the ECU passing game, and the Tech defensive backs had excellent coverage downfield.
The game was clinched late in the fourth quarter when a short pass from Pinkney bounced off the hands of an ECU receiver and was intercepted by cornerback Rashad Carmichael at the ECU 13. The Hokies ran the ball three straight times and got a 31 yard field goal from Matt Waldron with 1:13 remaining in the game to make the score 16-3.
ECU failed to pick up a first down on their ensuing drive, and the Hokies took a knee to end the game. Virginia Tech returns to action next Saturday at Maryland. Kickoff is scheduled for 1pm, and the game can be seen on ESPN360.com.
STATISTICS VT ECU ---- ---- First downs 22 14 Rushed-yards 45-242 31-110 Passing yards 137 167 Sacked-yards lost 1-4 1-4 Return yards 72 75 Passes 17-30-0 16-35-1 Punts 7-44.9 8-46.5 Fumbles-lost 2-1 2-2 Penalties-yards 5-50 8-79 Time of possession 34:57 25:03 Att: 43,569 INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS RUSHING-Virginia Tech, Williams 26-179, Taylor 11-61, Oglesby 6-13, TEAM 1-(-3), Roberts 1-(-8). ECU, Lindsay 13-69, Ruffin 3-13, Harris 5-10, Freeney 1-9, Jackson 2-7, Pinkney 6-2, Jordan 1-0. PASSING-Virginia Tech, Taylor 17-30-137-0. ECU, Pinkney 16-33-167-1, Jordan 0-2-0-0. RECEIVING-Virginia Tech, Coale 6-60, Boykin 3-17, Williams 3-9, Roberts 2-31, Boyce 2-11, Davis 1-9. ECU, Taylor 5-60, Freeney 4-50, Harris 3-45, Jenkins 1-6, Kass 1-3, Gidrey 1-3, Lindsay 1-0.