Despite two turnovers deep in East Carolina territory and numerous penalties, Virginia Tech used the running game to tough out a 17-10 victory on Saturday afternoon. The Hokies moved to 2-0 on the season with the win.
Tech receivers suffered through a bad case of dropped passes, though East Carolina wasn’t much better. The Pirates dropped a sure touchdown pass over the middle, as well as a couple of interceptions. Logan Thomas finished 8-of-20 for 91 yards, with an interception in the end zone.
It was the running game that gave Frank Beamer his 200th win as Virginia Tech’s head coach. The Hokies ran for 241 yards on 50 carries. David Wilson led the charge with 26 carries for 138 yards, while Josh Oglesby added nine carries for 43 yards and both of Tech’s touchdowns. The Hokies ran the read option quite a bit, with Logan Thomas carrying the ball 11 times for 66 yards.
It was the Virginia Tech defense that stole the show. East Carolina was one of the top offensive teams in the country last year, yet the Hokies held them to just 112 yards of total offense, including -15 yards on the ground. Tech sacked Dominique Davis five times. Davis was sacked just 15 times in 2010, and wasn’t sacked at all last weekend against South Carolina.
Corey Marshall, Derrick Hopkins, James Gayle and J.R. Collins all had solo sacks for the Hokies, while Jeron Gouveia-Winslow and Bruce Taylor shared a sack. Tech picked off Dominique Davis four times, though only one of the interceptions counted. The other three interceptions were taken away because of penalties by the Hokies (two offsides penalties, and one questionable pass interference call). Kyle Fuller recorded Tech’s only interception that actually went into the box score.
The Hokies trailed 7-3 at halftime, but had numerous opportunities to close the game out. Cody Journell missed a 30 yard field goal in the first half, and Logan Thomas threw an interception in the end zone from the six yard line. The pass was intercepted on a terrific play in the back of the end zone by safety Damon Magazu.
Virginia Tech also blew an opportunity early in the third quarter. Kyle Fuller made a great break on a Davis pass and intercepted it at the East Carolina 24. On the very next play, David Wilson fumbled away the football, losing yet another scoring opportunity for the Virginia Tech offense.
The East Carolina offense could not score against the Virginia Tech defense without the benefit of a short field. Their only touchdown drive was a 38 yard drive following a 30 yard Scott Demler punt from the Tech 8. On the field goal drive in the second half, ECU started their possession at their own 49 and were aided by a pass interference call on Virginia Tech safety Eddie Whitley.
The Pirates were helped by 12 Virginia Tech penalties for 92 yards. The Conference USA officiating crew didn’t call a single penalty on East Carolina. The Hokies won the time of possession battle 37:22 to 22:38, and held the ball for over 19 minutes in the second half. Tech also converted 6-of-14 third downs, but couldn’t get enough accomplished in the red zone to pull out a comfortable victory.
On an individual note, Jarrett Boykin caught four passes for 48 yards, and is now Virginia Tech’s leader in career receptions.
The Hokies will return to action next Saturday when they host Arkansas State at 4pm. The game will be televised by RSN. Check your local listings.