Southern Miss..... 6 0 0 0 - 6 Virginia Tech...... 7 12 3 14 - 36 Scoring Summary: 1st Quarter 10:52 USM - McCaleb 38 yd FG 08:02 VT - Ore 2 yd run (Pace kick) 04:17 USM - McCaleb 37 yd FG 2nd Quarter 13:01 VT - Pace 26 yd FG 11:50 VT - TEAM safety 06:16 VT - Morgan 38 yd pass from Glennon (Pace) 3rd Quarter 03:31 VT - Pace 34 yd FG 4th Quarter 10:21 VT - Ore 70 yd run (Pace) 00:44 VT - Lewis 14 yd run (Pace)
Blacksburg, VA — After two consecutive ACC losses against Georgia Tech and Boston College, the Hokies welcomed Southern Miss into Lane Stadium on Saturday night, and promptly dismissed them with a 36-6 thrashing. The Hokies improve to 5-2 on the season, and remain 2-2 in ACC play. Southern Miss drops to 4-3.
Frank Beamer hinted following the Boston College game that the Hokies may be changing their style of play offensively. They did exactly that on Saturday night by going back to relying on the running game, and Branden Ore came through. The r-sophomore carried the ball 23 times for 207 yards and two touchdowns. That total represents the sixth highest rushing total in Virginia Tech history.
The offensive line played much better this time around, as Southern Miss was not able to get any penetration into the backfield. Ore did not lose any yards on any carry during the night, and Sean Glennon was sacked just once. As a team, the Hokies rushed for 284 yards and averaged 7.3 yards per carry, by far their best performance of the year.
Virginia Tech did not throw the ball very much during the game. Sean Glennon completed 4-of-11 passes for 100 yards, with a touchdown and an interception. He completed a 40 yard pass to Eddie Royal on Tech’s first play from scrimmage, and later hooked up with Josh Morgan for a 38 yard touchdown. Morgan led the team in receiving with two catches for 49 yards and a touchdown.
The Virginia Tech defense showed why they are rated one of the top defenses in the nation this year by holding Southern Miss to 216 yards of total offense. The Golden Eagles rushed for just 82 yards on the Hokies and averaged 2.2 yards per carry. Those numbers are hurt because the Hokie defense registered six sacks on the night for a loss of 48 yards, an amazing stat when you consider that Southern Miss has not allowed a sack since their season opener against Florida.
Vince Hall had a very good game from his mike linebacker spot. The r-junior led the team with 12 tackles, forced a fumble and also had a sack. Hall was in a tight battle with fellow linebacker Xavier Adibi for the team lead in tackles, but Adibi had just three on Saturday night. Hall now has 59 for the year, while Adibi checks in with 49.
Five other Hokies recorded a sack during the game, including Noland Burchette, Barry Booker, Chris Ellis, Carlton Powell and cornerback Brandon Flowers. The Golden Eagles were just 4-of-16 on third down conversions for the night, thanks to the stellar play of the Tech defense.
As expected, r-freshman Ike Whitaker saw some playing time at quarterback for the Hokies. Whitaker finished the game 2-of-5 for 14 yards through the air. He also carried the ball five times for 26 yards.
The Virginia Tech defense was somewhat shaky to begin the game, but settled down after the first two drives. Southern Miss connected on a field goal on their first possession of the game, but their drive had previously been kept alive when Cary Wade was penalized for roughing the kicker. That gave the Golden Eagles an automatic first down at the Tech 39, and from there they managed to move the ball far enough for Darren McCaleb to hit a 38 yard field goal with 10:52 left in the first quarter.
The Hokies wasted little time answering. On their first play from scrimmage, Sean Glennon dropped back in the pocket and fired a post pattern to his former high school teammate, Eddie Royal. Royal hauled in the pass for a 40 yard gain to the Southern Miss 31.
After three straight Branden Ore runs, Glennon found Josh Morgan for an 11 yard gain to the two yard line, and from there Ore was able to run it in off the right side of the line of scrimmage. After Brandon Pace’s extra point, the Hokies led 7-3 with 8:02 remaining in the first quarter.
Southern Miss hit two big plays on their ensuing possession. First, quarterback Jeremy Young found tight end Shawn Nelson on a 23 yard pass play, and then Young ran for 34 yards on the very next play. However the drive stalled at the Tech 20 yard line, and McCaleb connected on a 37 yard field goal to make the score 7-6 at 4:17 mark.
The teams traded turnovers on their next two possessions. Sean Glennon was intercepted by Southern Miss rover Brandon Sumrall at the Tech 34 yard line, but the Tech defense came to the aid of the offense when Vince Hall blitzed up the middle and sacked Jeremy Young, forcing a fumble. Carlton Powell jumped on the loose ball for the Hokies, and the Southern Miss threat was averted.
The Hokies then drove from their own 48 yard line to inside the Southern Miss 10 yard line. Branden Ore was responsible for all but one yard during the drive. Tech had a chance to get a touchdown, but Josh Hyman dropped a Glennon pass on a crossing pattern at the one yard line. The pass was very catchable, but slightly behind Hyman, and Tech settled for a 26 yard field goal by Brandon Pace to make the score 10-6 with 13:01 left in the second quarter.
The Southern Miss offense started to fall apart on their next possession. Jeremy Young was sacked by Noland Burchette at his own six yard line, and the Golden Eagles faced a third and 24. Bud Foster brought Brandon Flowers on a corner blitz, which forced Young to throw the ball away. But there were no receivers in the area, which led to an intentional grounding call in the end zone. That gave Brandon Flowers a sack and Virginia Tech a safety, making the score 12-6 at the 11:50 mark of the second quarter.
The Hokies could do nothing with the ball on their ensuing possession, but they did start to turn around the field position game in their favor. Nic Schmitt’s punt was downed at the Southern Miss seven yard line. The Golden Eagles were forced to punt shortly thereafter, and Tech took over at the Southern Miss 38 yard line.
On the first play of the Hokies’ drive, Sean Glennon dropped back and found Josh Morgan in the front left corner of the end zone for a 38 yard touchdown. Pace added the extra point, and the score was 19-6 Hokies with 6:16 left in the second quarter.
From there, the Hokies began to dominate the field position battle. Southern Miss turned the ball over on a Damion Carter fumble on their next possession, and while the Hokies didn’t score, Nic Schmitt landed his punt at the Southern Miss two yard line. Schmitt had an excellent game. One of his punts was downed on the one yard line in the second half. The Golden Eagles had no chance to score from there, and the Hokies went into halftime up 19-6.
A big test for the Tech defense came in the third quarter with the score still 19-6. Southern Miss had the ball at the Tech 31 yard line and faced second and two. Jeremy Youngâ€™s pass on second down was incomplete, and Conrad Chanove netted just one yard on third down before he was stopped by Barry Booker and D.J. Parker.
Southern Miss elected to go for it on fourth down, but Chanove was stopped dead in his tracks for a no gain by Barry Booker and Noland Burchette. The Hokies held on fourth down, and Southern Miss would never seriously threaten to challenge for the win from then on out.
Virginia Tech recorded the first score of the second half on their next possession. Big plays on the drive included a 16 yard run by Branden Ore and an 11 yard completion from Glennon to Justin Harper on third down. The Hokies couldn’t make it into the end zone, but Brandon Pace was able to nail a 34 yard field goal to make the score 22-6 with 3:31 remaining in the third quarter.
Branden Ore blew the game open in the fourth quarter. The Hokies had the ball on their own 30 yard line, and on the first play of the drive Ore took the handoff right up the middle, made a man miss, and then outran the rest of the Southern Miss defense for a 70 yard touchdown. Brandon Pace’s extra point made the score 29-6 with 10:21 left in the game.
Virginia Tech added a meaningless touchdown with 44 seconds remaining in the game. Kenny Lewis scored on a 14 yard run around the left side, with help from a nice block from Ike Whitaker down field. Pace’s extra point made the final score 36-6 Virginia Tech.
The Hokies have a quick turnaround, returning to action on Thursday night in Lane Stadium against the Clemson Tigers, who are regarded as the ACC’s best football team after their 31-7 drubbing of Georgia Tech on Saturday night. The game will be televised by ESPN at 7:30.
STATISTICS VT USM ---- ---- First downs 16 11 Rushed-yards 39-284 37-82 Passing yards 114 134 Sacked-yards lost 1-2 6-48 Return yards 87 78 Passes 6-16-1 13-24-0 Punts 5-36.2 5-41.4 Fumbles-lost 1-0 4-2 Penalties-yards 5-41 7-45 Time of possession 26:24 33:36 Att: 66,233 INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS RUSHING-Virginia Tech, Ore 23-207, Whitaker 5-26 K.Lewis 2-19, Royal 2-17, Glennon 4-7, Morgan 1-6 Weatherford 1-1, E.Lewis 1-1. USM, Chanove 16-55 Young 15-13, Harrison 5-11, Weakley 1-3. PASSING-Virginia Tech, Glennon 4-11-100-1 Whitaker 2-5-14. USM, Young 13-24-134 RECEIVING-Virginia Tech, Morgan 2-49, Royal 1-40, Clowney 1-12, Harper 1-11, Wheeler 1-2. USM, Carter 2-44, Perine 2-27 Singleton 2-15, Chanove 2-7, Nelson 1-23, Barnes 1-9, Gray 1-4 Weakley 1-3, Johnson 1-2.