Kent State............0 0 0 0 - 0 Virginia Tech (20)... 3 3 7 10 - 23 Scoring Summary: 1st Quarter 03:46 VT - Pace 34 yd FG 2nd Quarter 02:52 VT - Pace 37 yd FG 3rd Quarter 10:42 VT - Ore 6 yd run (Pace) 4th Quarter 12:21 VT - Pace 24 yd FG 11:11 VT - Burchette 15 yd fumble return (Pace)
#20 Virginia Tech overcame a sloppy offensive effort to pitch their third shutout of the season, beating visiting Kent State 23-0 on Saturday. The Hokies improved to 8-2 overall and remain 4-2 in the ACC. The Golden Flashes drop to 5-5 overall.
Playing without injured starters Brandon Frye and Ryan Shuman, the Virginia Tech offensive line struggled to block the Kent State defensive front for the entire game. Sophomore tailback Branden Ore had just 72 yards rushing on 25 carries, an average of 2.9 yards per carry. Ore did manage to score one touchdown.
The offensive line also had trouble protecting Sean Glennon in the first half. They allowed two sacks in the first two quarters of play, but none in the second half. As his protection got better, so did Glennon. He completed 12-of-22 passes for 141 yards, with no touchdowns and no interceptions. Glennon had two passes dropped, and a touchdown pass to Sam Wheeler called back because of a penalty.
All 12 of Glennon’s completions went to wide receivers. Josh Morgan was Tech’s leading receiver, with four receptions for 50 yards. David Clowney hauled in three catches for 37 yards, while Eddie Royal caught three for 24 yards. Justin Harper had two receptions for 30 yards.
While the Tech offense struggled, the defense more than made up for it. Besides recording the shutout, Bud Foster’s unit allowed just 182 yards of total offense. 49 of Kent State’s yards came on one passing play, and another 28 came on a fake punt in the fourth quarter.
The Hokies allowed just 98 yards of passing offense. That marks the third straight game that Tech has allowed less than 100 yards through the air. The 98 yards passing by Kent State was the most allowed by the Hokies since Southern Miss threw for 132.
Vince Hall had an outstanding game from his middle linebacker position. The r-junior led the team with 15 tackles. He also forced a fumble and recovered a fumble. No other Tech defender had more than five tackles.
Chris Ellis had yet another good game from his defensive end position, recording 3.5 tackles for loss, with 1.5 sacks. Defensive tackle Carlton Powell also had a sack, and cornerback Brandon Flowers had half-a-sack.
Flowers continued his excellent play with three passes defended. He nearly intercepted two passes in the end zone, and laid out a Kent State receiver with a big hit. Macho Harris had an interception for the Hokies. Noland Burchette recovered a fumble in mid air after Chris Ellis jarred the ball loose from the quarterback and returned it 15 yards for a touchdown.
As noted, neither team could get much offense going, and the Hokies had to rely on their defense to force a turnover in order to get on the scoreboard in the first quarter. With 6:53 left in the first quarter, Kent State quarterback Michael Machen coughed the ball up on his own 35 yard line, and Tech linebacker Vince Hall recovered the fumble.
The Tech offense had great field position, but couldn’t manage to get a touchdown. The Hokies picked up one first down when Glennon hit Josh Morgan on an 11 yard slant, but they could get no closer than the Kent State 17 yard line. Brandon Pace was called on for a field goal attempt, and he nailed a 34 yarder with 3:46 left in the first quarter to put Virginia Tech up 3-0.
Both offenses were stagnant throughout the remainder of the half, but the Hokies were able to get on the scoreboard again in the second quarter after they were handed good field position. After Nic Schmitt pinned Kent State at their own four yard line, the Golden Flashes tried the pooch punt on third down, which quarterback Michael Machen hitting a 40 yarder that was down on the Kent State 47.
The Hokies picked up two first downs on the drive, but could get no closer than the Kent State 20 yard line. Brandon Pace was called upon for the second time in the half, and his 37 yard field goal gave Virginia Tech a 6-0 lead with 2:52 left in the second quarter. That score would stand up until halftime.
Virginia Tech managed to put an offensive touchdown on the scoreboard on their first possession of the third quarter. The drive started on their own 35 yard line. Glennon completed a 13 yard pass to Josh Morgan on the first play of the drive to the 48 yard line. Three plays later the Hokies were facing third and 10, and Glennon found David Clowney for a 14 yard gain to the Kent State 38, and a roughing the passer penalty at the end of the play gave the Hokies a first down at the 23.
Tech was later aided by another penalty, this time pass interference, and the Hokies had the ball at the six yard line with a first down. As usual, they turned to Branden Ore, and he delivered. Ore took the handoff, broke to the right and found the end zone. The extra point by Brandon Pace was good, making the score 13-0 with 10:42 remaining in the third quarter.
After Kent State was forced to punt on their ensuing possession, the Hokies had a chance to break the game open. Eddie Royal broke off a great punt return to the Kent State 11 yard line, but he was stripped of the ball at the end of the play, and Kent State recovered.
After the fumble recovery, the Golden Flashes mounted their only scoring threat of the night. Quarterback Michael Machen hit wide receiver Najah Pruden on a deep crossing pattern for a 49 yard gain to the Tech 37, and on the next play tailback Eugene Jarvis had an 18 yard run to the 19.
Kent State advanced the ball to the Tech six yard line, but couldn’t punch it in. Brandon Flowers broke up a pass in the end zone and Carlton Powell recorded a sack, which pushed the Golden Flashes back to the 15. They brought in Nate Reed to attempt a 32 yard field goal, but he missed it to the right, and Kent State missed their best chance to score on the Hokies.
The Hokies took over on their own 20 yard line and embarked on their best offensive drive of the game, but couldn’t convert it into a touchdown. Sean Glennon was 3-of-4 on the drive for 49 yards. He completed a 20 yard pass to Justin Harper, a 15 yarder to Josh Morgan and a 14 yard pass to David Clowney.
On second and goal from the Kent State six yard line, Glennon fired a pass to the back of the end zone that was caught by Sam Wheeler for a touchdown. But a penalty flag on Josh Morgan for illegal motion negated the touchdown. Tech tried to run the ball on two straight plays, but failed, and they settled for a Brandon Pace 24 yard field goal to take their lead to 16-0 with 12:21 left in the game.
The Tech defense put the final nail in Kent State’s coffin on the next possession. On second down from the Kent State 20, Chris Ellis broke through the left side of the line and blindsided Michael Machen, who was just setting up to pass. The impact sent the ball flying into the arms of Noland Burchette, who took it back 15 yards for a touchdown. Machen’s arm wasn’t going forward, which made the play a fumble, so Ellis was given credit for a sack on the play. The Hokies led 23-0, and the game was no longer in doubt.
Kent State moved the ball into Tech territory on their final drive thanks in part to a fake punt. The Golden Flashes snapped the ball to an upback, who optioned to punter Nate Reed. Reed took it 28 yards to the Virginia Tech 46. But the drive was later stopped by Macho Harris, who made an athletic interception near the sideline at the 10 yard line.
Unfortunately Harris was injured on the play, and he appeared to be favoring his right arm as he was taken from the field. We’ll know more on his status later in the week.
Virginia Tech will return to action next Saturday when they travel to Wake Forest. The Demon Deacons whipped Florida State 30-0 in Tallahassee on Saturday night, and are currently battling for the Atlantic Division championship and the right to play in the ACC Championship Game. Kickoff is set for 7pm and the game will be televised by ESPN2.
STATISTICS VT KSU ---- ---- First downs 14 9 Rushed-yards 36-73 34-84 Passing yards 141 98 Sacked-yards lost 2-14 3-31 Return yards 62 101 Passes 12-22-0 6-16-1 Punts 5-47.8 7-37.6 Fumbles-lost 3-1 4-2 Penalties-yards 5-50 9-71 Time of possession 28:26 31:34 Att: 66,233 INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS RUSHING-Virginia Tech, Ore 25-72, Glennon 6-2 Whitaker 1-1, TEAM 1-(-1), K.Lewis 3-(-1). KSU, Jarvis 21-62, Reed 1-28, Rogers 3-6, Drager 3-5 Machen 6-(-17). PASSING-Virginia Tech, Glennon 12-22-141. KSU, Machen 6-16-98-1. RECEIVING-Virginia Tech, Morgan 4-50, Clowney 3-37 Royal 3-24, Harper 2-30. KSU, Sitko 2-29, Pruden 1-49 Woodson 1-10, Jarvis 1-6, Garner 1-4.