East Carolina.........0 7 0 0 - 7 Virginia Tech (9).... 3 7 0 7 - 17 Scoring Summary: 1st Quarter 04:26 VT - Dunlevy 25 yd FG 2nd Quarter 14:23 ECU - Johnson 2 yd run (Hartman) 03:07 VT - Harris 17 yd int. return (Dunlevy) 4th Quarter 13:07 VT - Wheeler 21 yd pass from Glennon (Dunlevy)
Virginia Tech overcame a feisty East Carolina team to win their season opener 17-7 in front of a packed house in Lane Stadium on Saturday afternoon. The Hokies were not sharp offensively or defensively, but the Pirates didn’t have the offensive firepower to beat them. Tech is now 1-0 on the season, and ECU is 0-1.
Virginia Tech’s running game was absolutely shut down on Saturday. Branden Ore only had 23 carries for 70 yards, but that was domination compared to Tech’s other backs. Kenny Lewis, Jr. had three carries for -15 yards, while Jahre Cheeseman carried it once for -3 yards. As a team, the Hokies had 31 carries for 33 yards, a 1.1 yards per carry average.
Sean Glennon threw an interception on his first pass attempt, but he rebounded to have a solid game statistically. Glennon was 22-of-33 for 245 yards, with one touchdown and one interception. Sophomore tight end Sam Wheeler was Tech’s leading receiver with seven catches for 81 yards. The Hokies finished with 278 yards of total offense, while ECU had 261.
Tech’s defense was solid, but not dominating. ECU stuck to the ground game and gained 142 yards rushing, but managed just 119 through the air. Vince Hall led the Hokies with 13 tackles, while Brandon Flowers and Xavier Adibi chipped in with 10 tackles apiece. Tech managed just two tackles for loss in the game.
The Hokie defense chipped in and helped out the offense with an interception returned for a touchdown by Macho Harris in the second quarter. Sophomore punter Brent Bowden helped the team tremendously by averaging 42.3 yards on six punts. Four of his six punts were downed inside the 20.
East Carolina went three and out on their first possession, but Tech’s first possession was even shorter. Sean Glennon threw an interception on the very first play from scrimmage to linebacker Pierre Bell. However the Pirates couldn’t capitalize, going three and out again.
The Hokies got on the board first on their second offensive possession. It was a scoring drive that went 14 plays and covered 82 yards, although Tech could only manage a field goal. The biggest plays of the drive were a 29 yard pass completion to Sam Wheeler over the middle and a 37 yard pass to Josh Hyman to the ECU five yard line. The Hokies couldn’t manage to punch it in, and they actually went backwards after Sean Glennon was sacked. Jud Dunlevy kicked a 25 yard field goal to put Tech up 3-0 with 4:26 remaining in the first quarter.
East Carolina went three and out again on their ensuing possession, and the Hokies got the ball back on their own 30 yard line. The drive started well, with Glennon completing a 17 yard pass to Josh Morgan to the 47. On the next play, tailback Branden Ore ran to the left side but was hit hard by Quentin Cotton. Ore coughed up the football, and ECU recovered on their own 48.
From there, the Pirates began a 13-play, 52 yard drive that resulted in a touchdown. Nearly all of the yardage was on the ground. Patrick Pinkney completed one pass to Steven Rogers for six yards, but ECU stuck to the ground game for the remainder of the drive. A 12 yard run by Chris Johnson and a 20 yard run by Dominique Lindsay on back-to-back plays jump started the drive, and eventually Johnson punched it in from two yards out. With 14:23 left in the second quarter, ECU led 7-3.
The game went back and forth for nearly the rest of the quarter, with neither offense able to establish themselves. However, Tech’s defense turned the tide of the game late in the half. Facing second and 10 from their own two yard line, ECU’s Brett Clay floated a pass to Macho Harris’ side of the field, and the junior cornerback easily picked it off and ran it back 17 yards for a touchdown. Jud Dunlevy added the extra point, and Tech led 10-7 with 3:07 remaining in the half.
Neither team could manage anymore offense in the first half, and the Hokies went into halftime leading 10-7.
The Hokies got the ball first in the second half and put together a pretty good drive. They took the ball from their 35 yard line all the way to ECU’s 26. However, on second and nine the Pirates pressured Glennon before he could even complete his drop back, and defensive end C.J. Wilson hammered him and forced the fumble, which Marcus Hands recovered.
The teams traded punts for the remainder of the third quarter. The Hokies were finally able to put the game away with a drive that began late in the third quarter and ended in the fourth. The drive covered 48 yards and lasted seven plays.
Facing third and 10 from the 48, Glennon hit Justin Harper for a 13 yard gain and a first down. Tech gained 14 yards on the next three plays, and from there Glennon hit tight end Sam Wheeler on a corner route for a 21 yard touchdown. The Hokies led 17-7 with 13:07 remaining in the game, and coasted to the easy victory from there.
Sean Glennon was the only Tech quarterback who played in Saturday’s game. Cory Holt did not see any action, and Tyrod Taylor’s redshirt is still preserved.
The Hokies return to action next week when they travel to Baton Rouge to take on #2 LSU in perhaps the most highly anticipated out-of-conference game in Tech history. Kickoff is scheduled for 9:15 eastern, and the game will be televised by ESPN.
STATISTICS VT ECU ---- ---- First downs 16 12 Rushed-yards 31-33 35-142 Passing yards 245 119 Sacked-yards lost 4-19 0-0 Return yards 79 32 Passes 22-32-1 16-31-1 Punts 6-42.3 9-44.0 Fumbles-lost 2-2 0-0 Penalties-yards 4-42 12-69 Time of possession 28:27 31:33 Att: 66,233 INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS RUSHING-Virginia Tech, Ore 23-70, Cheeseman 1-(-3), Lewis 3-(-15), Glennon 4-(-19). ECU, Lindsay 10-50, Pinkney 9-48, Johnson 10-29, Harris 4-16, Clay 1-3, Simmons 1-(-4). PASSING-Virginia Tech, Glennon 22-33-245-1. ECU, Pinkney 14-25-115, Clay 2-6-4-1. RECEIVING-Virginia Tech, Wheeler 7-81, Harper 5-64, Morgan 4-40, Hyman 2-43, Royal 2-16, Weatherford 1-2, Ore 1-(-1). ECU, Henry 4-30, Bryant 4-20, Rogers 3-17, Lindsay 2-17, Lee 1-17, Crowell 1-15, Sonnhalter 1-3.