Virginia Tech leads Western Michigan 18-10 at halftime, in a mostly-sluggish half where both teams failed to move the football very well. Tech returned a fumble on the opening kickoff to take a quick 6-0 lead.
This one got off to a bang for the Hokies, when WMU kickoff returner Donald Celiscar was hit by Tech’s Ronny Vandyke on the opening kickoff and fumbled. Tech reserve linebacker Andrew Motuapuaka scooped the ball up on the 11 yard line and scored, just eight seconds into the game.
The score was the quickest in Virginia Tech football history, of course. The extra point was blocked, and Tech led 6-0 with 14:52 to go first quarter.
Western Michigan gifted the Hokies with two more points just four plays later. The Broncos lined up to punt on their own 25 yard line, only to snap the ball over punter J. Schroeder’s head. Schroeder chased the ball to the back of the end zone, where it rolled out and gave the Hokies an 8-0 lead with 13:26 to go in the quarter.
Tech took possession after the safety, and spurred by a 42-yard run by Marshawn Williams, drove 46 yards in 6 plays. Joey Slye finished the drive with a 37-yard field to put Tech up 11-0.
Neither team could move the ball for a few possessions after that, but Western Michigan got a break when Michael Brewer threw an interception on the Tech 42 yard line that Ronald Zamort returned all the way to the Hokie three yard line.
Western Michigan scored three plays later when freshman running back Jarvion Franklin dove over the pile from one yard out to make it 11-7, Hokies, with 4:15 to go in the quarter.
That was Brewer’s fourth straight interception without a touchdown pass, dating back to the start of the Georgia Tech game, but Brewer broke that streak late in the first quarter when he hit tight end Bucky Hodges for a 29 yard touchdown pass. The defender fell down on the play, and it was an easy pitch and catch by Brewer and Hodges.
The first quarter ended with Tech holding an 18-7 lead. That held up for most of the second quarter, in which both teams struggled to move the football. The Hokies got some traction late in the half, when Detrick Bonner picked off a sideline pass by Zach Terrell at the WMU 49 yard line. On the strength of a 13-yard completion to Joel Caleb and a roughing the passer penalty, the Hokies moved it to the WMU 21, but a long pass to the end zone intended for Isaiah Ford was picked off by WMU’s Celiscar with 1:07 to go in the half.
WMU surprised the Hokies by driving 61 yards in just seven plays. They booted a 36 yard field goal by Andrew Haldeman with five seconds left in the half to make it Hokies 18, Broncos 10 at half time.
At the half, the Hokies have 81 yards rushing on 18 carries, but 42 of that came on one run by Marshawn Williams (five carries, 44 yards). Tech is led in receiving by Bucky Hodges, with two catches for 43 yards and a TD.
Western Michigan’s freshman tailback, Jarvion Franklin, who came into the game with 542 yards rushing in just three games, has been limited to 31 yards on nine carries by Tech.
The Hokies outgained WMU 176-90 in the half. The Broncos have (-6) net rushing yards in the half, aided by three sacks for 15 yards for the Hokies.
Tech will get the ball first to start the second half.
Half time notes, courtesy VT Sports Communication
• Virginia Tech is wearing white helmets with a chrome orange logo, plus orange jerseys and white pants. Tech is 2-0 all-time wearing the white-orange-white combination.
• Luther Maddy (knee) did not dress after having surgery on Tuesday. It broke a 19-game start streak for the senior defensive tackle. Der’Woun Greene made his first collegiate start, coming in place of Kyshoen Jarrett (coach’s decision). Jarrett’s streak of 30-straight starts was snapped with him not starting.
• Kyle Chung and Curtis Williams dressed for the first time in their careers Saturday. Neither played in the first half.
• Andrew Motuapuaka scooped up a fumble on the opening kickoff and scored just 8 seconds into the game. It’s the fastest Virginia Tech has ever scored under head coach Frank Beamer, topping a touchdown 18 seconds into the 1999 game against Rutgers when Michael Vick connected with André Davis on a 74-yard pass.
• The touchdown by Motuapuaka was the 136th non-offensive touchdown under Beamer and the 52nd on special teams. It was the first fumble return for a touchdown on special teams ever under Beamer. He becomes the 40th different player under Beamer to score on special teams.
• Motuapuaka’s fumble return for a score is the first by the Hokies since Orion Martin did it against Boston College in the 2008 ACC Championship Game.
• When Western Michigan scored in the first quarter, it marked the first time in four contests the Broncos have scored against the Hokies.
• Detrick Bonner recorded his seventh career interception late in the second quarter. He is the career leader among current players, breaking a tie with Kendall Fuller (6).
• The Homecoming king and queen were announced at halftime. They are: King – Nate Weiner, Alpha Epsilon Pi; Queen – Jena Zschaebitz, Sigma Kappa
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