December 15, 2017

Virginia Tech – East Carolina Preview

The East Carolina Pirates are one of the better non-Power Five schools to never make a top bowl game. There’s still a significant talent gap, but the Pirates’ 5-11 record against Power Five opponents the past five seasons shows a school that can surprise a team when given the chance. The Virginia Tech Hokies, however, are all too familiar with the talents of the Pirates, having lost to them 28-21 last season.

The Pirates biggest challange is their Air Raid offense, designed to keep opposing defenses under a constant barrage of quick, hard to defend pass plays. Last season star quarterback Shane Carden and top receivers Cam Worthy and Justin Hardy beat the Hokies’ vaunted secondary time and again in one-on-one to amass a 21 point lead in just 12 minutes. [Read more…]

Virginia Tech: Hokies dominate for second straight week

The Virginia Tech Hokies had over 450 total yards on offense (471) and over 40 points (51) for the second week in a row, this time against Power Five foe the Purdue Boilermakers. It was the first time the Hokies had back-to-back games with over 40 points since their streak of four from Oct. 2 to Oct. 23, 2010 and the first time they’ve scored at least 50 points against a Power Five opponent since beating Wake Forest 52-10 during that streak.

It was vintage Beamerball for the Hokies as they got contributions from all over the field with a defensive touchdown, a special teams touchdown, two running touchdowns and a pair of passing touchdowns. Fill-in starting quarterback Brenden Motley looked in control all game, finishing 15/24 for 220 yards, two touchdowns, zero interceptions and one fumble. Meanwhile the Tech defense held Purdue to just 265 total yards and 9 first downs, nabbing two interceptions and forcing a fumble.

The Hokies jumped out to a hot start, forcing Purdue to go three-and-out on their first drive, before driving 49 yards and settling for a Joey Slye 35 yard field goal. On the Boilermakers next drive preseason All-American Kendall Fuller got to quarterback Austin Appleby on a third down blitz and stripped him forcing a fumble which safety Chuck Clark scooped up and returned 20 yards to put Tech up 10-0.

The Boilermakers struck right back though, stringing together their best offensive drive of the game, going 74 yards on nine plays to make it 10-7 Tech. After a pair of punts the Hokies had a long drive of their own, driving 88 yards to Purdue’s 2 yard line. But then a missed protection left Motley’s blindside uncovered and a sack fumble was returned to put the Boilermakers ahead 14-10.

Bucky Hodges’ first touchdown of the season put the Hokies back on top. A Purdue field goal and a Motley touchdown run would close out the scoring for an exciting first half with Tech on top 24-17.

But as they showed against Furman last week, the Hokies proved to be a second half team, scoring 17 points in the third quarter and 20 unanswered points in the second half to bury the Boilermakers. The second half started similarly to that game as well, with a big run, as Der’Woun Green returned the kickoff 82 yards. Tech settled for a field goal in what might’ve been a bigger story had they not followed that up with two more touchdowns.

The first came on an 8 play, 42 yard drive that culminated in a J.C. Coleman one yard touchdown run. The second brought up memories of Virginia Tech teams past as Tremaine Edmunds broke through the Boilermakers punt protection to get a hand on the ball and spring Anthony Shegog for a 15 yard touchdown. The Hokies had already had a couple close calls earlier in the game.

After a Purdue four and out Joey Slye tacked on three more points on a 46-yard field goal to put the game on ice. For the second week in a row the Hokies were able to get valuable playing time for their backups for most of the fourth quarter. A Markell Jones 60 yard touchdown run with seven minutes left forced the starting offense back on the field where they drained five minutes from the clock before Hodges’ second touchdown grab of the game to close it out.

Freshman Adonis Alexander took over full-time for Desmond Frye at safety and grabbed his second interception in as many games. Walk-on sophomore and new starting middle linebacker Sean Heulskamp also nabbed an interception late in the game to cap off a good effort in his first career start.

Tech finished the game with 11 penalties for 87 yards, something that would’ve been more noteworthy if the offense hadn’t taken over.

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