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Hokies Right the Ship Against the Pirates

By Debbie Ballard

September 19, 2010 

 

Virginia Tech quarterback Tyrod Taylor made his advice to the team very clear in the week preceding the Hokies' game against East Carolina University

"I was very vocal throughout this whole week, but the main thing I wanted to stress is, 'don't panic, stay out there, be relaxed, and play the game,'" Taylor said.

However, much like the adjustments made to the defensive line to deal with ECU's dynamite offense, the advice took until about halftime to really sink in.

While the Hokies scored three touchdowns in the first half, they still trailed the Pirates by three points, and looked sluggish and sloppy on defense.

ECU quarterback Dominique Davis passed for 119 yards in the first half alone, as well as a touchdown pass to wide receiver Dwayne Harris. Running back Jon Williams rushed for 25 yards and two touchdowns, both within the Virginia Tech red zone.

"You know, we watched them on film, you know, we knew that they were going to throw quick passes, but just the tempo, you know, they came out...and kind of had us on our heels a little bit," cornerback Rashad Carmichael said.

At least during the first half, the Hokie defense fell to the mercy of dual-threat Davis and the elusive Williams.

The offense, however, suffered problems of its own.

During the second quarter Ryan Williams injured his right hamstring after being tackled and limped off the field with the help of two assistants.

Although Williams only netted eight yards, he rushed for a touchdown that put the Hokies on the board.

Taylor's pass to Jarrett Boykin after a 15-yard facemasking penalty against the Pirates brought the Hokies to within three points of the lead.

After forcing the Pirates offense to go three and out, Darren Evans offered hope to the Hokies, rushing in a touchdown for seven yards. Finally, although it would be short-lived, Virginia Tech had taken the lead.

Williams fixed that problem for ECU with a one yard rush on first and goal for the Pirates.

Trailing at the half, the Hokies did not seem to possess the defense to hold back such an offense that sported a 1,000-yard rusher like Dwayne Harris.

The second half, however, saw an entirely new Virginia Tech team.

Earlier this week David Wilson commented publicly on his lack of playing time, as well as his minimal touches on the ball during Virginia Tech's previous two games.

During yesterday's game Wilson showcased why he thought he deserved more time on the ball.

The Pirates recovered a fumble by Evans on the Hokies' first drive of the second half, and four minutes later they pulled away from Virginia Tech yet again with an impressive 41-yard field goal by Mike Barbour.

Enter Wilson and the rest of the offensive line.

Driving 69 yards down the field with Evans and Wilson working in tandem to advance the Hokies, Wilson rushed for three yards to bring the Hokies back into the lead.

The Hokies never surrendered the lead, nor did the Pirates score another point.

"We had a really good week of practice, and I think as a group we've got such a great backfield and wide receivers and quarterback that as long as the offensive line just does our job we'll be ok," offensive guard Greg Nosal said.

Wilson shined again after a regenerated Hokie defense forced the Pirates to punt and the tailback rushed in another touchdown, this one for eight yards.

Remember that rejuvenated Hokie defense? Rashad Carmichael, who was handed two pass interference penalties during the first half, regained those yards and more for the Hokies with two interceptions during the first half.

Carmichael returned his first interception for 68 yards and a touchdown, bringing the Hokies up 42-27.

The second interception happened on the very next drive, and although Carmichael did not gain any yards on the pick, Jarrett Boykin made sure the play following the pick was just as important.

A 69 yard pass from Taylor led Boykin into the end zone for a final score of 49-27 in favor of a completely new Virginia Tech team.

Beamer cited a lack of momentum that impeded the team from making big plays in the first half, as well as adjustments on offense and defense.

"We made a couple of adjustments at halftime and I think it helped us in the second half. Our guys are good at making adjustments. We were able to get the quarterback a little bit and got him running," Beamer said.

The adjustments were apparent in the score as well as the quality of play, and one can only hope that the adjustments made will stick throughout the rest of the season.

The much-needed win has hopefully prepared the Hokies for their ACC season opener at Boston College this Saturday. Kickoff is scheduled for noon.