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August 31, 2014

Breakdown: VT Gets Jolt

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Virginia Tech started off its 2014 campaign with a 34-9 win over William & Mary yesterday. But how did the Hokies get to that final result? We break down the main elements from the win.

Five Defining Plays In Succession

Isaiah Ford's opening drive touchdown
The new look Virginia Tech offense got moving quickly and literally. Using a no huddle, hurry up offense, the Hokies marched down the field on their opening drive of the game in 14 plays, covering 84 yards and 5:39. It was capped off by Ford, who was wide open in the back of the end zone for a 13-yard touchdown pass from junior quarterback Michael Brewer. It didn't take long for Ford to start showing why he's been designated Virginia Tech's top receiver.

Williams sack, DiNardo fumble recovery
With William & Mary driving and down just 7-6 midway through the second quarter, the momentum of the game truly changed as junior linebacker Chase Williams sacked Tribe quarterback Steve Cluley, forcing a fumble at the William & Mary 47 yard-line. Senior linebacker Derek DiNardo picked up the loose ball, dodged a few defenders and made it all the way to the Tribe two yard-line.

Hodges TD catch
With the momentum now siding with the Hokies after the fumble return by DiNardo, they had a prime opportunity to establish the run game with an easy score. But it took Virginia Tech seven tries (there were two penalties), including freshman running back Marshawn Williams getting stuffed twice, before sophomore tight end Bucky Hodges' eight-yard touchdown catch put the Hokies up 14-6 and provided a bit of breathing room.

Shai McKenzie's big run
One of the big stories of fall camp for Virginia Tech was the return of freshman running back Shai McKenzie from a torn ACL he suffered last fall as a high school senior. McKenzie showed just how far he's come and just how talented he is on one play late in the third quarter. McKenzie took the hand-off, followed his blockers, made a nice move to the outside on his right and dove, full extension inside the pylon for a touchdown.

Chase Williams sack of Cluley
The Hokies reasserting their defensive dominance was reflective especially on this play midway through the fourth quarter. William & Mary was good on a 34-yard field goal try, but were given a first down after an odd, roughing the holder call against sophomore linebacker Deon Clarke. Three plays later, Williams pushed the Tribe back near the original field goal spot with an impressive sack of Cluley, driving him into the turf. William & Mary then missed wide right on a 38-yard field goal attempt.

By The Numbers...

2 freshman wide receivers who have started the season-opener under coach Frank Beamer. Isaiah Ford started against William & Mary, while Dyrell Roberts started in 2008 against East Carolina.

9 true freshmen who played, Isaiah Ford, Eric Gallo, Melvin Keihn, Shai McKenzie, Cam Phillips, C.J. Reavis, Joey Slye, Greg Stroman and Marshawn Williams.

28 of the Hokies' 34 points scored were by freshmen. The only non-freshman to score was junior running back J.C. Coleman on a two-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter.

65 yards of total offense allowed by Virginia Tech's defense in the second half. William & Mary finished the day with 193 yards of total offense.

488 total yards of offense for VT

76.7 completion percentage for Brewer, who completed 23 of 30 passes for 251 yards and a touchdown in his debut for the Hokies

244 consecutive games in which VT has scored, extending an ACC record.

They said it
"I was impressed with Michael Brewer. He went out there and made good decisions. You talk about the stage not being too big. I thought he was very much in control. He handled himself great. He picked up some valuable yards when it broke down a little bit. He never panicked."

-- Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer


Up Next:
The Hokies travel to Columbus, Ohio for a primetime matchup with Ohio State, ranked No. 5 in the initial AP poll. The Buckeyes are coming off of a 34-17 over Navy yesterday in Baltimore. Ohio State trailed 7-6 at halftime, but stormed back with four touchdowns in the second half, including a fumble recovery for a touchdown early in the third quarter. The biggest question however is still with redshirt freshman quarterback J.T. Barrett. With Heisman hopeful Braxton Miller out for the season with a torn labrum, Barrett stepped in and finished yesterday with 226 yards two touchdowns on 12 of 15 passing.






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