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Virginia Tech opened the 2014 season with a 34-9 victory over William & Mary on Saturday afternoon at Lane Stadium. Here's how it all went down.
It was over when… Shai McKenzie carried the rock for a dazzling 39-yard run late in the third quarter. McKenzie broke a couple of tackles and showed just how explosive he can be for the Hokies as a freshman. That made the score 27-9 in favor of Virginia Tech, and the defense cruised the rest of the way.
The biggest surprise was…the efficiency of the Virginia Tech offense. The Hokies were able to accumulate 488 yards of offense, including 222 on the ground. They eclipsed that total yardage in just one game in 2013. Michael Brewer was nearly perfect, going 23-30 for 251 yards, including completions to nine different receivers. Brewer was never sacked, and Virginia Tech was able to convert 8-of-15 third downs. Not many expected that type of success.
Hurry Up Hokies!...Perhaps one of the reasons why VT was able to wear down the Tribe defense is because of how quickly it was running plays. Many players said the pace of the offense was quicker than previous years, and part of that is because these players understand their roles and responsibilities that much more. Brewer's quick-release style and ability to spread the wealth is perfect for the up-tempo gameplan. We'll see how much it is used against Ohio State.
Who are these guys?…A total of 10 freshmen played in the game today. Many casual fans had to figure out who the new faces were, but there was no doubt regarding their contributions to the victory. Until J.C. Coleman's touchdown in the fourth quarter, every single point on the scoreboard was because of a freshman. Isaiah Ford caught the first touchdown of the season, Bucky Hodges had a beautiful catch on a jump ball for six, McKenzie had the long touchdown run and kicker Joey Slye was 2-for-2 in field goal attempts and perfect on all four extra point tries. Add in Cam Phillips and Marshawn Williams, and you have a deadly group of playmakers that will be in Blacksburg a long time.
Offensive game ball goes to…Michael Brewer. There were a lot of standout performances, but all the pressure was on the Texas Tech transfer to perform well in front of his new fans. He made fantastic decisions all day (77 percent completion rate), got rid of the ball quickly (no sacks) and even had a nifty 16-yard run showing he isn't a one-trick pony. The crazy thing is this was his first game in a new offense; how much better can he get?
Defensive game ball goes to…Derek DiNardo. This is a fifth year senior that got his first chance to take the field as a starter, and DiNardo took full advantage. He tied for the team-lead with five tackles (including one for loss), and was a part of perhaps the biggest play of the game when he returned a fumble 45 yards to the 2-yard line. The score was 7-6 when that happened.