Hokies Explode In The Second Half In a 64-17 Win Over ECU
Virginia Tech scored 57 unanswered points and went on to take a 64-17 win over ECU Saturday afternoon in Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium.
The Pirates scored 17 first quarter points and would never score again in the contest.
ECU's fast start began when Gardner Minshew found wide receivers Davon Grayson and Trevon Brown for touchdowns sandwiched between a 51-yard Virginia Tech touchdown run from Steven Peoples. That found the Pirates up 14-7.
Jake Verity’s 35-yard field goal extended the Pirates’ lead to as much as ten at 17-7 before Josh Jackson’s 10-yard strike to Cam Phillips cut the lead to 17-14.
The Pirates were making a game of it, but three straight Joey Slye field goals gave Virginia Tech(3-0) a six-point 23-17 lead at intermission.
That's when the wheels fell off for ECU(0-3).
"I thought we came out and played really hard and aggressive," Scottie Montgomery said after the game, "I told our offense and defense that the fifty-fifty balls would be the difference maker in this game and that's pretty much what it came down to."
Montgomery talked about how Virginia Tech turned what was a close game into a blowout.
"Offensive I felt like they did dominate us in their front and everything we were trying to do in the run game. We tried to stick to the run game and get something going. Coach Foster did a good job of shifting right after we snapped the football and it changed the scheme from four-down (linemen) to three-down sometimes and it got our young center a couple of times in those situations," Montgomery said, "All in all physically they won the line of scrimmage on offense. On defense it came down to one on one plays all over the place."
The Hokies made the most of their first possession of the second half when Jackson hooked up with Cam Phillips on a 31-yard strike for a touchdown. One possession later, Jackson found Travon McMillian on a 70-yard touchdown and suddenly Virginia Tech was up 36-17 just three minutes into the third quarter.
Cam Phillips scored again on a 45-yard pass from Jackson for his Virginia Tech record 14th catch to blow the ballgame wide open 43-17 midway into the third quarter.
ECU Hussein Howe was stripped of the football on the ensuing drive after a pass completion over the middle on the negative 32-yard line. Virginia Tech was then able to capitalize when Jackson found Sean Savoy who burned Chris Love in the left corner of the endzone to extend the lead to 50-17.
Then Jalen Holston’s one-yard touchdown run found the Hokies up a whopping 57-17 with forty seconds to go in the third quarter. Coleman Fox wrapped up the scoring for Virginia Tech with a five yard touchdown midway through the fourth quarter that made it 64-17.
Gardner Minshew connected on just 11 of 30 passes for 241 yards and two touchdowns. The lack of a consistent running game made the Pirates largely one dimensional.
"With our run action, being able to hit some plays over the top, that was good and got us going and then it just stopped," Minshew told PirateIllustrated.com after the game, "We stopped executing and really dug ourselves a hole. They did a really good job of adjusting and taking away some of those plays that we were getting. That was tough and we weren't able to bounce back from that."
All told, Josh Jackson passed for 372 yards and five touchdowns with no interceptions against a soft ECU defensive secondary component. Travon McMillian led the Hokies with 72 yards rushing on just eleven carries while A.J. Bush added 66 more.
Virginia Tech ran 95 plays for 675 yards while limiting ECU to just 281 on 61 total snaps.
Needless to say, ECU found it tough trying to run the football. The Pirates ran for just 40 yards on 31 carries led by Tyshon Dye who ran for 31 yards on eleven carries. Trevon Brown led the receiver corps with four catches for 107 yards and a touchdown while no other Pirate had more than one catch.