For the Virginia Tech Hokies, the East Carolina Pirates have been a nuisance the past two years with ECU being the Hokies in back-to-back seasons after VT had big wins the previous week. This year, the Hokies were able to easily take care of business.
The Virginia Tech Hokies beat the East Carolina Pirates 54-17 in what was another statement win for VT. The Hokies were up 38-0 at halftime in what was arguably there best half of football this season.
The Hokies got off to a slow offensive start with an opening three and out but Greg Stroman flipped the game upside down with a tremendous 87-yard punt return touchdown. Stroman’s big play gave the Hokies the momentum that they only built on.
Virginia Tech got their second touchdown in large part due to a long pass from Jerod Evans to Isaiah Ford with Marshawn Williams finishing it off with a 6-yard touchdown run.
The Hokies took over in the second quarter and started by ending any ECU momentum with a blocked field goal. VT took advantage and after Ford missed a wide open Chris Cunningham, Ford made a great 24-yard touchdown catch from Evans to put the Hokies up 21-0.
The Hokies opened it up even more with a short drive after a blocked punt by Cam Phillips and Reggie Floyd that was capped off with a 13-yard touchdown pass from Evans to Travon McMillian. VT went on another long drive before finishing that one off with a short Joey Slye field goal.
Then, VT finished off the first half with one more big play as Evans threw a beautiful pass to a wide open Cam Phillips for a 55-yard touchdown to put the Hokies up 38-0. At that point, the game was basically over though that did lead to some sloppy play from the Hokies in the second half.
East Carolina came out firing with a quick touchdown on a 75-yard pass play from Philip Nelson to Jimmy Williams. However, the Hokies slowed the ECU momentum with a fourth down stop on ECU’s next possession after a long drive had the Pirates in the red zone.
Then, the Hokies went for it on a fourth and 1 at the ECU 3 but were stopped on what was a Jerod Evans run. However, the Hokies’ defense came out on the next play and got VT’s second safety of the season with a sack of Nelson in the end zone by Ken Ekanem and Tremaine Edmunds.
Then, the Hokies kept the momentum going as Jerod Evans had one of the most spectacular runs that you’ll likely see from a Hokie this season, making multiple ECU defenders miss including a few right near the goal line on his way to a 55-yard touchdown run to put the Hokies up 47-7. ECU would respond with another big touchdown play from Nelson to Williams for 70 yards.
The Hokies would add another fourth quarter touchdown after a failed fake punt set up the Hokies in ECU’s red zone with Brenden Motley getting a one-yard touchdown run. ECU would add a late field goal on to get us to the 54-17 final score.
Jerod Evans was once again the star for the Hokies as the junior QB was 13-for-20 for 283 passing yards and 3 touchdowns plus 10 carries for 97 rushing yards and a touchdown. Evans has proven the past two weeks that he is among the best quarterbacks in the ACC Coastal and may be the best Hokies’ QB since Tyrod Taylor.
Isaiah Ford rarely played in the second half after an impressive first half with 4 catches for 117 yards and a touchdown though Evans overthrew the junior receivers a couple times, limiting his production. Bucky Hodges had a solid game with 2 catches for 47 yards while Cam Phillips only had the 55-yard touchdown catch plus being a part of the blocked punt. Jaylen Bradshaw showed some talent also as the redshirt sophomore had 3 catches for 25 yards.
Outside of Evans, the Hokies really couldn’t get their rushing attack going too well as Travon McMillian had only 10 yards on 9 carries while Marshawn Williams had 8 yards on 3 carries and Sam Rogers had 29 yards on 9 carries. One positive for the Hokies’ ball carriers is that Virginia Tech had its second-straight game with no fumbles after 10 fumbles in the first two games.
Defensively, Virginia Tech’s rush defense was dominant as the Hokies kept ECU to 81 rushing yards on 35 carries while the front 7 gave Philip Nelson nightmares throughout the game.
Ken Ekanem had another big game today as he was constantly getting pressure and had 5 tackles, 2 sacks, and 2 QB hurries. Tremaine Edmunds was also once again impressive as the sophomore had 9 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, and 1.5 sacks. The Hokies had 16 tackles for loss and 6 sacks as a team in what was a statement performance for a VT front 7 that played its best game of the season today.
Virginia Tech’s pass defense wasn’t too bad in the first half but played sloppy and gave up plenty of yards in the second half with ECU having 362 passing yards on the afternoon. Adonis Alexander, Brandon Facyson, and Greg Stroman had a few bad moments but the Hokies’ cornerbacks were reliable overall with ECU’s Nelson only completing 50% of his passes after completing over 77% of his passes in the first three weeks.
Virginia Tech was spectacular on special teams today with Stroman’s 87-yard punt return plus a blocked field goal and a blocked punt. Virginia Tech’s strong afternoon on special teams will be very encouraging especially with Mitchell Ludwig doing well punting the football.
Virginia Tech has made back-to-back statements to start the season in what was another dominant performance.