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Virginia Tech 17 … at East Carolina 10

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Posted Sep 10, 2011


Week 2 CFN Fearless Prediction & Game Story - Virginia Tech at East Carolina

2011 Predictions & Game Story 

Week 2 - Virginia Tech at ECU

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- Sept. 10 Virginia Tech 17 … at East Carolina 10
CFN Analysis: COMING 

(AP) GREENVILLE, N.C. -- Frank Beamer remembers those rough first years with Virginia Tech. His Hokies keep making those days seem more distant with all the victories, conference championships and bowl appearances.

Josh Oglesby ran for the go-ahead 10-yard score with 7:30 left, helping No. 11 Virginia Tech beat East Carolina 17-10 on Saturday for Beamer's 200th win at the school.

Quarterback Logan Thomas struggled in his second career start while the Hokies committed 12 penalties and two turnovers on the road in front of a rowdy crowd. Yet it was exactly the kind of physical, hard-nosed outing -- particularly on defense -- that have become commonplace during Beamer's 25 years with the school.

There's no arguing with the results, either. After four losing seasons in his first six years, Beamer's Hokies have won at least 10 games for seven straight seasons and 12 times overall.

"Like I said all week, I'm a fortunate guy to have had a lot of good people around me," Beamer said. "And the school hung with me when things weren't so good."

David Wilson ran for 138 yards to lead the Hokies (2-0), who completely shut down the Pirates' high-powered passing attack and held East Carolina (0-2) to 112 total yards. That included minus-15 yards rushing, second fewest in ECU history.

"I think our main goal was to stop them from getting yards after the catch," said Hokies defensive back Kyle Fuller, who had an interception. "It's a team that likes to get out in space and break tackles."

Michael Dobson ran for a 2-yard touchdown for the Pirates. But in an unusual twist, it was their defense -- among the nation's worst last year -- that kept East Carolina in it until late.

In fact, that unit forced the Hokies into a three-and-out to get the ball back with 3:32 left. But the Pirates managed only to reach midfield, and Michael Bowman dropped a sure big-gainer near the right sideline before Dominique Davis' fourth-down heave for Bowman fell incomplete with 1:58 left.

Davis threw for 260 yards and four touchdowns in last week's loss to South Carolina, but he finished with 127 yards on 20-for-38 passing with an interception. The Hokies also sacked him five times, including some when he held the ball too long against the rush, while Davis overthrew open receivers several times near the sideline.

Receiver Lance Lewis, who had 14 catches for 108 yards and two scores against the Gamecocks, was held to three catches for 17 yards.

It was an all-around ugly day for the offense that averaged nearly 37 points last year. The worst moment came with about 6 minutes left in the third quarter, when Davis found Dobson over the middle for what should have been an easy 31-yard touchdown catch. But Dobson, two steps past linebacker Bruce Taylor, dropped the perfectly thrown ball.

"It looked like today we were the weakest link," Lewis said. "But the defense really held strong for us today. We tried to pull it out at the end of the game, but we couldn't get it."

In fact, considering the dominance of Virginia Tech's defense, it could have been an uglier result. But the Pirates hung in all day against the Hokies and their physical rushing attack, faltering only when they allowed Oglesby into the end zone on a 1-yard run in the third and the go-ahead score in the fourth.

The Hokies finally seemed to wear down the Pirates late. They ran 11 times on the 13-play, 89-yard drive for the go-ahead score, with Wilson running seven times for 49 yards.

"They had stopped us several times so coming back and re-establishing ourselves was important," Wilson said. "Our offensive line and the backfield, we know we have to play four quarters. We weren't giving up, because they played four quarters."

That offset a shaky day for Thomas, who completed 8 of 20 passes for 91 yards with an interception. He ran for 66 yards on 11 carries to help the Hokies finish with 241 yards on the ground.

Still, the Hokies had a rough start. Their second drive pushed all the way to the 3-yard line, but two false-start penalties backed them up and Cody Journell went wide right on a 30-yard field goal.

Then, after ECU's Michael Barbour plunked the right upright on a 53-yard kick, the Hokies committed a holding penalty to sabotage a promising drive and settle for Journell's 39-yard field goal with 44 seconds left before the break to trail 7-3.

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Virginia Tech (1-0) at East Carolina (0-1) Sept. 10, 3:30, Fox Sports Net

Here’s The Deal … Virginia Tech was supposed to handle Appalachian State last Saturday afternoon, but not with such ease and efficiency. In a Week 1 eye-opener, the Hokies mauled one of the FCS’ top programs, 66-13, leaving little room for criticism from the coaching staff. Tech was able to kick off the Logan Thomas era behind center, while getting much-needed reps for the second and third-stringers. Now, the program needs to keep the momentum going as it prepares for an always-prickly trip south to Greenville, N.C.

East Carolina was about to make a statement of its own over the weekend before reality set in. The Pirates jumped out to a 24-14 lead on a stunned South Carolina in Charlotte, but were unable to contain the Gamecocks’ myriad weapons and eventually lost, 56-37. ECU gets another crack at a ranked opponent, hoping this time around that it can compete at a high level for all 60 minutes.

Why Virginia Tech Might Win: After getting slapped around for six touchdowns and 220 yards rushing, the generous East Carolina D appears to be no better off than it was a year ago. The Hokies will keep the sticks moving and the Pirates offense off the field, especially now that Thomas has that first game at the helm under his belt. The quarterback has access to a terrific corps of receivers; while Jarrett Boykin and Danny Coale are the veterans, muscular Marcus Davis stole the show with three grabs for 140 yards and two touchdowns on Saturday. ECU’s biggest worry, though, will be containing RB David Wilson, one of college football budding superstars. Breaking at least a dozen tackles along the way, the junior exploded for 162 yards and three scores on only 16 carries.

Why East Carolina Might Win: As the passing game goes, so go the Pirates. East Carolina harbors an extremely potent aerial attack that’s going to challenge the Hokies both vertically and horizontally. It was no mystery to South Carolina how ECU was going to operate, yet QB Dominique Davis still went 37-of-56 for 260 yards, four touchdowns and one interception. Joining the pass-catching brigade is redshirt freshman Justin Hardy, who combined with all-star Lance Lewis to make 24 grabs for 199 yards and three touchdowns. Virginia Tech will score. East Carolina has the necessary weapons to keep pace.

What To Watch Out For: If the Hokies have any chance of slowing down Davis and the East Carolina passing assault, they’ll need to generate consistent pressure at the point of attack. While Davis has a quick trigger, it doesn’t mean he can’t be flustered and forced to throw on the move. Although Tech had just one sack in the opener, it was pleased with the quickness and chaos it got from linemen J.R. Collins, James Gayle, Derrick Hopkins and Antoine Hopkins. The front four will need an even greater presence in order to keep Davis from completely taking the game over.

What Will Happen: East Carolina displayed flashes versus South Carolina a week ago, but lacks the staying power and defensive consistency to upset a ranked opponent. Expect a similar result in this weekend’s contest. The Pirates will hang with the Hokies for a while, getting big plays out of Davis, before their D implodes. Wilson will prove to be too hot to handle, rushing for more than 100 yards once again, and helping Tech pull away in the second half for a hard-fought victory.

CFN Prediction: Virginia Tech 41 … East Carolina 24
- Click For Latest Line From ATS: Virginia Tech -19.5    O/U: 64

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