By John Antonik for MSNsportsNET.com
October 1, 2005
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Virginia Tech quarterback Marcus Vick used his arm and his legs to propel the Hokies to a 34-17 victory over West Virginia Saturday afternoon in Morgantown.
Vick fired two touchdown passes and ran for another to lift No. 3-rated and 5-0 Tech to a triumph in the last meeting between these two long-time border rivals. Vick was an efficient 15 of 17 passing for 177 yards and also ran 12 times for 74 yards.
"It's pretty obvious he's a great athlete," said West Virginia coach Rich Rodriguez of Vick. "You've got a guy right here and he makes him miss. You've got two guys right there and he threads the needle. He's just a good player and that's no surprise."
A pair of West Virginia first-half fumbles directly led to 14 Virginia Tech points, but the Hokie offense was just as effective mixing the run and the pass. Tech was 10 of 15 on third down and only committed two penalties in an impressive all-around performance.
"They're a good football team and obviously they're going to win a lot of games but we can play better than we did today and that's encouraging," said Rodriguez.
A Pernell Williams fumble at the West Virginia 24 set up Virginia Tech’s first score. On third and nine at the Mountaineer 10, Vick took off on a designed quarterback draw and weaved his way through the West Virginia defense for a 10-yard touchdown – Virginia Tech’s first offense TD against the Mountaineers in nine quarters dating back to 2002.
A pair of Vick passes on Virginia Tech’s next possession got the Hokies on the board once again. A 13-yard pass to Eddie Royal on third and five kept the sticks moving and a pretty 20-yard Vick pass down the middle to tight end Jeff King to the Mountaineer 27 eventually set up a Josh Pace 35-yard field goal.
A short squib kick by Virginia Tech and a good return by up-back Owen Schmitt gave West Virginia excellent field position at the West Virginia 41. A 19-yard run by backup running back Steve Slaton, a 13-yard slip screen to Darius Reynaud, and another nine-yard run by Slaton got the ball to the Hokie 18.
Jason Gwaltney moved the sticks on third and one and he made a huge fourth-and-one run to the Tech five to set up Pat White’s two-yard toss to backup tight end Mike Villagrana. White entered the game when Bednarik was tackled out of bounds attempting to scramble for first-down yardage.
"Our young guys played pretty well: a lot of them were in there for the first time," said Rodriguez.
Virginia Tech answered with yet another impressive drive keyed once again by Vick’s pin-point passing. The junior hit David Clowney for 29 yards down the middle, found Royal for 12 to the WVU 13 and on third and six, he hit King in the seam for a nine-yard touchdown to give the Hokies to a 17-7 lead.
The Mountaineers were able to keep pace with Tech, driving 69 yards to reach the end zone. Slaton began the drive with an 11-yard run and also got first-down yardage on a tough seven-yard catch on third and six out of the backfield. White then tossed a rope down the seam that Hokie defensive back Roland Minor misplayed right into the arms of Dorrell Jalloh for a 46-yard touchdown. It was the longest scoring play surrendered by Virginia Tech’s defense this year.
Another Mountaineer turnover set up Virginia Tech with a short field and an eventual touchdown. Returner Antonio Lewis muffed Nic Schmitt’s punt at the West Virginia 30 and the ball bounced directly into the arms of D.J. Parker. Vick capitalized on the turnover by threading the needle to Royal for 15 yards and his second TD pass of the game.
"We're looking to get good field position right before the end of the half and we fumble the punt," Rodriguez said. "They wind up getting a score and those are the things you can't do."
The two teams traded field goals to start the third quarter; Virginia Tech getting three third-down passes from Vick to move into position for Pace’s 41-yard kick, and West Virginia getting a 44-yard run from Slaton to move close enough for Pat McAfee to kick a 21-yard field goal.
Virginia Tech delivered the dagger at the start of the fourth quarter when the Hokies drove 80 yards in 11 plays, eating up 5:31 of the clock. Cedric Humes finished the drive with a four-yard TD run off left tackle, but it was once again the efficient running and passing of Vick that got the majority of Tech’s yardage.
"We had opportunities to stop them in the second half and we just couldn't do it," Rodriguez said.
Virginia Tech finished the game with 214 yards rushing and 391 yards of total offense. West Virginia (4-1) had 253 total yards including 90 yards rushing on just 11 carries from Slaton. Quarterback Pat White completed nine of 11 passes for 85 yards and both touchdowns. The Mountaineers managed just 48 plays to Virginia Tech's 70.
"It's hard to win a game when you have just 48 plays," said Rodriguez. "They controlled the ball, we didn't tackle well and they dominated us up front a little bit."
West Virginia returns to action next Saturday at 3-1 Rutgers. Virginia Tech returns to Blacksburg to play Marshall.
VT – Vick 10 run (Pace kick)
Rushing: VT -- Humes 22-79, Vick 12-74, Imoh 13-31, Royal 2-20, Total 53-214; WV -- Slaton 11-90, White 11-44, Gwaltney 5-12, Williams 1-3, Total 34-150.
Passing: VT -- Vick 15-17-0-177-2; WV -- White 9-11-0-85-2, Bednarik 2-3-0-18-0, Total 11-14-0-103-2.
Receiving: VT -- Royal 6-71, Clowney 3-47, King 2-29, Harper 2-18, Total 15-177; WV -- Reynaud 3-21, Slaton 2-12, Myles 2-10, Jalloh 1-46, Total 11-103.
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