Virginia Tech rolls over Austin Peay for easy win

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Virginia Tech rolls over Austin Peay for easy win

By Larry O'Dell
BLACKSBURG, Va. -- With the offense struggling, Virginia Tech turned to its old friend -- special teams -- for a pair of big plays to spark a 42-7 victory over Austin Peay on Saturday. Kyshoen Jarrett reeled off a 46-yard punt return to set up the No. 15 Hokies' first touchdown, and Tony Gregory's punt block led to their second score before Virginia Tech -- playing its second game in six days after a season-opening overtime win over Georgia Tech -- finally got untracked. The Hokies (2-0), long noted for their special teams play, finally put together a 71-yard drive in the closing 1:32 of the first half. That was followed by an 80-yard scoring march on their second possession of the second half for a 28-0 lead, and the rout of an overmatched FCS opponent was finally on. The Governors (0-2) responded with a six-play, 78-yard drive of their own to extend their string of consecutive games without being shut out to 75. Wes Kitts had a 32-yard run on the drive to go over 100 yards for the second consecutive week, and Terrence Oliver scored on an 8-yard run. Virginia Tech promptly reasserted control, though, with a 72-yard drive capped by Logan Thomas' 13-yard pass to Randall Dunn to make it 35-7, and by late in the third period Thomas was done for the day. He finished 15 of 23 for 212 yards and also scored on a 1-yard sneak after the second-quarter punt block. The Hokies undoubtedly would have liked to get more out of their running game against a team that lost its opener 49-10 to Western Kentucky and wasn't expected to put up much resistance. The Hokies are looking for someone to replace first-round draft pick David Wilson, but the duo of J.C. Coleman and Michael Holmes couldn't find much running room against the Governors -- especially early. The 260-pound Thomas usually is one of the Hokies' biggest rushing threats, but that wasn't the case Saturday as Virginia Tech focused on trying to get the tailbacks going. They fared a little better late, as the Governors began to wear down against the bigger and deeper Hokies, who finished with 419 total yards, 187 on the ground. Holmes scored on a 2-yard run after Jarrett's first-quarter punt return, Thomas threw a 30-yard TD pass to Corey Fuller, and Tony Greory had an 18-yard touchdown run for the Hokies. After completing just 2 of 10 passes for 11 yards in the season opener, Austin Peay quarterback Jake Ryan fared only marginally better against the Hokies. He finished with 62 yards passing and was intercepted twice, including a pick in the end zone by Kyle Fuller on the Governors' first possession of the second half. The Governors finished with 221 total yards.

College Football Playoff projections: From contender to pretender in just four weeks

College Football Playoff projections: From contender to pretender in just four weeks

There were high hopes for LSU at the start of the season. With the collection of talent the Tigers boast on their roster, there was no reason to think they could not challenge Alabama for SEC supremacy.

Even my preseason College Football Playoff projections at the start of the season had LSU as one of the four teams to make the playoff.

SEE THE NEW COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYOFF PROJECTION HERE

The Tigers' championship hopes took a hit with an opening loss to Wisconsin. Now just four games into their season, Les Miles been fired and their playoff aspirations appear to be completely dashed after a devastating loss Auburn.

With Alabama looking as dominant as ever and what was believed to be their main rival already looking down and out, who else can challenge the Tide for supremacy of the SEC? Who else joins the Alabama in the projected top four?

Find out here in this week's College Football Playoff projection.

Jerod Evans' 4 touchdowns carry Virginia Tech past East Carolina

Jerod Evans' 4 touchdowns carry Virginia Tech past East Carolina

BLACKSBURG, Va. (AP) -- Jerod Evans said that he needed to clean up some things during Virginia Tech's upcoming off week.

The Hokies' fan base may be wondering what exactly that is. His play so far has been sparkling.

Evans, the Hokies' starting quarterback, threw three touchdown passes and rushed for one to lift Virginia Tech over East Carolina 54-17 on Saturday.

The Hokies (3-1) scored on their final five possessions of the first half, including all four of their second-quarter possessions, to overwhelm East Carolina (2-2) and snap a two-game losing streak to the Pirates.

Evans completed 13 of 20 passes for a career-best 282 yards and rushed for a career-best 97 more. He has thrown at least three touchdown passes in three of the Hokies' first four games and is completing 67 percent of his passes.

"I missed a couple of things here and there," Evans said. "I have a lot of things that I can get better at for sure."

Evans entered the game with an ACC-best 10 touchdown passes this season. Of more importance to Virginia Tech coach Justin Fuente, he has thrown just one interception.

"I think he's pretty good," Virginia Tech coach Justin Fuente said of Evans. "He's been judicious with the ball and he's going to the right place most of the time. He's been pretty efficient."

Following a punt return for a touchdown by Greg Stroman and a touchdown run by Marshawn Williams that gave the Hokies a 14-0 lead in the first quarter, Evans threw touchdown passes of 24 yards to Isaiah Ford, 13 yards to Travon McMillian and 55 yards to Cam Phillips. That final score gave the Hokies a 38-0 halftime lead.

ECU quarterback Philip Nelson had 362 yards passing and two touchdown tosses to Jimmy Williams. The Pirates had 443 yards of offense, but committed three special teams mistakes, fumbled once and were sacked six times.

"We studied the film well and they had a lot of keys when they were sliding the protection," said Ken Ekanem, who had two of the Hokies' six sacks. "We had a lot of indicators and we knew when someone was going to be left one-on-one. We look forward to one-on-one matchups and pride ourselves on winning those. We did a good job of that today."

THE TAKEAWAY

EAST CAROLINA: Coming off a 20-15 loss at South Carolina and playing its third consecutive game against a Power 5 opponent, the Pirates looked a step slow and out of sorts from the opening kick. They went three-and-out on five first-half possessions. The Pirates hope to regroup now that they have finished the non-conference portion of their schedule.

"That was clearly the best football team that we have played," ECU coach Scottie Montgomery said. "The most physical. The biggest. The fastest. The strongest. The smartest. I thought they competed well in their scheme. They played great emotional football. They leaned on their crowd. They played a complete football game -- as complete as it gets."

VIRGINIA TECH: The Hokies dominated on special teams, scoring three touchdowns as a result of those units. Greg Stroman scored on an 87-yard punt return, and Cam Phillips blocked a punt that led to an Evans touchdown pass to Travon McMillian. A sack of ECU punter Worth Gregory in the fourth quarter led to a 1-yard touchdown run by backup quarterback Brenden Motley.

UP NEXT

EAST CAROLINA: The Pirates open AAC play next Saturday with a home game against UCF. ECU blasted the Golden Knights 44-7 last season for their first win in Orlando since 2008.

VIRGINIA TECH: The Hokies are off next week before taking on North Carolina on Oct. 8 and will be looking to avenge last year's 30-27 overtime loss. The Hokies have won nine of the 12 meetings with the Tar Heels since joining the ACC.