Virginia Tech upsets No. 15 Oklahoma State, 81-71

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Virginia Tech upsets No. 15 Oklahoma State, 81-71

BLACKSBURG, Va. (AP) -- For an out-of-conference coach, Oklahoma State's Travis Ford has probably seen more of Virginia Tech and Erick Green in the last three years than anyone in the country. After Saturday afternoon, Ford will be pleased never to see them again.

Green scored 28 points and hit eight critical free throws in the final 76 seconds as Virginia Tech continued its surprising start under new coach James Johnson, beating the No. 15 Cowboys (5-1) for the fourth time in the past three seasons.

"He's one of the best guards in the country, one of the best point guards in the county, bar none," Ford said of Green, who did all his scoring and grabbed seven rebounds in just 26 minutes after drawing two fouls in the first three minutes.

The Hokies, picked to finish 10th in the ACC, are off to their first 7-0 start since the 1982-83 season, and their victory was their first nonconference triumph against a ranked team since they beat Virginia in December 1995 at Roanoke Coliseum.

"I think people were sleeping on us because of the coaching change and because of the players that left," Green, thee Hokies' lone senior, said. "But I hope that we've shown people we can play with anybody and that we're a great team.

"We've got to keep it going. Consistency is the key," Green said.

Robert Brown added 18 points and Jarell Eddie had 15 with 12 rebounds for the Hokies, who outrebounded the taller, more athletic Cowboys 41-31 and scored 22 points off their 13 offensive rebounds. The victory finished a week that started with a 95-79 blowout of Iowa in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge, a game that many viewed as their first real test of the year.

"Coach Johnson told us that we could do anything we wanted if we put our mind to it as a team, and everyone is putting their minds to one game at a time and winning that game," Brown, a sophomore guard, said. "We've done it so far."

Le'Bryan Nash and Marcus Smart scored 18 each to lead the Cowboys (5-1).

Smart hadn't played in those earlier losses, but heard all about them this week.

"We were pretty amped up knowing that they beat us in those two meetings last season, and we knew they were going to be pumped up, especially with us in the top 15," Smart said. "We knew we were going to have to come and play."

The game was close throughout, especially after Tech saw an eight-point led cut to 69-66 on Markel Brown's deep 3-pointer from the top of the key with 2:22 remaining. Then Green took over, and the Hokies were in good hands.

Brown missed the front end of a one-and-one for Virginia Tech, but as Oklahoma was setting up its offense, Green stole the ball and was fouled driving toward the basket. He made both, pushing the Hokies' lead to 71-66. Nash made 1 of 2 at the other end, and Green was fouled again with 53.8 seconds left. He made both again, and the lead climbed to 73-67.

"We had a few misses, but at the end, when it counted, everyone hit them," Green said.

He finished the game having made 51 of his last 53 from the line.

Green played only nine minutes in the first half after drawing two quick fouls, but still scored 10 points in his time. He also scored the Hokies' first 10 points of the second half on a pair of 3-pointers, two free throws and a long fadeaway.

"Even the guys told me they were going to feed off me and that I was going to have a big second half," Green said. "I had a challenge in front of me and wanted to show people that I could play with the best. Hopefully, I showed people that."

Jarell Eddie's 3-pointer gave Virginia Tech a 49-46 lead with 15 minutes left. Forte scored for Oklahoma State, and Robert Brown, answered, putting back his own miss. Smart's drive cut the Hokies' lead to 51-50 with 13:17 to go, but the Cowboys didn't score against for 5:05 as the Hokies reeled off seven straight.

The Cowboys used a 9-2 run featuring five points by Smart to close to 60-59, but after the Hokies' Robert Brown and the Cowboys' Kamari Murphy traded baskets, Virginia Tech scored seven of the next nine.

The Cowboys led 36-32 at a first half in which both teams took turns going on short scoring bursts.

The biggest of those was an early 10-0 run by Oklahoma State that gave it a 12-7 lead. The score remained close until 3-pointers by Smart and Forte around an inside basket by Michael Cobbins gave the Cowboys a 34-26 lead. Virginia scored six of the last eight points in the half to get within four at the break.

The last three meetings were in preseason tournaments in 2010 and 2011, and a scheduled game Dec. 31, 2011 in Stillwater.

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.