Louisiana Tech comes back, beats Virginia

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Louisiana Tech comes back, beats Virginia

By Hank Kurz Jr.
AP Sports Writer

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) -- Colby Cameron threw for one touchdown and ran for another, and Louisiana Tech scored 34 unanswered points to rally from an early deficit and beat penalty-riddled Virginia 44-38 Saturday.

Ray Holley ran for two touchdowns for the Bulldogs (4-0), who trailed 24-10 midway through the second quarter. They then intercepted Michael Rocco three times and converted each one into a touchdown on their way to their eight consecutive road victory and 11th win in a row during the regular season.

The Cavaliers (2-3) came out seemingly intent on getting into a wide-open game, and flourished into the second quarter. Tailback Perry Jones threw a 36-yard touchdown pass, and Rocco made scoring throws of 73 yards to Khalek Shepherd and 2 yards to Paul Freedman until the Bulldogs' defense made some plays.

The first came with a big assist from Virginia wideout Dominique Terrell, who got hit in the hands by a pass from Rocco, couldn't pull it in and deflected it to Quinn Giles, who returned it to Virginia's 25.

The play came right after the Cavaliers put on a goal-line stand, denying the nation's No. 3 scoring team any points after a 94-yard kickoff return by D.J. Banks had set them up at the Virginia 3.

Two plays after Giles' interception, Holley ran it in from the 16 to make it 24-17.

A field goal by Matt Nelson, one of three for him in the game, made it 24-20 at halftime.

The Bulldogs took command in the third quarter, taking the opening kickoff and driving 73 yards in hurry-up mode to Holley's 11-yard scoring run. After an exchange of punts, Dave Clark intercepted Rocco and returned it to Virginia's 43, setting up a four-play drive capped by Cameron's 14-yard scoring run.

Two plays later, Rocco hit linebacker Chip Hester, who took it 32 yards for a touchdown.

The play gave the Bulldogs 31 unanswered points on the home field of a BCS-level school for the second week in a row. They did it in beating Illinois 52-24 of the Big Ten last week in Champaign, Ill.

Rocco, who threw for 265 yards in the first half, was replaced by Alabama transfer Phillip Sims. He threw a 3-yard touchdown pass to Jake McGee, and then a 23-yarder to Adrian Gamble with 2:08 to play, but after Virginia seemingly held and forced a likely punt, the Cavs sent their punt return team out on the field during a timeout, and when the Bulldogs sent their offense back out onto the field after a timeout, the Cavaliers were called for illegal substitution, giving a game-ending first down.

It was the Cavaliers' 16th penalty for 145 yards in the game.

Cameron finished 23 for 36 for 218 yards and a 3-yard first-quarter touchdown to R.P. Stuart. It was Cameron's 12th touchdown pass of the season, and he still has not thrown an interception.

Virginia's halftime lead came despite being penalized 10 times for 95 yards and giving up 10 points in the final 3:02.

The Cavaliers also tried a surprise onside kick after going ahead 14-3, but Louisiana Tech recovered, got a 15-yard personal foul penalty to set them up at Virginia's 39 and drove for a TD that made it 14-10.

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.