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Special teams spark No. 15 Hokies over Austin Peay
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.
By John R. Bolton
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