- Associated Press - Saturday, September 19, 2015

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) - Coach Darrell Hazell prepared for everything Virginia Tech threw at Purdue.

He just wasn’t prepared for the Boilermakers’ own mistakes.

The Hokies returned a fumble for one touchdown, a blocked punt for another and scored 27 unanswered points to pull away for a 51-24 victory.

“Everything we worked on, we saw out there,” Hazell said. “We just weren’t executing.”

For the Boilermakers (1-2), it was disappointing and frustrating.

Quarterback Austin Appleby finished 9 of 28 for 110 yards with two interceptions and ran 13 times for 11 yards. Purdue (1-2) did manage 144 yards rushing but 60 came on Markell Jones’ touchdown run with 7:02 to play when the outcome had already been decided. The Boilermakers, who had committed only nine penalties combined in their first two games, finished with 10 for 87 yards Saturday, and that continual stops and starts thwarted any chance Purdue of making a serious second-half run.

“It’s unfortunate we weren’t able to get going offensively, we couldn’t get in any rhythm,” Hazell said. “I thought they did a good job of putting pressure on the quarterback.”

The disparity in quarterback play was obvious.

While Appleby struggled, Virginia Tech’s Brenden Motley overcame three fumbles and wound up throwing for two touchdowns, running for a third and nearly catching another.

At times, Motley played well. He finished 15 of 23 for 220 yards, rushed 15 times for 24 yards and caught a pass that he took to Purdue’s goal line.

At other times, Motley looked like a guy making his second college start. Twice, he lost the ball on blind-side hits and he fumbled again when he didn’t tuck the ball away after being surrounded by Purdue pass rushers.

But the miscues couldn’t keep Motley from winning his second-straight game since replacing the injured Michael Brewer.

“Bad plays are going to happen,” Motley said. “The key is how you react to those plays. I thought we had a good game plan coming in, and once we started executing it, we were fine.”

Coach Frank Beamer passed Alabama’s Paul “Bear” Bryant and moved into a sixth-place tie with Nevada’s Chris Ault for most wins at one school (233) in Football Bowl Subdivision history.

“We missed some passes we should have hit and had some penalties, but this is one we’re going to look back on as a really good win,” Beamer said. “I thought our defense did some really good things.”

Motley had much more help than Appleby, too.

Isaiah Ford caught six passes for a career high 128 yards, two of Bucky Hodges’ three receptions went for touchdowns, and Trey Edmunds rushed nine times for 72 yards for Virginia Tech (2-1).

The Hokies started fast, getting a field goal and a 20-yard fumble return for a touchdown from Chuck Clark to make it 10-0 in the first five minutes.

Appleby answered with a 2-yard TD run and when Purdue’s Danny Ezechukwu scooped up Motley’s first fumble, ran it back 90 yards for a TD - tying the second-longest fumble return in school history - and Purdue actually led 14-10. It was the longest return at Purdue since 1966 when Leroy Keyes scored on a 95-yard play against Notre Dame.

After the teams traded field goals, Motley threw a 3-yard TD pass to Hodges to break a 17-17 tie and the Hokies went on a 27-0 run that included Anthony Shegog’s 15-yard return off a blocked punt for a touchdown late in the third quarter. That gave Virginia Tech a 41-17 lead.

It was one of the few things that went according to the Hokies’ script.

“Wisconsin blocked a punt on them last year, and we tried a couple things they had done,” Beamer said. “We could have blocked a couple more.”

___

AP college football website: collegefootball.ap.org

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