- The Washington Times - Sunday, October 9, 2005

BLACKSBURG, Va. — At halftime against Marshall, Virginia Tech was down two running backs. With redshirt freshman Branden Ore as its third-stringer, the Hokies needn’t have worried.

Ore rushed for 146 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries in the Hokies’ 41-14 win over the Thundering Herd yesterday as Virginia Tech (6-0) became the first team in the country to earn bowl eligibility.

Starting tailback Mike Imoh missed the game with a sprained ankle, and his replacement, Cedric Humes, left the game in the second quarter after breaking his right forearm.

“I just wanted to tell my coaches if anything happens to those two guys I can get the job done,” Ore said. “When Cedric went down you just got to go in another zone and get yourself ready to play.”

The Hokies were driving midway through the second quarter when Humes, who had 10 carries for 62 yards, lost a yard on second-and-2. He was sent to the locker room for X-rays and never returned.

“I feel so bad for Cedric,” Tech running backs coach Billy Hite said. “It’s a shame that something like this has to happen to him his senior year.”

Ore rushed four times for 31 yards on that drive and gave the Hokies a 14-7 lead when he went 14 yards off right tackle with 5:09 left in the half. Marshall never challenged for the lead again.

“I haven’t had a feeling like that since handing off to Kevin Jones,” said Hokies quarterback Marcus Vick, who finished 11-for-16 for 163 yards with a touchdown and an interception.

The Hokies put the game away shortly after halftime, scoring three times in less than four minutes. A 45-yard run by Ore set up Brandon Pace’s 19-yard field goal with 11:51 left in the third quarter.

Three plays later, defensive end Chris Ellis knocked the ball from away Marshall quarterback Bernie Morris. Linebacker Vince Hall picked up the fumble and ran 15 yards for the touchdown.

“Before that play Chris told me, ‘I’m going to get you the ball,’” said Hall, describing his first career touchdown. “The ball went straight into the air, and I said, ‘Oh man, here’s the play right here.’

“I wasn’t going to blink at all,” Hall added. “I watched the ball the whole time it was in the air until the time it hit my fingers. I should have celebrated, but I didn’t want to get Coach [Frank] Beamer mad.”

After forcing Marshall to punt, the Hokies went 73 yards on three plays, capped by Marcus Vick’s 48-yard pass to David Clowney down the right sideline that made it 31-7 with 8:22 left in the third.

Pace added a 23-yard field goal later in the quarter, in which the Hokies outgained the Thundering Herd (2-3) 200 to 1. Ore picked up 107 yards on 12 carries in the quarter alone.

“I’m tickled to death,” said Hite, who touted Ore in preseason as in the mold of former Hokies stars Jones and Lee Suggs. “To me it was just a matter of time before we started running the ball this way.”

Said Marshall coach Mark Snyder: “I know that they always have great backs.”



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