- The Washington Times - Monday, September 5, 2005

RALEIGH, N.C. — Maybe the difference for Virginia Tech against N.C. State this year was Marcus Vick.

Vick, making his first collegiate start after being suspended last year for various legal issues, threw for a touchdown and made several big runs as the Hokies avenged their only ACC loss from a year ago by beating the Wolfpack 20-16 in the opener for both teams last night.

Vick’s stats weren’t particularly impressive — he completed 10 of 21 passes for 108 yards and ran for 31 more — but he made big plays when he needed to in the second half as his brother, Atlanta Falcons star Michael Vick, watched from the sideline.

The Hokies’ Aaron Rouse recovered a fumble and had two interceptions, including one to end the game. The Wolfpack drove 50 yards in less than a minute, but Wolfpack quarterback Jay Davis threw into coverage with seven seconds left.

“I had great pressure that was caused by my line,” Rouse said. “In the secondary everybody was where they were supposed to be. I read [Davis] very well. He likes to look where he throws the ball.”

The Hokies’ 17-16 loss last season to N.C. State was the result of some sloppy play, including two missed field goals, a dropped punt snap and 10 sacks.

This year, the roles were reversed. N.C. State committed three turnovers and 12 penalties for 105 yards, including four personal fouls and a running into the kicker penalty that gave the Hokies a first down with 2:19 to play. The miscue wiped out a missed field goal by Brandon Pace.

Another mistake — Darrell Blackman called for a fair catch on a punt inside the Wolfpack 1 — led to the game-winning score for the Hokies (1-0, 1-0 ACC). N.C. State (0-1, 0-1) was forced to punt, and Eddie Royal fielded it at the 42 and returned it to the 20 with 13:16 to play.

Three plays later, Vick rolled to his left, squared and fired a low liner to the corner of the end zone that only David Clowney could catch for a 19-yard touchdown.

Moments later, Virginia Tech appeared to take control of the game. Darryl Tapp knocked an attempted pass from Davis’ hand, and Rouse picked up the ball and rumbled 23 yards for a touchdown. However, the play was called back and ruled an incomplete pass in the game’s first test of the ACC’s new instant replay policy.

DaJuan Morgan took a fake punt moments later and sprinted 44 yards, putting John Deraney in range for a 35-yard field goal that left the score 20-16 with 8:09 left.

Pace tied it at 13-13 on a 28-yard field goal with 2:19 left in the third quarter. A 24-yard jaunt on third-and-10 by Vick highlighted the 18-play, 88-yard drive that lasted more than seven minutes. The junior appeared to be caught in the backfield but broke free in a play that perhaps only his brother could replicate.

Deraney’s 27-yard field goal as the clock expired in the first half put the Wolfpack ahead 13-10.

N.C. State scored the game’s first points on Blackman’s 25-yard sprint to the end zone with 6:50 left in the opening quarter. The Wolfpack converted four third-down plays to keep the 14-play, 83-yard drive moving.

The Hokies answered with a nine-play, 80-yard drive that took just 3:26 off the clock. Vick’s 29-yard strike to Josh Morgan put Virginia Tech at the 5, and Mike Imoh’s sweep tied the game on the next play.

Deraney’s 33-yard field goal midway through the second quarter put N.C. State back in front 10-7. Pace kicked a 44-yard field goal to make it 10-10 with 2:33 left in the half.

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