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Hokies Trample Herd for First Victory

Virginia Tech 52, Marshall 10

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Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, September 13, 2009

BLACKSBURG, Va., Sept. 12 -- For Virginia Tech, much had changed in a week: the setting, the stakes and perhaps most importantly, the opposing team. It all amounted to a boost the Hokies needed to get their season pointed the right direction.

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With a rambling rushing offense, the No. 14 Hokies crushed Marshall, 52-10, on Saturday before a sellout crowd of 66,223 at Lane Stadium.

The Hokies romped for 605 yards of offense, 444 on the ground. David Wilson rushed for 165 yards and Ryan Williams had 164. It was the first time the Hokies had two running backs rush for 100 yards in a game since 2005.

The breezy win provided the balm the Hokies (1-1) needed in the wake of their season-opening, 34-24 loss to Alabama. In that game, Virginia Tech gained only 155 yards of offense and its exhausted defense relented five plays of 20 or more yards.

"Coming off of last week," Coach Frank Beamer said, "people were asking, 'Could we come back up? How much was that going to hurt us mentally? What was it going to do to us?' I thought our kids and coaches gave a great response today."

Against the Thundering Herd (1-1), Virginia Tech had a much easier time, and as a result, there were patches of empty seats by the time fans were doing the Hokie Pokie before the fourth quarter. The Hokies' offense looked crisp. Much of the Thundering Herd's offensive output came on two plays, gains of 61 and 60 yards. And Virginia Tech's Jayron Hosley returned a punt 64 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter.

"Overall," Beamer said, "it was a really good day for us."

Virginia Tech's offense has been predicated on its ability to run, but it took a hit when Darren Evans went down in August with a season-ending knee injury. But Williams, who scored three touchdowns, and Wilson, who had one, showed flourishes of what made them among the nation's top prospects in high school.

"They're built low to the ground; they have leverage," running backs coach Billy Hite said. "When they get their bodies going north, it's hard to tackle something like that."

While Virginia Tech's rushing attack emerged, the passing offense still lacked punch. Quarterback Tyrod Taylor threw for 161 yards, 2 touchdowns and 1 interception, completing 9 of 16 passes. He also ran for 58 yards.

Taylor did not display a deft passing touch early. On the Hokies' opening possession at the Marshall 13-yard line, Taylor threw slightly behind Jarrett Boykin on a quick crossing route and cornerback DeQuan Bembry made a diving grab to intercept the pass.

But Taylor settled down as the game went on. He connected with Danny Coale on a high-arcing 43-yard pass in the second quarter. At the end of the second half, Taylor found Dyrell Roberts for a 21-yard touchdown pass.

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