GREENVILLE, N.C., SEPT. 15 -- With both offenses battling to a near standstill, the Virginia Tech defensive unit made the difference in tonight's squeaker over East Carolina.

Quarterback Will Furrer threw for 237 yards and two touchdowns, including the game-winner. But defensive end Jimmy Whitten's block of an extra-point attempt allowed the Hokies (2-1) to escape with a 24-23 victory.

"The fumble at the goal line and blocking the extra point were the turning points in the game," said Virginia Tech Coach Frank Beamer.

East Carolina (1-2) led, 14-0, early and held a 17-14 halftime edge, but the game turned around when Pirates fullback David Daniels fumbled at the Virginia Tech 2-yard line and Anthony Pack ran the recovery back 75 yards.

The Hokies missed a 22-yard field goal, but they stopped East Carolina's next series and got the ball in good field position. Furrer, who completed 14 of 19, found Bo Campbell on a 31-yard touchdown play for a 21-17 lead with 2:11 left in the third quarter.

East Carolina, which was sparked by quarterback Jeff Blake in the first half, faltered when it went to the ground game.

In the fourth quarter, Virginia Tech's Tony Kennedy reeled off runs of 23 and 11 yards to key a 75-yard drive capped by a 35-yard Mickey Thomas field goal to put the Hokies up, 24-17.

East Carolina came back with a 68-yard drive with Daniels rambling 31 yards for the touchdown, but Whitten blocked the extra point try to keep the Hokies in the lead.

Pack sacked Blake to end the next Pirates threat and East Carolina ran out of time and timeouts.

"I thought that {in other games} Virginia Tech was carried a bunch of the time by the offense," Beamer said. "But tonight it was just the opposite. Defensively we did everything we could do. We scratched, bit, clawed and did everything we could do."

East Carolina Coach Bill Lewis agreed.

"I can't emphasize how much credit that bunch across the field gets," he said. "They hung in there and made the plays they had to in the fourth quarter when the game was on the line."

VMI 24, James Madison 21:

Joe Purzycki was forced to watch from the press box, which may have been close enough for the James Madison coach as he saw his Dukes get bushwhacked in Lexington, Va.

With Purzycki suffering from extreme dizziness caused by an inner-ear infection, VMI scored 17 unanswered points in the second half to topple James Madison for the first time since 1985 before a homecoming crowd of 7,850.

The winning points came with 2:38 left on Wade Hawkins's 31-yard field goal that topped off the Keydets' second consecutive 80-yard drive of the last half.