BLACKSBURG, VA., OCT. 6 -- Reserve tailback Ralph Brown's second-half performance provided Virginia Tech the lift the Hokies needed today to hold on and defeat interstate rival West Virginia, 26-21.
With only five carries for four yards in Virginia Tech's previous five games, Brown entered the game only after starter Vaughn Hebron left with a pulled groin and led the Hokies in rushing with 84 yards on 10 carries, all in the second half.
Most of Brown's yardage came at the start of the fourth quarter when Virginia Tech (3-3) drove 80 yards in 10 plays for the decisive score. His six carries for 61 yards on the drive were capped off by Will Furrer's six-yard touchdown pass to tight end Greg Daniels, boosting the Hokies' lead to 26-14.
"Generally, all the calls went up the middle where the defense was keying," said Brown who led the team in rushing two years ago before missing last season because of academic ineligibility. "All I had to do was bounce around to the ouside."
Furrer threw two touchdown passes and Mickey Thomas kicked two field goals for Virginia Tech. Furrer, a redshirt junior, directed touchdown drives of 70 and 80 yards in the second half. He completed 19 of 31 passes for 210 yards and moved to fourth on Virginia Tech's career passing list with 3,020 yards.
For a while it appeared that a 12-point fourth-quarter lead might not be enough for the Hokies who have already blown fourth-quarter leads this season against South Carolina and Florida State.
Kept alive by a fourth-down pass interference call, the Mountaineers cut the lead to 26-21 with 7:44 remaining when quarterback Greg Jones rushed 17 yards for the score.
The teams traded possessions before Virginia Tech got the ball back on downs with 2:07 remaining. Needing a first down to run out the clock, the Hokies were faced with fourth and inches. Coach Frank Beamer called time out, then the Hokies tried to draw the Mountaineers offside. Instead, Virginia Tech was called for illegal motion, and West Virginia got the ball back at its 20 with 46 seconds left.
The Mountaineers ran twice to get to the 48, but Jones's pass attempt with no time left fell harmlessly to the ground and Virginia Tech was able to celebrate its second straight victory over the Mountaineers.