Pirates fumble away shot at Hokies|ECU offense stalls in big spots

Published 3:15 am Friday, November 6, 2009

Sports Writer

GREENVILLE — There would be no miracle comeback this time around.
T.J. Lee was nowhere to be found and neither was the East Carolina offense as the Pirates fell 16-3 to No. 22 Virginia Tech on Thursday.
The 43,569 fans that packed into Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium expecting to see a shootout with the Hokies, instead saw the Pirates shoot themselves in the foot as they committed two costly fumbles that ended two of ECU’s three impressive drives of the game and lowered their record to 5-4 (4-1 C-USA).
The East Carolina defense did its best to keep the Hokies’ dangerous duo of quarterback Tyrod Taylor and running back Ryan Williams in check, but had no support from a Pirate attack that amassed only 277 yards of total offense and a mere three points.
“It’s frustrating to lose because I thought we played well,” ECU coach Skip Holtz said. “I thought the defense accepted the challenge and did some really good things. … We just had two turnovers in the red zone which really hurt us.”
Taylor hit on 17 of 30 for 137 yards and ran the ball 11 times for 68 yards and scored the game’s only touchdown on a 13-yard scamper, while Williams pounded out 179 yards on 26 carries.
The rest of Virginia Tech’s points came on Matt Waldron field goals of 41, 22 and 31 yards, respectively.
ECU quarterback Patrick Pinkney struggled with accuracy all night, connecting on only 16 of his 33 attempts for 167 yards and one interception.
Running back Dominique Lindsay had a decent night as he ran for 69 yards on 13 carries for a 5.3 yards per attempt average.
After Virginia Tech (6-3, 3-2 ACC) kicked its second field goal of the first half to take a 6-0 lead, the Pirates received the ball at their own 32 and began marching down field.
East Carolina got inside the Tech 30, but when Pinkney hooked up with Rob Kass for a short pass, the Hokies’ Russ Grimm forced a fumble and recovered it at the 26.
Kass inured his knee on the play and did not return.
The Pirates’ CB/PR Dekota Marshall also got injured early and did not return. Marshall took a devastating hit on VT’s first punt of the game and had to be carried out on a stretcher.
The other big turnover came midway through the third quarter when ECU got down inside the Tech 20-yard line, and lost the ball when running back Giavanni Ruffin fumbled on the 18.
ECU answered with its only scoring drive of the game, a 12-play 79-yard drive that ended with a Ben Hartman 24-yard field goal to make it 13-3 going into the break.
Virginia Tech 6 7 0 3 — 16
East Carolina 0 3 0 0 — 3
First Quarter
VT—FG Waldron 41, 8:59.
VT—FG Waldron 22, :00.
Second Quarter
VT—T.Taylor 13 run (Waldron kick), 2:06.
ECU—FG Hartman 24, :00.
Fourth Quarter
VT—FG Waldron 31, 1:13.
First downs 22 14
Rushes-yards 45-242 31-110
Passing 137 167
Comp-Att-Int 17-30-0 16-35-1
Return Yards 55 10
Punts-Avg. 7-44.9 8-46.5
Fumbles-Lost 2-1 2-2
Penalties-Yards 5-50 8-79
Time of Possession 34:57 25:03
RUSHING—Virginia Tech, R.Williams 26-179, T.Taylor 11-61, Oglesby 6-13, Team 1-(minus 3), Roberts 1-(minus 8). East Carolina, Lindsay 13-69, G.Ruffin 3-13, Harris 5-10, Freeney 1-9, Jackson 2-7, Pinkney 6-2, Jordan 1-0.
PASSING—Virginia Tech, T.Taylor 17-30-0-137. East Carolina, Pinkney 16-33-1-167, Jordan 0-2-0-0.
RECEIVING—Virginia Tech, Coale 6-60, Boykin 3-17, R.Williams 3-9, Roberts 2-31, Boyce 2-11, Davis 1-9. East Carolina, Taylor 5-60, Freeney 4-50, Harris 3-45, Jenkins 1-6, Gidrey 1-3, Kass 1-3, Lindsay 1-0.