Failure to launch
Published 10:01 pm Saturday, September 10, 2011
GREENVILLE — East Carolina’s Air Raid offense never got off the runway on Saturday as No. 11 Virginia Tech’s defense pitched a perfect game to fend off the Pirates 17-10.
Virginia Tech (2-0, ACC) held the Pirates to a mere 112 yards of total offense as ECU passed for 127 yards and rushed for -15. Last season, quarterback Dominique Davis lit up opposing defenses as he averaged 305 passing yards per contest, but on Saturday the senior signal-caller and his unit never got into rhythm.
Hokies defensive coordinator Bud Foster’s crew did a masterful job of playing cat-and-mouse at the line of scrimmage with the Pirates, as Davis would make his call and then the Tech defenders would adjust accordingly.
“They out-played us. They must know all our signals,” Davis said. “They played harder than us. … Bud Foster is a great coach.”
After four quarters of chess Virginia Tech amassed five sacks and nine tackles for a loss, while holding starting RB Reggie Bullock to 10 yards on five carries and star wideout Lance Lewis to three catches for 17 yards.
“When they saw us checking to something they started checking to something else. They seemed to check into the right thing,” said Lewis, who could no recall the last time he was held to three catches in a game.
Lewis, who had 13 catches for 108 yards and two scores last week during ECU’s loss to No. 12 South Carolina, faced lot of bracket coverage on Saturday.
“They were playing 17 yards off me with a safety over the top and wouldn’t let me go deep,” Lewis said.
East Carolina (0-2, C-USA) coach Ruffin McNeill tipped his hat to the Hokies after the game.
“The offense was playing a great Virginia Tech defense,” McNeill said. “That’s a really good looking football team we played. That’s a team that can win the ACC championship and probably contend for a national title.”
The Pirates new 3-4 defense did a good job against the pass as sophomore quarterback Logan Thomas hit on only 8 of his 20 pass attempts for 91 yards and no TD passes.
Early in the second quarter sophomore safety Damon Magazu made a tremendous interception in the back of the end zone to kill a Hokies’ drive.
After that, Virginia Tech made a commitment to the run and stuck with it as it rushed for a total of 241 yards. Star running back David Wilson led the charge as he averaged five yards per carry to total 138 yards. John Oglesby proved to be the thunder to Wilson’s lightening as he carried the ball nine times for 43 yards and two scores. His last touchdown would be the game winner.
In the first quarter, a two-yard TD run by ECU sophomore RB Michael Dobson put the Pirates up 7-0.
A l3-play drive late in the second quarter, in which Tech only threw once, resulted in a Cody Journell 39-yard field goal with :44 left to go in the second half to cut ECU’s lead to 7-3.
In the third quarter, the Hokies marched 78 yards down field and scored a touchdown on a two-yard run by Oglesby to go up 10-7.
ECU would retaliate with Michael Barbour 48-yard field goal at the 5:40 mark in the third quarter to knot the game at 10.
The Pirates looked like they were going to take the lead when Davis hit Dobson over the middle for what looked like a sure TD, however, the running back dropped the pass.
The score would stay locked at 10 until Oglesby reached the end zone for the second time as the bruising tailback mashed his way in from 10 yards out.