August 30, 2014
The William & Mary Game - updated 5:15 PM
Football: The Hokie Huddle


Sunday thought – Beamer wants Brewer to emulate Brees

Less than 24 hours ago, Virginia Tech dispatched of William & Mary in the season opener for both teams, and the game marked the debut of Tech quarterback Michael Brewer, who transferred from Texas Tech after graduating this past spring.

Brewer lived up to the scouting report on him – solid, not flashy, efficient, secure with the ball, a winner. He completed 23 of 30 passes for 251 yards, with a couple of touchdowns.

The performance left head coach Frank Beamer pleased.

“I was impressed with Michael Brewer,” he said. “You talk about the stage not being too big, and I thought he was very much in control. I thought he handled himself great. He picked up some valuable yards when things broke down. He never panicked. We took a big step there [in Brewer’s development].”

Brewer’s only mistake came in the first quarter. He attempted to throw a pass over the middle, but a William & Mary defensive linemen got a hand on the ball, sending it up in the air. Tribe linebacker Airek Green intercepted the ball, killing the Tech drive.

That is a concern of Beamer’s. Brewer is only 6-foot tall and susceptible to passes batted at the line of scrimmage. Thus, Beamer wants Brewer to emulate another shorter quarterback – Drew Brees, the New Orleans Saints quarterback who ranks as one of the best in the business.

“We’ve just got to do a good job of doing a Drew Brees deal,” Beamer said. “You’ve got to find the passing lanes because it is a fact that he and Drew are about the same height. So you’ve got to find those lanes.”

Interception aside, Brewer came out of the game feeling good about his performance in his first collegiate start. He gave the offensive line credit – he wasn’t sacked – and he complimented his receivers.

Brewer completed passes to nine different receivers, and the Hokies’ tight ends – Ryan Malleck and Bucky Hodges – combined for nine catches. Hodges caught six passes for 38 yards and a touchdown.

“There are going to be times when the defense presents opportunities to spread the ball around,” Brewer said. “William & Mary did that. They had a good game plan and caused us to throw a lot of underneath stuff. So it’s a credit to our receivers, getting out there and making plays.”




Post-Game Notes

• Seventeen true freshmen dressed out for today’s game against the Tribe. Ten of them played: Isaiah Ford, Eric Gallo, Melvin Keihn, Shai McKenzie, Braxton Pfaff, Cam Phillips, C.J. Reavis, Joey Slye, Greg Stroman and Marshawn Williams.

• The list of true freshmen who also made the dress squad, but did not play, include quarterbacks Chris Durkin and Andrew Ford, running back Travon McMillian, kickers Michael Santamaria and Carson Wise, offensive lineman Colt Pettit and defensive lineman Vinny Mihota. Eleven true freshmen played last season, the most ever under head coach Frank Beamer.

• In all, 32 players on the dress squad came into today having not played a game at Virginia Tech. That includes 17 true freshmen, nine redshirt freshmen, and then transfers (e.g. Michael Brewer and Wade Hansen) and walk-ons. Twenty saw their first action in the game.

• Isaiah Ford became just the second true freshman wide receiver to start the opening game of the year under head coach Frank Beamer when he took the field for the first snap on offense. Dyrell Roberts is the only other true frosh WR to start the opening game under Beamer, getting the nod in the 2008 opener against East Carolina in Charlotte. Roberts’ only catch in that game was a 62-yarder in the second half. Ford scored the first touchdown of the season for the Hokies and finished the game with four catches for 43 yards. The last true freshman to catch a touchdown pass in the season opener was tailback Mike Imoh, who caught a 19-yard scoring pass from Bryan Randall in 2002.

• Kicker Joey Slye became the first freshman kicker to open the season as Tech’s starting placekicker since Carter Warley in 2000. Slye made all four extra points and a pair of field goals in the game. Shayne Graham was the last true freshman kicker in the opening game, that coming in 1996.

Derek Di Nardo made his first career start, coming at outside linebacker. Also making their first career starts were Isaiah Ford (WR), Augie Conte (OG), Deon Clarke (LB), Ken Ekanem (DE) and Joey Slye (PK). • Michael Brewer completed 23 passes to nine different receivers in the first game. The interception he threw in the first half off a deflected pass was the first of his college career as he had none in two seasons at Texas Tech. He finished the game completing 76.7 percent of his passes.

• Virginia Tech has now scored in 244 consecutive games, extending its school- and ACC-record streak. Today was just the 79th time during the streak that the Hokies have scored on their opening possession.

• Redshirt freshman Bucky Hodges (6-6, 244), a converted quarterback, caught six passes for 48 yards in the game, including an 8-yard touchdown.

• Twenty-eight of the 34 points for the Hokies were scored by freshmen (touchdowns from true freshmen Isaiah Ford and Shai McKenzie and redshirt freshman Bucky Hodges, as well as two field goals and four extra points from Joey Slye).

• True freshman Shai McKenzie finished with 106 yards on the ground, becoming the second-straight Tech freshman to post 100 yards rushing or more in a season opener. Trey Edmunds rushed for 132 yards against Alabama last year in his first game as a redshirt freshman. The last true freshman to top 100 yards in his first game was Shyrone Stith in 1996 against Akron (119).



Hokies open season with 34-9 win over William & Mary

Michael Brewer completed 23 of 30 passes for 251 yards, with two touchdowns to lead Virginia Tech to a 34-9 season-opening victory over William & Mary on Saturday.

Brewer, a transfer from Texas Tech who won the starting job a week ago, completed passes to nine different receivers, including touchdown passes of 13 yards to Isaiah Ford and 8 yards to Bucky Hodges.

Freshman kicker Joey Slye kicked field goals of 20 and 27 yards for the Hokies.

Virginia Tech pulled away by scoring on three straight drives and four of five spanning the first and second halves. Brewer’s pass to Hodges and Slye’s 20-yard field goal gave the Hokies a 17-6 lead at halftime, and then Slye’s 27-yarder made it 20-6.

Shai McKenzie’s 39-yard touchdown run two possessions later gave the Hokies a 27-9 lead. McKenzie led Tech with 106 yards on nine carries, as the Hokies rushed for 222 yards.

William & Mary finished with just 193 yards of total offense.



Tech starting to pull away

Tech started the quarter with an impressive drive and ended the quarter with an impressive drive, as the Hokies started pulling away from the Tribe.

A 14-play, 74-yard drive to open the second half resulted in a 27-yard field goal by Slye. The Hokies then ended the quarter with an 80-yard drive that resulted in a 39-yard touchdown run by freshman Shai McKenzie. Thus, the Hokies led 27-9 after three quarters.

All of Tech’s points so far have been scored by first-year players – Ford, Hodges, McKenzie and Slye.

Brewer hasn’t been flashy, but has been solid, completing 21 of 28 for 220 yards, with two touchdowns and an interception.

McKenzie leads all rushers with 75 yards on just six carries.

Tech’s defense, lest we not forget them, has been pretty salty today. Two of William & Mary’s three scores have come off Tech turnovers, and the Tribe only has 123 yards of offense.


Halftime Notes

• Seventeen true freshmen are dressed out for today’s game against the Tribe. In the first half, six of them played: Isaiah Ford, Melvin Keihn, Shai McKenzie, Cam Phillips, Joey Slye and Marshawn Williams.

• The list of true freshmen who also made the dress squad, but did not play in the first half, include quarterbacks Chris Durkin and Andrew Ford, running back Travon McMillian, kickers Michael Santamaria and Carson Wise, offensive linemen Colt Pettit, Eric Gallo and Braxton Pfaff, defensive backs Greg Stroman and C.J. Reavis and defensive lineman Vinny Mihota. Eleven true freshmen played last season, the most ever under head coach Frank Beamer.

• In all, 32 players on the dress squad came into today having not played a game at Virginia Tech. That includes 17 true freshmen, nine redshirt freshmen, and then transfers (e.g. Michael Brewer and Wade Hansen) and walk-ons. Sixteen saw their first action in the first half.

• Isaiah Ford became just the second true freshman wide receiver to start the opening game of the year under head coach Frank Beamer when he took the field for the first snap on offense. Dyrell Roberts is the only other true frosh WR to start the opening game under Beamer, getting the nod in the 2008 opener against East Carolina in Charlotte. Roberts’ only catch in that game was a 62-yarder in the second half. Ford scored the first touchdown of the season for the Hokies.

• Kicker Joey Slye became the first freshman kicker to open the season as Tech’s starting placekicker since Carter Warley in 2000. Slye made both extra points and a 20-yard field goal in the first half.

• Derek Di Nardo made his first career start, coming at outside linebacker. Also making their first career starts were Isaiah Ford (WR), Augie Conte (OG), Deon Clarke (LB), Ken Ekanem (DE), Joey Slye (PK). The last true freshman to open the season as Tech’s kicker was Shayne Graham in 1996.

• Michael Brewer completed 14 passes to nine different receivers in the first half. The interception he threw in the first half off a deflected pass was the first of his college career as he had none in two seasons at Texas Tech.

• Virginia Tech has now scored in 244 consecutive games, extending its school- and ACC-record streak. Today was just the 79th time during the streak that the Hokies have scored on their opening possession.

• Redshirt freshman Bucky Hodges (6-6, 244), a converted quarterback, caught three passes for 22 yards in the first half, including an 8-yard touchdown.



Hokies own second quarter

Tech gave up a short 29-yard field goal to Carpenter to start the second quarter, but the Hokies dominated the rest of the quarter.

Tech’s defense came up with the big play midway through the quarter when Chase Williams sacked Tribe quarterback Steve Cluley and forced him to fumble. Whip linebacker Derek Di Nardo picked up the ball and ran 45 yards to the William & Mary 2.

It took the Hokies five plays, but the got it in the end zone on an 8-yard touchdown pass to tight end Bucky Hodges, who made a nice grab over the defender. The score and Slye’s extra point gave the Hokies a 14-6 lead.

Tech then got another score right before halftime, marching 75 yards to the William & Mary 3. The drive stalled, but Tech got on the board with a 20-yard field goal from Slye and took a 17-6 lead into the locker room.

Tech out-gained William & Mary 213-128, but where the Hokies were really good was on third down. Tech converted 6-of-9 on third down and scored both of its touchdowns on third down.

Brewer completed 14 of 20 for 149 yards, with two touchdowns and an interception. He has completed passes to nine different receivers.



Hokies up 7-3 after one quarter

Virginia Tech got off to a quick start, scoring on its opening possession. The Hokies marched 84 yards in 14 plays, and got on the board when quarterback Michael Brewer stepped up in the pocket and threw a 13-yard touchdown pass to freshman receiver Isaiah Ford – on third-and-10. Joey Slye’s extra point gave the Hokies a 7-0 lead with 7:36 left in the first quarter.

It marked a perfect way for the Hokies’ offense to start the season. Tech converted on third down four times and Brewer completed 6-of-8 on the drive, with five different receivers catching passes.

The Tribe answered with a 36-yard field goal by John Carpenter with four minute left in the first quarter to make the score 7-3.

William & Mary has come up with some big plays in this one. An interception by Airek Green stopped one drive, a 40-yard run by Mikal Abdul-Saboor set up Carpenter’s field goal, and a 43-yard pass from quarterback Steve Cluley to Tre McBride put the Tribe deep into Tech territory as the quarter came to an end.


Tech athletics to recognize President Sands before the game

The Tech athletics department will recognize university president Dr. Timothy Sands in a pregame ceremony at the 50-yard line roughly 10 minutes before kickoff. Sands then will do the coin toss right before the game.

Sands became the university’s 16th president on June 1, replacing Dr. Charles Steger, who retired. He is an avid sports fan, who often can be found playing basketball in the early morning hours on campus with a group of professors and other university personnel.

In fact, Sands got his B.S., his M.S., and his Ph.D all from the University of California, Berkeley, and he proudly tells people that he stormed the field after this famous play during the Cal-Stanford game in 1982 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mfebpLfAt8g


Facyson to start, Cline is out

Earlier this week, Tech defensive coordinator Bud Foster said he expected to start cornerback Chuck Clark over Brandon Facyson, who has been nursing injuries all August. But Facyson will be getting the nod against William & Mary, and Clark will serve as the nickel back. Facyson, a sophomore, started nine games last season as a true freshman.

In other pregame notes, Tech tight end Kalvin Cline, a sophomore, did not dress for the game. Cline has been hampered this fall with a knee injury. Another injured player, Desmond Frye, is dressing for the game and will be able to play. Frye had been bothered with a shoulder injury.


Hokie Village makes debut

With a blast from Skipper, the university’s military cannon, the new Hokie Village opened right across Spring Road from Lane Stadium.

Hokie Village, one of many new fan initiatives implemented by the Tech athletics department for this season, is a free pregame festival that offers different varieties of entertainment. Held on the artificial turf soccer practice field, Hokie Village offers fans games, concessions, campus displays and access to the Virginia Tech Spirit Squad (12:30-1:30). Also, for this game, the Tech women’s basketball team will sign autographs at 2:15, and of course, a festival simply isn’t a festival without the HokieBird.

So those in the area should stop by, particularly those with young children.


Large number of true freshmen to dress vs. William & Mary

Tech’s coaching staff plans on having 17 true freshmen dress out for the game against the Tribe, a staggering number, though only half or so of those are expected to play in the game.

The list of true freshmen who made the dress squad include quarterbacks Chris Durkin and Andrew Ford, receivers Isaiah Ford and Cam Phillips, running backs Shai McKenzie, Marshawn Williams and Travon McMillian, kickers Michael Santamaria, Joey Slye and Carson Wise, offensive linemen Colt Pettit, Eric Gallo and Braxton Pfaff, defensive backs Greg Stroman and C.J. Reavis and defensive linemen Vinny Mihota and Melvin Keihn.

The best bets to play and see extensive time are Ford, Phillips, McKenzie, Williams and Slye, who is expected to get the nod over Santamaria. Stroman figures in as the team’s punt returner, and Keihn is slated for the kickoff team.

In all, 32 players on the dress squad have not played a game at Tech. That includes the 17 true freshmen, nine redshirt freshmen, and then transfers (e.g. Michael Brewer and Wade Hansen) and walk-ons.




Greetings Hokie fans,

Welcome to The Hokie Huddle, a 2014 game weekend football blog. This is a new feature that can be found by going to hokiesports.com and clicking on the link.

Starting on Thursdays of game week, this blog will be updated regularly and contain information related to events leading up to the game. On game days, the content will be centered on the game itself. We will wrap up the weekend’s action with relevant content on Sundays. In essence, we want this to be a “one-stop shop” for all information on Hokie game weekends!

Tech opens the season tomorrow against William & Mary at Lane Stadium. This season marks the 50th in the history of Lane Stadium, and fittingly, the Hokies open the 50th season at Lane with a game against the Tribe. On Oct. 2, 1965, Tech played William & Mary in the first varsity game ever at Lane Stadium and beat the Tribe 9-7. The Hokie Huddle logo contains a game program cover from that first game.

The Tech athletics department will be commemorating the 50th season of Lane Stadium throughout the fall, and the department launched this website - http://www.hokiesports.com/football/lane50/ - for the occasion. Fans can watch video highlights of memorable moments throughout the years, vote for their favorite players for the All-Lane Stadium Team, learn about life in the mid-1960s and view every game program cover in the 50 seasons of Lane. We encourage you to check it out.

But first, don’t forget to check into The Hokie Huddle with regularity. You will be able to know when it is updated by the changing image on the logo or by the new time stamp on the main page.

See you tomorrow at Lane Stadium!

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