Hokies Fly Past Duke, 36-0
By Matthew Spiers
September 16, 2006

BLACKSBURG, Va. - The No. 14 Virginia Tech Hokies took to the air and rode a 300-yard passing game from quarterback Sean Glennon to improve to 3-0 with a 36-0 ACC win over Duke. The win, in front of 66,233 fans at Lane Stadium, bumped Tech to 2-0 in conference play, while the Blue Devils fell to 0-3 overall and 0-2 in ACC action.

The game began on an auspicious note for the Hokies as Dukes' opening kickoff went out of bounds, giving Tech possession at its 35. Then on the first play, Glennon eluded the Duke pressure and hooked up with David Clowney for a 60-yard completion to the Duke 5. Three plays later, tailback Branden Ore fought his way in from a yard out. Brandon Pace's extra point attempt was blocked by Casey Camero, leaving the score at 6-0 just two minutes into the game.

Tech's offense stalled on its next two possessions with Glennon throwing an interception and the Hokies going three-and-out. So after Tech's defense held the Blue Devils to a three-and-out of their own, punt returner Eddie Royal took matters into his own hands, following his blocks and cutting back across the field for a 58-yard touchdown. Pace converted the extra point making the count 13-0. Royal's runback marked the first for Tech since DeAngelo Hall returned a punt for a score against California in the 2003 Insight Bowl.

The Hokies scored on their next two possessions as well. The first ended with a 42-yard Pace field goal. The second drive went 87 yards in nine plays and was capped off when redshirt freshman tight end Sam Wheeler caught a 17-yard seam pass from Glennon. Pace's extra point gave the Hokies a 23-0 halftime advantage.

The way Tech's defense was playing, that was all the Hokies would need. Duke was overmatched in this one, registering just 28 yards on 27 plays in the first half. The Hokies added a couple more scores in the second half for good measure, though. Glennon connected with Josh Morgan on a 25-yard touchdown midway through the third, and then true freshman Kenny Lewis, seeing his first collegiate action, took a toss sweep in from 2 yards out early in the fourth.

Helped by some effective blocking from his offensive line, Glennon picked apart Duke's secondary most of the day, completing 15 of 25 passes for 301 yards and two touchdowns. He threw one interception to Duke's All-ACC cornerback John Talley, but that was the only blemish in his first career 300-yard game.

"I thought he (Glennon) did very well," head coach Frank Beamer said. "I'm as happy about the fact that he had time to throw. I think our offensive line got better in that situation."

"We let the ball go, and I think we did it very productively," Clowney said. "We threw it more, and the big difference was that we actually went deep today.

"We took a few deep shots today and they weren't all take-off routes. We went deep on dig routes and deep on comebacks, and those are all things we have in the playbook that we weren't running in the first two games."

Clowney ended up with four receptions for 120 yards, and Royal caught two passes for 55 yards. Royal also tallied 138 yards on six punt returns, giving him 193 total yards in the win.

On the negative side, the Hokies did commit three personal foul penalties, two of them roughing the passer fouls on Aaron Rouse. And the Hokies had two extra points blocked.

"That's going to be the first video I look at tomorrow morning," Beamer said of the blocked extra points. "Field-goal protection - that's never been an issue around here. But it is now."

The Hokies move back out of conference next week when the Cincinnati Bearcats come to Lane Stadium. It will be Cincinnati's first trip to Blacksburg since the 1995 season when the Bearcats beat the Hokies 16-0.