Hokies blank Northeastern in season opener
By Matthew Spiers
September 2, 2006

BLACKSBURG - The No. 17 Virginia Tech Hokies got their 2006 season started in predictable fashion with a 38-0 win over the Division I-AA Northeastern University Huskies in front of 66,233 fans at Lane Stadium.

The Hokies improved to 1-0 on the season ahead of their ACC opener next Saturday against the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. Northeastern fell to 0-1.

"We've got work to do, but I'm not disappointed in our effort," Tech head coach Frank Beamer said. "I thought we gave great effort. I thought this was the best thing for us right now - playing somebody else. We've got every facet of the game on tape. Now, let's learn from it, get better."

The Hokies got on the board first with an opening drive that featured redshirt sophomore tailback Branden Ore. After a 20-yard punt return by Eddie Royal, Ore accounted for all but one yard on the drive, going the last six yards up the gut for the first score of the season. Brandon Pace's extra point made it 7-0 Hokies at the 9:15 mark of the first quarter.

Brandon Flowers intercepted a third-down pass by NU quarterback Anthony Orio on the Huskies' next possession and the Hokies wasted no time in capitalizing. Redshirt sophomore quarterback Sean Glennon, making his first collegiate start, went upstairs to junior Josh Morgan for a 54-yard touchdown on the first play after the turnover.

Tech's special teams got into the act after the defense held Northeastern to a three-and-out on its ensuing possession. A high snap to NU punter Jared White, a graduate of nearby Lord Botetourt, allowed Tech's Cary Wade to slice through the protection and block the punt. Kam Chancellor recovered at the 12, and four plays later, George Bell plunged in from a yard out. Another point after expanded the lead to 21-0 with 1:45 remaining in the first quarter.

Things slowed down considerably in the second quarter, until Tech's last drive. Pinned at their own 3, the Hokies went 97 yards in five plays. Glennon hit Ore on a short screen pass and Ore took care of the rest, going 55 yards down the sideline for his second touchdown of the day. After the extra point, the Hokies took their 28-0 lead into the locker room at halftime.

Glennon played two series in the second half, the second of which ended with a 4-yard touchdown pass to fullback Carlton Weatherford. That was Glennon's third scoring strike of the day and the first touchdown of Weatherford's career.

In his first collegiate start, Glennon completed 15 of his 18 attempts for 222 yards and three touchdowns. He threw one interception as well.

"I thought it went pretty well," Glennon said. "If I could have that one play back, I'd say it went really well. I had that one bonehead play. I was trying to make a play and should have thrown the ball out of bounds. Other than that, I thought I play solid. I had a couple of big plays and I managed game pretty well. Even with that one play, I'm pleased with my performance."

After Glennon's departure, redshirt freshman Ike Whitaker took over at quarterback and, after an offsides penalty on Northeastern extended the Tech drive, led the Hokies on another scoring drive. This one resulted in a 30-yard Pace field goal, making the score 38-0.

Ore rushed for 54 yards and a score and ripped off another 81 yards through the air, as well as another score. Tech's offense finished with 382 yards of total offense.

Still, Beamer wasn't entirely pleased with his team's effort. The Tech defense surrendered just 207 yards to the Huskies, but did commit three personal foul penalties. The special teams blocked the punt in the first quarter, but got flagged for a roughing the kicker personal foul in the third quarter. And kicker Jared Develli had his field-goal attempt blocked late in the game.

"Offensively, we bogged down a couple of times; we blocked a kick, but then we had a roughing the punter," Beamer said, ticking off a few of the Hokies' mistakes. "Just in all areas, we need to clean some things up. We were playing hard, but it wasn't a real clean game. There wasn't a glaring thing - a 'we've got to improve this.' Overall, we've got to get better. Learn from it and get better."