August 30, 2008
Hokies fall to Pirates in season opener
By Jimmy Robertson
(17) Virginia Tech (0-1) 0142622
East Carolina (1-0) 0761427
  • Charlotte, N.C. - 72,169
  • Passing: Sean Glennon 139 yds
  • Rushing: Kenny Lewis 58 yds
  • Receiving: Dyrell Roberts 62 yds

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - East Carolina scored 14 points in the final four minutes, including a touchdown off a blocked punt that turned out to be the game-winner as the Pirates downed the Virginia Tech Hokies 27-22 in the season opener played at Bank of American Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

The season-opening loss marked the Hokies' first since falling to Southern Cal in the 2004 opener and it marked just Tech's second season-opening loss in the past 13 seasons.

Tech led 22-13 following Darren Evans' 3-yard touchdown run with 14:56 left to go in the game. But the Pirates eventually answered, cutting the lead to 22-20 on quarterback Pat Pinkney's 3-yard run with 3:36 to go.

The Hokies attempted to run out the clock on their next possession, but were forced to punt with 1:59 to go. ECU then made the play of the game, as T.J. Lee came in and blocked Brent Bowden's punt. Lee scooped up the ball and went 27 yards to the end zone for the touchdown that enabled the Pirates to take a 27-22 lead.

Tech started its next drive on 24, but four plays netted just three yards. The Pirates took over on downs and ran out the clock to preserve the victory.

Pinkney played well for the Pirates, completing 19-of-23 for 211 yards and a touchdown. The Pirates also rushed for 158 yards on their way to 369 yards for the day.

Tech jumped out to a 14-0 lead thanks to a 30-yard fumble return for a score by Stephan Virgil and a 6-yard run by Kenny Lewis, Jr., with 8:54 remaining in the half. But a Sean Glennon interception right before halftime turned out to be costly, as ECU scored on Jon Williams' 1-yard run with 1:16 left to cut the lead to 14-7 and get the Pirates back in the game.

"We just made too many mistakes," Glennon said. "You're not going to beat a good team when you make the mistakes we made."

Glennon completed 14-of-23 for 139 yards, but threw two interceptions. Tech rushed for just 104 yards against ECU's strong defense front, led by Lewis' 62 yards.

Tech played this game without All-ACC cornerback Macho Harris, who injured his foot in the Hokies' scrimmage last Friday. The injury snapped Harris' streak of starts at 27 games.

Tech, which played eight true freshmen (Ryan Williams and Justin Myer did not play) and had 10 guys making their first collegiate start, now gets ready for its next game. Tech takes on Furman next Saturday in its home opener at Lane Stadium. Kickoff is slated for 1:30 p.m.

For updates on Virginia Tech football, follow the Hokies on Twitter (@VT_Football).

For updates on the Hokies, follow Jimmy Robertson on Twitter (@jrobIHS).

HokieSports Shop