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November 6, 2009
Hokies snap streak with road victory at ECU
By Jimmy Robertson

GREENVILLE, N.C. - Virginia Tech tailback Ryan Williams rushed for a career-high 179 yards and Tyrod Taylor’s touchdown run in the second quarter was the only time either team reached the end zone, as the Hokies snapped a two-game losing streak by knocking off East Carolina 16-3 in front of 43,569 fans at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium on Thursday night.

The victory moved the Hokies to 6-3 overall and enabled them to achieve bowl eligibility for the 17th straight season. Tech, now 10-5 in the series and 4-2 all time at Dowdy-Ficklen, has won six of seven meetings against the Pirates and avenged last season’s 27-22 loss in Charlotte. The Pirates fell to 5-4 on the season.

“Sloppy or not sloppy, a win was good for this team,” Taylor said. “This should get us back on track. This should get us together.”

“Just to get the win, that’s all we cared about,” said cornerback Rashad Carmichael, whose fourth-quarter interception set up Tech’s final score, a field goal that accounted for the final margin. “No matter all you win, a win is a win. We’ll take them any way we can get them.”

The story of the game, though, was Williams, who bounced back from the North Carolina game in which his fumble set up the Tar Heels’ game-winning field goal. He ran the ball 26 times for the 179 yards and averaged 6.9 yards per carry. He surpassed his previous career high of 164 yards set earlier this season against Marshall.

The redshirt freshman from Manassas, Va., came into the game as the ACC’s leading rusher at 117.6 yards per game. He eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark for the season with his performance, and he also eclipsed the 100-yard mark for the sixth time this season, extending his record of 100-yard rushing games by a freshman. He became only the second back to go over the 100-yard mark against ECU this season.

“I ran the rock pretty well today,” Williams said. “I’m proud of myself. Words can’t describe how I feel compared to what happened last week.

“That fumble did something to me last week mentally and the only person who was going to be able to overcome that was me. I took a lot of time to myself and I did a lot of research on all my favorite running backs and how many fumbles they had. I realized that it happens to everyone. No one can be perfect.”

The Hokies took advantage of a huge punt return by Jayron Hosley to get on the board first. A 33-yard return by Hosley early in the game gave Tech the ball at the ECU 31, and though the drive stalled, the Hokies came away with points when kicker Matt Waldron drilled a career-long 41-yard field goal with 8:59 left in the first quarter for a 3-0 lead.

Waldron added to the Hokies’ total toward the end of the first quarter when he capped a season-long 14-play drive that went 75 yards. His 22-yarder gave the Hokies a 6-0 lead with 51 seconds to go in the quarter.

Tech finally got into the end zone late in the first half. A 12-play, 79-yard march ended when Taylor scored on a 13-yard run with 2:06 left in the half. Waldron’s extra point gave the Hokies a 13-0 lead.

The touchdown run marked his fourth of the season and the 17th of his career. He now ranks second among Tech quarterbacks in career rushing touchdowns and needs just six more to pass Bob Schweikert’s 22.

ECU’s only score came right before halftime. The Pirates sailed 73 yards and got a 24-yard field goal by kicker Ben Hartman as time expired to cut the Hokies’ lead to 13-3.

Carmichael’s interception with 2:19 set up the Hokies’ final score. Waldron hit a 31-yard field goal with just over a minute left to account for the final margin.

Tech’s defense responded with one of its best performances of the season. The Hokies held ECU to just 277 yards of total offense, but more importantly, allowed the Pirates to convert on just 4 of 14 third downs – a problem for Tech’s defense in the Hokies’ three losses.And the Hokies forced three turnovers.

“We know we’re still a good defense,” Tech whip linebacker Cody Grimm said. “We had a couple of bad weeks in a row and everyone is down on us. We just stuck with our basics and put together a good game plan and eliminated our mistakes.

“It feels good to get the win. It gets everyone off our backs. It feels good.”

Tech steps back into ACC play for its next game when it travels to College Park, Md. on Nov. 14 for a contest with the Maryland Terrapins. Kickoff for that game is slated for 1 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).

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