Thomas, Leal notch career firsts: Starting quarterback Logan Thomas and backup Mark Leal threw the first touchdown passes of their careers in the Hokies’ 66-13 win over Appalachian State on Saturday, and both of them threw two.
Thomas, a redshirt sophomore from Lynchburg, Va., threw touchdowns passes of 7 yards to backup tight end Randall Dunn and 4 yards to Jarrett Boykin. He completed 9 of 19 for 149 yards.
“I thought Logan went out and managed the game well,” Tech quarterbacks coach Mike O’Cain said, assessing Thomas’ performance. “We had no real procedural problems. I don’t think we had a motion penalty. The 40-second clock was never close to running out. There was never any doubt about reading the signals. There was never any indecision on his part about getting the play called, and I felt like he threw the ball well.
“We’ll ask him to do more. The game, the way it played out early, we didn’t have to ask him to do a lot. We didn’t have to ask him to win the game.”
Leal, a redshirt freshman from Greenacres, Fla., threw a 22-yard touchdown pass to receiver Marcus Davis late in the third quarter and then threw another scoring strike to Davis in the fourth quarter, a 63-yarder.
“That second touchdown pass, he put something behind that one,” O’Cain said. “He made good decisions and make quick decisions. I didn’t ask him to do a lot of motions and adjustments, things like that. The formation was lined up. He didn’t have to read a whole lot, and I didn’t want to put him in that situation. But he managed the game well. It was good to get him some work.”
Gouveia-Winslow, Whitley, DiNardo record interceptions: Whip linebacker Jeron Gouveia-Winslow and safety Eddie Whitley each had interceptions against Appalachian State. Gouveia-Winslow’s interception led to David Wilson’s 19-yard touchdown run in the second quarter, and Whitley’s pick stopped an Appalachian State drive midway through the third quarter.
Gouveia-Winslow’s interception marked the third of his career. He intercepted one against BC last year and then one in the ACC championship game against Florida State that he returned for a touchdown.
“I just kept my leverage and did my job,” Gouveia-Winslow said. “I just let the plays come to me. Like that interception, that ball was pretty much thrown right to me. I didn’t try to do too much. I just did my job, and it worked out.”
Whitley’s interception also marked the third of his career. He intercepted passes against North Carolina and Virginia last season.
DiNardo’s interception came late in the game and marked the first of his career.
Gregory adds to Beamer block total: Backup tailback Tony Gregory blocked a punt by Appalachian State punter Sam Martin that was recovered in the end zone for a touchdown by cornerback Kyle Fuller. The block marked the first of Gregory’s career and the 128th in Frank Beamer’s tenure. That total includes 63 blocked punts (17 returned or recovered for touchdowns), 38 field goals and 27 extra points.
Also, on special teams, punt returner Jayron Hosley had a couple of big returns, including a 55-yarder.
“We’ve worked so hard on our Pride and Joy team [the punt return/block team] to come up with some returns and blocks,” Beamer said. “That was a good way to get this thing started. If you can block them, you’ve got the threat to return them because they start worrying about their protections. I want that to be a threat for us, and I hope it will. We got off to a good start.
“Last year, they didn’t have a kick blocked, and they didn’t give up much return yardage. This guy [Martin] kicks it up there. So to get a return and blocked kick against a good protection team like they are, that’s a good thing.”
Big day for Davis: Davis, one of the Hokies’ many talented receivers, caught three passes for a career-high 140 yards, catching two touchdown passes. The two touchdown catches tied his career high (UNC last year).
The day could have been even bigger for the 6-foot-4, 230-pounder. He dropped a pass from Thomas that might have gone for a long touchdown.
“I don’t have any excuses,” Davis said. “I dropped it. But everyone drops passes. You just have to have trust that he was going to come back to me, and he came back to me.”
Shortly after the drop, Thomas found Davis for a 55-yard gain that would set up Wilson’s 3-yard touchdown run.
Wilson sets career high: David Wilson established a career high by rushing for three touchdowns in Tech’s win over Appalachian State. He scored on runs of 20, 19 and 3 yards. Wilson scored twice against East Carolina in 2010.
His 162 yards rushing were not a career high. Against Marshall two years ago, he rushed for 165 yards.
Roberts sets career mark: Tech receiver Dyrell Roberts became Tech’s all-time leader in kickoff return yardage after returning two kicks for 64 yards against the Mountaineers. He now has 1,493 kickoff return yards, breaking the former record of 1,447 yards held by Jon Jeffries, who played from 1987-91.
Seven make first starts: Seven players made their first career starts. The seven include Thomas, center Andrew Miller, fullback Joey Phillips, backer Tariq Edwards, defensive tackle Derrick Hopkins, punter Scott Demler, and kicker Cody Journell.
True freshmen make debut: Six true freshmen made their college debuts on Saturday against Appalachian State. The group included defensive linemen Luther Maddy and Corey Marshall, cornerback Kyshoen Jarrett, rover Boye Aromire, center Caleb Farris, and tight end Ryan Malleck.
“I looked out there one time and out of the four guys in the secondary, three of them were freshmen,” Beamer said. “Up front, three out of the four were freshmen. There were freshmen all over the place. But that’s the only way they’re going to get better is to play and play against good competition. So I think we got better as a football team today.”
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