September 17, 2011
Hosley catalyst for Tech defense in win
By Marc Mullen

BLACKSBURG, Va. - Eight times during the 2010 season, Virginia Tech found itself allowing the first points of the game, and in half of them, the Hokies were trailing by a touchdown within the first four minutes.

They have now trailed twice this season by a touchdown in the first quarter (including in the first four minutes against Arkansas State), and if it weren’t for junior Jayron Hosley sprinting across the field to catch Taylor Stockemer, Arkansas State would have scored on its first play from scrimmage.

Ryan Aplin connected with Stockemer on a 51-yard double move, but was knocked out of bounds at the 8-yard line by Hosley. And even though the Red Wolves scored on a five-yard touchdown run by Aplin two plays later – with 11:59 left in the first – it would not be the last time Hosley would be a thorn in the Red Wolves’ side.

“He can play. He was back there one-on-one on the backside and that’s who you want to have one-on-one is Jayron,” Tech head coach Frank Beamer said. “He plays strong, has great instinct, and he’s fast. I think he’s a heck of a player.”

In all, Hosley had seven tackles – the second-most of his career – intercepted a pair of passes, had two pass break-ups and held Arkansas State’s top receiver Josh Jarboe to just four catches for 38 yards. Jarboe had 12 receptions and 220 yards in his first two games of the year.

“He’s a good receiver, and they have a good offensive structure and he got into position to make some plays,” Hosley said. “He even called me out a couple times at the line and challenged me. But I stepped up to that challenge.

“I’m looking forward to seeing him play the rest of the season. But there were a couple of times they came at me, and I stopped him.”

With help from his defensive teammates, the Hokies held Arkansas State scoreless for the rest of the night. It wasn’t a total shutdown like the week before – Tech held East Carolina to 112 yards of total offense – but the Red Wolves were just 4 of 15 on third-down conversions, 1 of 3 on fourth down and Tech had three sacks, seven pass break-ups and scored its first points on a safety.

“We wanted to get back to that dominant defense and Coach [Bud Foster] has been preaching about it,” Hosley said. “The first half, we’ve been kind of shaky to start. This year, we plan on coming out hard, fighting hard, running the game all four quarters.

“That’s what we need to get back to. The defense fought hard, the front four really came up big for us with three sacks, and on the back end, we held those guys down.”

Hosley was definitely the catalyst for the defense. After Tech took a 9-7 lead, the Red Wolves completed a third-and-10 play for 17 yards – a pass to Jarboe, his first catch of the day – that seemed to irritate Hosley.

They went back to Jarboe on the next play – a 3-yard gain – but he would not catch another pass for almost two full quarters (with 2:43 left in the third quarter). In fact, Hosley caught just as many passes the rest of the way as Jarboe, ending a pair of scoring chances by Arkansas State.

The first was just four plays after Jarboe’s second catch. Hosley picked off a pass at the Tech 28-yard line and took it back 20 yards before fumbling the ball out of bounds. It marked the 10th straight game the Hokies have registered an interception.

The second was midway through the third quarter after Tech had just taken a 26-7 lead on a field goal. The Red Wolves lined up for their 10th play of a drive that had covered 56 yards to the Tech 24. On a second-and-9, Hosley caught the ball at the 5 and took it back 22 yards, and the Red Wolves would get no closer to the end zone the rest of the way.

“We were in a cover-2,” Hosley said, explaining the defense. “I know when the No. 1 receiver goes out, the No. 2 is going to go follow him to the ball. So I jumped outside and called that, and the quarterback threw it right on the money and I was there to pick it off.”

As well as he played, he was called for his second pass interference of the season. As most know, the first happened last week, which eliminated his first interception of the year.

“It feels good,” he said of bouncing back. “I didn’t put my head down. I just played the ball and it feels good to come back and make the plays you want to make.”

With his effort today, Hosley now has 11 career interceptions, which are tied for the ninth-most in school history with William Yarbrough, Ashley Lee and Mike Johnson.

Even though it was the fifth time the Hokies had allowed a touchdown before the clocked ticked to 11:00 left in the first quarter, it wasn’t really a cause for alarm. Below are the four games that it happened last year.

11:10 at #23 N.C. State (10/2) – a 41-30 victory
11:20 vs. Georgia Tech (11/4) – a 28-21 victory
11:30 at North Carolina (11/13) – a 26-10 victory, and
11:54 at #24 Miami (11/20) – a 31-17 victory.

Ironically, Hosley would have some big numbers in three of those games, which included six tackles and three interceptions against the Wolfpack; two interceptions against the Tar Heels; and a career-high nine tackles and a pick against the Hurricanes.

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