October 15, 2011
After slow start, Hokies roll past Wake Forest
By Jimmy Robertson
(19) Virginia Tech (6-1) 02171038
Wake Forest (4-2) 1007017
  • BB&T Field - 35,026
  • Passing: Logan Thomas 280 yds
  • Rushing: David Wilson 136 yds
  • Receiving: Jarrett Boykin 149 yds

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – After being outgained 138-10 in the first quarter and trailing 10-0, the Hokies got a great performance from their battered defense and quarterback Logan Thomas accounted for four touchdowns, sparking Tech to a 38-17 ACC victory over Wake Forest at BB&T Field on Saturday night.

With the win, Tech moved to 6-1 overall, 2-1 in the ACC. The Hokies have now won five straight over the Demon Deacons in the series and haven’t lost to Wake since 1983. Wake Forest fell to 4-2 overall and suffered its first conference loss, falling to 3-1 in league play.

“We got down and no one panicked,” Tech head coach Frank Beamer said. “Everyone kept doing their business. Players kept playing hard and coaches kept coaching hard. We found a way to get it done. We beat a good football team, and I’m really proud of us hanging in there and not panicking and coming back and getting a win.”

Tech, playing without defensive starters Antoine Hopkins (knee), Jeron Gouveia-Winslow (foot) and James Gayle (ankle), fell behind 10-0 on a 79-yard touchdown pass from Wake quarterback Tanner Price to Chris Givens in the second quarter. And on that play, Tech cornerback Jayron Hosley pulled up lame with a hamstring injury and never returned.

But the Hokies’ defense settled down after that, holding Wake to only one touchdown the rest of the game. A Demon Deacon offense that scored 35 points and racked up 391 yards of offense managed just 320 against the Hokies.

Tech’s comeback began when it scored three touchdowns in a four-possession span in the second quarter to take a 21-10 lead at halftime.

Tech’s first score came on a 1-yard sneak by Thomas, who made the big play on the drive when he connected with Jarrett Boykin for a 39-yard gain to the Wake 1. That big pass play seemed to wake the Hokies up, as Thomas’ score and Cody Journell’s extra point cut the Wake lead to 10-7 with 8:43 left in the first half.

After holding Wake to a three-and-out on the Demon Deacons’ next possession, Tech got after it again. An 80-yard drive ended when Thomas found Boykin on a quick slant for a 20-yard scoring strike. Journell’s extra point gave the Hokies a 14-10 lead with 4:43 left in the half.

Tech’s final score of the half came courtesy of two huge plays by both special teams and the defense. First, Michael Branthover’s 50-yard punt pinned Wake Forest at its 5. Then, three plays later, defensive end J.R. Collins tipped a pass that was intercepted by backer Tariq Edwards at the Wake Forest 26 with 30 seconds left in the first half.

That turnover led to a 3-yard touchdown run by Thomas with just four seconds left in the first half. Thomas completed a 23-yard pass to tight end Chris Drager to the Wake Forest 3, and then scored two plays later. Journell’s extra point gave the Hokies a 21-10 bulge at the break.

“It was a huge,” Edwards said of his second career interception. “It was huge getting on the board right before halftime. It was like a momentum shift.”

“That was huge going in at halftime,” Beamer said. “No question about it.”

The Hokies opened an 18-point lead on their first drive of the second half. An impressive 80-yard march ended when David Wilson scored on a 7-yard run with 12:36 left in the third quarter. Journell’s extra point gave Tech a 28-10 lead.

Wake answered late in the third quarter. A 12-play, 83-yard march ended with a 4-yard touchdown pass from Tanner Price to tight end Cameron Ford – on fourth-and-goal – to cut the lead to 28-17 with 2:04 left in the third quarter.

But the Hokies put the game away on the ensuing drive. A 14-play, 96-yard drive ended when, on third-and-9, Thomas connected with receiver Marcus Davis for a 30-yard touchdown. Journell’s extra point gave the Hokies a 35-17 lead, and a Journell field goal accounted for the final margin.

“We just kept the guys going [after trailing 10-0],” said Thomas, who led the Hokies to four third-down conversions on their 96-yard march. “We didn’t have any problems. We didn’t have anyone hanging their heads. We just kept going, and that’s all that mattered.”

Tech’s offense performed strongly for the second straight game, putting up 473 yards. Thomas completed 17 of 32 for 280 yards and two touchdowns, with no interceptions, while also rushing for two touchdowns and Wilson rushed for more than 100 yards for the sixth time this season. He finished with 136 yards on 17 carries.

Also, Boykin recorded 149 yards receiving on seven catches, including the touchdown.

“It’s answering the bell,” Beamer said of Tech’s rally. “We’ve got a lot of guys that want to step up and make a play when it’s time to make a play – when it’s critical to make a play. We saw it at East Carolina. We saw it last week [against Miami]. We saw it this week. There are some good things developing within our football program.”

The Hokies continue conference play next weekend when they return home to play Boston College on Homecoming in Blacksburg. Kickoff for the game is at 3 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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