September 13, 2014
Tech comeback comes up short, as Hokies fall to ECU
By Jimmy Robertson
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East Carolina (2-1) 2100728
(17) Virginia Tech (2-1) 0701421
  • Lane/Worsham Field - 63,267
  • Passing: Michael Brewer 298 yds
  • Rushing: Marshawn Williams 74 yds
  • Receiving: Cam Phillips 89 yds

BLACKSBURG – East Carolina quarterback Shane Carden threw three touchdown passes and scored the game-winning touchdown on a 1-yard run with 16 seconds left to lift the Pirates past No. 17 Virginia Tech 28-21 at Lane Stadium on Saturday.

The Hokies (2-1) saw their four-game winning streak over the Pirates come to an end. East Carolina (2-1) beat a ranked team for the first time since 2009 when the Pirates beat then-No. 18 Houston 38-32.

The Hokies got behind 21-0 in the first quarter and never could get over the hump one week following a historic win over then-No. 8 Ohio State. Tech head coach Frank Beamer refused to say the Hokies were sluggish at the start because of their huge win a week ago.

“I’m not going to make that excuse,” Beamer said. “I thought we were ready to play. We understood how exactly East Carolina was going to play. It wasn’t a secret. They hit a couple of big plays against our defense, and offensively, we were sluggish getting started and then the defense is right back on the field.

“It just wasn’t a good start, but I thought we were ready to play.”

Tech rallied to tie the game at 21 on an 18-yard pass from quarterback Michael Brewer to receiver Cam Phillips with 1:20 left in the game. But the Pirates, after doing little in the second half, needed just three plays to go 65 yards. Tech kicker Joey Slye kicked the ensuing kickoff out of bounds, giving the Pirates the ball at their 35.

Then, Carden threw passes of 31 and 28 yards to Cam Worthy sandwiched around an illegal substitution penalty on the Hokies. He scored on a 1-yard run to lift the Pirates to the win.

Carden completed 23 of 47 passes for 427 yards, with the three touchdowns. Worthy caught six passes for 224 yards.

“I think you give East Carolina credit,” Beamer said. “I knew coming in that they were a good football team. They played well. That quarterback can throw the football, and they’ve got some receivers who can go get it. One-on-one, they made some great plays, and I give them credit.”

The Hokies cut the lead to 21-7 on a 21-yard touchdown pass from Brewer to receiver Isaiah Ford with 47 seconds left in the first half. Brewer found Ford again in the fourth quarter, hitting him for a 15-yard scoring play to make it 21-14 with 6:31 remaining.

Brewer completed 30 of 56 passes for 298 yards, with three touchdowns and two interceptions for the Hokies. His 56 pass attempts broke the previous school record of 53 held by both Don Strock (1972 vs. Houston) and Sean Glennon (2006 vs. Georgia Tech).

But it wasn’t enough to lead the Hokies to what would have been their biggest comeback win under Beamer.

“We knew they were going to be tough,” Brewer said. “Defensively, we knew they were going to be ready to play. They did some things up front and stopped our run game early. It just took us a while to settle down and get into a rhythm.

“There’s really no excuse. They just out-played us in the first half."

The Hokies now get ready for the ACC opener against the Yellow Jackets. The two teams square off next Saturday, with the kickoff slated for noon.

“I’m more convinced than ever that we can be a good football team,” Beamer said. “I think the thing we saw was these guys don’t quit. We’ve got the ability to score. We need to correct some things. This is a gigantic game to correct some mistakes, and that’s what needs to happen. We did some things … well, we just need to learn from it and be better next time. That’s the way we’re going to look at it.”

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