Monday, October 10, 2005

Hokies 41, Thundering Herd 14

I think we found ourselves a running back for next year.

Saturday's 41-14 homecoming win over the Thundering Herd of Marshall was another impressive victory, boosting Tech's record to 6-0.

Despite Tech having numerous standouts on both sides of the ball, it was all about the "Ore-ange Effect" .

Coach Beamer's running game was as impressive as ever, and led by redshirt freshman Branden Ore, racked up a season-high total of 235 rushing yards*. In his first solid outing, Ore had a breakout performance, carrying the ball 19 times for 146 of those total yards, as well as a touchdown.

Entering the game in the second quarter after Cedric Humes broke a bone in his arm, Ore immediately took the load off the Hokies' struggling offense. On only his fourth rush of the game, he was able to score, galloping into the endzone for a 14-yard touchdown.

With that touchdown however, Virginia Tech only took a 14-7 lead against a soft Marshall squad. It was without a doubt dissapointing to see the Hokies up by only seven going into halftime. I was definitely not expecting the game to be so close after the first 24 minutes of play. Defensively Tech looked a mess, especially in stopping the run. In fact, on the day, the Thundering Herd rushed for 164 yards, with 145 of those yards coming in the first half alone.

Thankfully for us, there was a second half to really showcase our talent. Especially the talent of Ore and the defense. On the opening drive of the third quarter, Tech drove the ball 78 yards down the field, with Ore accounting for 65 of those yards. Settling for a field goal from the 2, it was good to see Tech able to increase the lead.

And that they did, as not even a minute later, linebacker Vince Hall danced into the endzone after scooping up a Marshall fumble for a 15 yard return. 24-7 Hokies.

This play in my mind offered me the most relief as a Hokie fan after seeing the defense struggle throughout the first half. Hall's TD opened the game up for the Hokies and boosted the entire team's morale. Nothing like seeing the defense run into the endzone for six, but hey, that's what we're known for. I couldn't be more confident in the ability of the defense, especially in our linebacker trio of Hall, Xavier Adibi, and James Anderson, who seem to make big plays week in and week out.

Seeing the running game do so well was also a joy, as with Imoh and Humes nursing injuries, finding a backup who could carry the load of the running game was practically a necessity. The depth in the backfield for the Hokies is without a doubt there, it's just that the experience isn't. Getting Ore to play in a big game (homecoming) and do well was a big plus for us, and Beamer sees the importance in that. With both starting backs leaving us next year and Ore doing so well in his first real outing, I'd put him as the obvious favorite to be first on the RB depth chart next year.

Lastly, looking at the performance of Marcus Vick, I'd say it was nothing spectacular, but once again effective. On the day, L'il Vick threw for 163 yards on 11-16 passing attempts to go along with a touchdown. However, he also threw for an interception (his second of the year), and rushed 6 times for a laughable 3 yards. Not by any means his best game to date, but he was still able to lead drives and make that accurate pass when necessary. It'll be good to see how he takes the time off in the bye week to reflect on his homecoming performance, and hopefully come out much stronger next week against Maryland.

* The most total rushing yards Virginia Tech cumulated in one game this season was 218. Two times this year this was the occurence, in September 17th's 45-0 blowout against Ohio, and in last week's 34-17 win against West Virginia.

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