Virginia Tech traveled to Raleigh to take on the favored N.C. State Wolfpack on Saturday, and after the first quarter it looked like Russell Wilson and company were going to cruise to victory.
The Hokies couldn't move the ball, the defense couldn't stop the pass, and N.C. State was scoring at will. Virginia Tech just could not get anything going offensively; nothing. Tech's first five drives ended with four punts and an interception.
It wasn't until Tyrod Taylor made a huge play with his legs mid-way through the second quarter. Taylor had a 70-yard plus run setting up the Hokies first score of the day, which was a 10-yard touchdown pass to tight end Andre Smith.
The Hokies had stopped the bleeding and went into the half only down by 10, which wasn't bad considering how the first quarter went.
Then David Wilson showed us why coaches decided not to redshirt him on the opening kickoff of the second half. Wilson took the kick 92-yards for the score,the Hokies couldn't add the extra point, but that's when the game really shifted for Virginia Tech.
The Wolfpack marched down the field on their first drive of the second half and scored, but the Hokies answered right back with a strong rushing attack.
Darren Evans went off in the second half, and had a 54-yard touchdown run to inch the Hokies closer. Evans finished with 160 yards on 15 carries with two touchdowns. Taylor added 121 yards of his own, and the Hokies rushed for 317 yards as a team, averaging 8.6 yards per carry.
Taylor played good on Saturday, he threw for three touchdowns, including a 39-yard touchdown pass to Jarrett Boykin with 1:27 left in the game, which put the Hokies up by four. Taylor didn't have the best day passing, but he made critical plays when the team needed him the most.
Taylor sparked the offense in the first half with his big run that set up their first score, and then his touchdown pass as time was winding down helped finish off the Wolfpack.
Russell Wilson struggled more in this game than he had all year. Wilson would continuously under throw his receivers, but the Hokies were getting called for penalties because of the under throws. He had only thrown one interception all year coming into Saturday's game, but the Hokies Jayron Hosley picked him off three times, including an interception in the final minute of the game.
Wilson made some good plays but he did start to get unsettled when the Hokies constantly brought pressure. He got away with a few throws early when he was blitzed that he just threw up in the air, but the Hokies were able to take those away late.
The good news for Virginia Tech is this is probably the best quarterback they'll face for the rest of the year. That being said, they'll face quarterbacks that have a better supporting cast, see Jacory Harris.
It looked like the Hokies were going to get blown off the field on Saturday, but you have to credit the coaching staff and the players for not hanging their heads and getting down on themselves. Also, without the early play of Taylor the Hokies wouldn't have won.
Taylor may not put up huge numbers or be the best quarterback in college football, but he consistently puts his team in position to win. It doesn't always work out that way, but Taylor isn't a bad guy to have leading your team at the end of a game.
The Hokies can carry this momentum into next week's home matchup against Central Michigan, and their next ACC game against Wake Forest the following week, which also happens to be homecoming in Blacksburg.
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