Virginia Tech Running Game Explodes Against Marshall

Justin CocchiolaCorrespondent ISeptember 13, 2009

ATLANTA - NOVEMBER 1: The Virginia Tech Hokie mascot rallies the Hokie fans at the game between the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets and the Virginia Tech Hokies on November 1, 2007 at Bobby Dodd Stadium at Historic Grant Field in Atlanta, Georgia.  The Hokies beat the Yellow Jackets 27-3.  (Photo by Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images)

The Hokies came into Saturday's game expecting to run the ball well.  I don't think anyone was expecting the Hokies to rush for 444 yards.

Ryan Williams and David Wilson became the first Virginia Tech running tandem to each record 160-plus yards on the ground, and the two combined for four rushing touchdown.

Wilson received his first action of the year at running back and averaged 13.8 yards per carry.  Most of his carries came in the second half, but his performance should give the Tech coaching staff some confidence heading into next week. 

Tyrod Taylor added 58 yards on the ground and threw for 161 yards.  Taylor threw as many touchdowns in Saturday's game against Marshall (two) as he did all of last season.

Taylor didn't dominate through the air, but he did throw touchdown passes, which is progress for the Hokies offense.  I would have liked to see more of a focus through the air in the first half, but the running game was working so well it would have been tough to stray away from that.

This game should give the Hokies some confidence heading into their game against Nebraska next Saturday. 

It's tough to gauge how good Nebraska is right now because they have yet to play a formidable opponent.  Nebraska was in a similar situation last year when Tech traveled to Lincoln and the Hokies won 35-30.

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Both teams look a little bit different this season, and I'm expecting a few points to be scored in Lane Stadium next week.

Here are three things to watch for in Blacksburg this week:

1. Player's Health

Greg Boone and Stephan Virgil both sat out Saturday's game against Marshall.  It's thought both will be ready to go against Nebraska, and it's vital that the Hokies have their best corner on the field against a high octane offense.

2. Depth Chart Shift

Williams will obviously hold on to the number one running back slot for the remainder of the season, but it may be interesting to see what happens behind him.  Josh Oglesby received the same number of carries against Marshall that Wilson received (12), but Wilson ran for 105 more yards.

If the Hokies want to continue to be explosive in the running game they will mix-and-match their backs, and Wilson's play Saturday could make him the number two back.

3. Searching for that "Wild Turkey"

After utilizing the "Wild Turkey" in a few games last season Virginia Tech has yet to break it out in '09.  They could be waiting for Boone to get back, but I say throw Wilson back there to see what he can do.

If the formation is still in the coaching staff's plans then I'd expect to see it against Nebraska.  If we don't, then I doubt we see it again in Blacksburg, at least for this season.

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