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For the Most Part, Hokies' Defense Stifled Marshall

In its 52-10 loss to Virginia Tech on Saturday, Marshall finished with 252 yards of total offense. But 121 of those yards came on two plays.

While the Hokies’ defense was solid through much of the afternoon, those two plays highlighted its proclivity to relent big gains. In a 34-24 loss to Alabama on Sept. 5, Virginia Tech allowed five plays of 20 or more yards. Defensive coordinator Bud Foster said it was one area the team needed to tighten up.

In the second quarter on Saturday, running back Darius Marshall busted a 61-yard touchdown run thanks to solid blocking and a missed tackle by Cordarrow Thompson, whose grip slipped as he grabbed after Marshall. It was the longest run against Virginia Tech since Keiland Williams of Louisiana State had a 67-yard run in 2007.

Marshall finished with 109 yards rushing on 17 carries. The Crimson Tide’s Mark Ingram had 150 yards rushing a week earlier. It was the first time since 2003 that the Hokies allowed back-to-back 100-yard rushers.

The Thundering Herd’s other big play came toward the end of the third quarter. Quarterback Brian Anderson connected with wide receiver Antavio Wilson for a 60-yard bomb that helped to set up a field goal at the start of the fourth quarter. Wilson beat Virginia Tech’s Eddie Whitley for the long gain on the play.

But for the most part, the Hokies effectively limited the Thundering Herd. Marshall only had 126 passing yards. In its season opener, it had 316 passing yards.

Although boundary cornerback Stephan Virgil was out with a left knee injury suffered in the Alabama game, Virginia Tech did not appear to miss much against Marshall. The Hokies started Rashad Carmichael at boundary cornerback. Cris Hill moved to Carmichael’s position, field cornerback, for his first career start. Free safety Kam Chancellor played particularly well.

“They made some tremendous plays on defense,” Marshall Coach Mark Snyder told reporters after the game. “You thought there was going to be a play up the sideline and then their guys would tip it and get a hand on it, next thing you know its an incomplete pass. They just have a couple of really good backs, a good safety too. They really brought it.”

The No. 13 Hokies (1-1) take on No. 19 Nebraska (2-0) at Lane Stadium on Saturday.

By Mark Viera  |  September 14, 2009; 8:30 AM ET
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