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Hokies Find Big-Play Ability

Virginia Tech has been waiting for its offense to break out like it did in a roaring 52-10 win over Marshall on Saturday.

“Anxious,” offensive coordinator Bryan Stinespring said afterward, “is probably putting it a little lightly.”

Each week, the Hokies set a goal to have five plays of 20 or more yards. Mission accomplished. On Saturday, Virginia Tech had 10 offensive plays of 20 or more yards.

The Hokies had touchdowns of 57, 36, 28 and 21 yards. They had only one offensive touchdown of more than 20 yards last season, a 27-yard pass from quarterback Tyrod Taylor to tight end Greg Boone against Western Kentucky.

“The Xs and Os, the intensity level – all those things we always talk about,” Stinespring said. “But being able to have big plays is an important commodity to have.”

The Hokies showcased a new dimension to their offense against the Thundering Herd’s threadbare defense. It could be a different story when No. 13 Virginia Tech (1-1) hosts No. 19 Nebraska (2-0) on Saturday.

But with an offensive performance that saw them roll up 605 total yards – the sixth-highest output in school history and the most in Stinespring’s eight years as offensive coordinator – the Hokies were content to relish the afternoon that provided an abundance of highlights.

Running backs Ryan Williams and David Wilson provided a reel unto themselves.

Williams, a redshirt freshman, had touchdown runs of 57 and 28 yards on an up-the-middle rush and then on an off-tackle play. He later took a screen pass 36 yards, bouncing off defenders like a pinball and breaking a long gain.

Wilson, a freshman, shed two would-be tacklers at the line of scrimmage on what turned into a 51-yard burst. He scored his first collegiate touchdown on a 36-yard run in the fourth quarter, and had another run of 31 yards with time winding down in the game.

Although Nebraska’s famed Blackshirt defense does not have the same prestige or scariness it had in the 1960s and ’70s, the Cornhuskers should pose more of a challenge than Marshall. But the Hokies got the spark they needed with an array of big plays from their offensive weapons.

By Mark Viera  |  September 14, 2009; 1:00 PM ET
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