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Hokies Hold On to the Ball

In a 14-3 win over Duke last year, Virginia Tech allowed the Blue Devils to hang around in part because of five turnovers. The Hokies lost two fumbles and threw three interceptions in that game.

But as the No. 6 Hokies (3-1, 1-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) prepare to play at Duke (2-2) on Saturday, they have not had similar problems taking care of the football. In its last three games, Virginia Tech has turned over the ball only twice. In total, the Hokies have had four turnovers. Except for an interception, all of those turnovers have come on special teams.

“We’ve been doing a great job of not having that many turnovers,” running back Ryan Williams said of the Hokies’ offense. “We have to be consistent with that, not turning the ball over.”

In a loss to Alabama on Sept. 5, Virginia Tech fumbled five times and lost two. Williams muffed a punt that Alabama recovered in the first quarter, and Davon Morgan lost a fumble on a kickoff return in the fourth quarter.

But since then, the Hokies have done better protecting the football.

Although quarterback Tyrod Taylor has not regularly thrown the ball as the Hokies’ passing game has struggled, he has also not made costly mistakes. Last year, his interceptions (seven) surpassed his touchdown passes (two). This year, he has four touchdown passes against one interception.

In slippery conditions Saturday against the Hurricanes, Virginia Tech fumbled twice but only lost one. In the second quarter, punter Brent Bowden could not handle a high snap and the Hurricanes recovered at Virginia Tech’s 23-yard line.

“Our offense gets a lot of credit the other night for hanging on the ball and not turning it over,” Beamer said of the Miami game.

Against Duke last year, Virginia Tech’s offense put on a clinic on how to cough up the football. Midway through the second quarter, quarterback Sean Glennon came into the game after Taylor, the starter, had two passes intercepted and two fumbles recovered by Duke. Glennon threw an interception later. The five turnovers allowed the Blue Devils to make it a game.

Speaking about turnovers, Beamer said, “I think it’s a big, big factor in a ballgame.”

By Mark Viera  |  September 29, 2009; 3:53 PM ET
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