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Backups Get Action in BC Blowout

There was plenty to be happy about for Virginia Tech after its 48-14 victory over Boston College on Saturday. But with the game in hand in the second half, it was a happy sight for the Hokies coaches that many inexperienced or unused players saw action.

The most notable such player to be inserted was backup quarterback Ju-Ju Clayton.

Because Tyrod Taylor has missed time in each of his first two seasons because of ankle injuries, the backup quarterback spot is one of the most important positions on Virginia Tech’s roster, and the Hokies have questions at the position.

During the preseason, Clayton, a redshirt freshman, and true freshman Logan Thomas battled for the job. During that time, the coaches said both quarterbacks needed more experience. Clayton received the job only with a tentative nod from the coaches, who said they planned to redshirt Thomas this season -- unless Taylor got injured.

On Saturday, Clatyon connected on 1 of 2 passes, but it was a worthwhile completion. He hit wide receiver Marcus Davis for an 80-yard touchdown. It was Davis’s first catch this season.

“Yeah, it felt good,” Clatyon said. “First completion for a touchdown -- lots of confidence.”

But Clayton also looked harried, and was sacked twice for a loss of 12 yards. After entering the game with 6 minutes 38 seconds remaining in the third quarter, Clayton took over the Hokies’ offense, but did not do much to lead it toward the end zone, outside of the long touchdown. Clayton manned five possessions, two of which went three-and-out.

Freshman running back David Wilson got his most carries of the season (13) but continued to show signs of inexperience as he ran for a tentative 34 yards, albeit behind a second-team offensive line. Wilson scored a touchdown on one-yard run late in the fourth quarter, giving the Hokies a 48-7 lead.

Wilson was one of the most impressive and intriguing players during preseason practices. He dazzled coaches with his speed and athleticism. Wilson figured to be a factor in Virginia Tech’s offense when Darren Evans, the team’s leading rushing last season, suffered a season-ending knee injury in August.

But after a scintillating 165-yard performance in a win over Marshall on Sept. 12, Wilson has not appeared to be the same player and has not seen much playing time as a result. Running backs coach Billy Hite said Wilson was adjusting to college like any freshman -- on the field and in the classroom -- and that he would have to be patient.

On defense, Virginia Tech had five players with a team-leading four tackles against the Eagles. Among those leaders were two little-used fifth-year seniors: Matt Reidy, a special teams player, and linebacker Mark Muncey. Backup end Chris Drager and linebacker Jeron Gouveia-Winslow were each credited with a quarterback hurry.

By Mark Viera  |  October 12, 2009; 11:00 AM ET
 
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