Hokies win third straight
With the leafless trees and the crisp air, the setting this time of year at Virginia Tech has often been accompanied by championship implications. Although the November backdrop looks the same, the stakes this fall feel unfamiliar.
But on Saturday, the No. 16 Hokies put on a performance to remember in a 38-10 win over North Carolina State before a sell-out crowd of 66,233 at Lane Stadium.
Virginia Tech (8-3, 5-2) is not playing for an Atlantic Coast Conference title for a third-straight season, but there were milestones to go around as the Hokies vanquished the Wolfpack (4-7, 1-6) with a swarming defense and an attacking, on-the-move offense.
Virginia Tech has won three-straight games following to Georgia Tech on Oct. 17 and North Carolina on Oct. 29.
“I’m proud of our whole football team, how they’ve responded the last three weeks,” Coach Frank Beamer said. “I think this team has done a great job sticking together. They like each other and they play hard.”
Linebacker Cody Grimm became only the eighth player in division I-A to force three fumbles in a game, tying an NCAA record.
And with 120 rushing yards on 32 carries, running back Ryan Williams has 1,355 rushing yards on the season, breaking the ACC’s freshman rushing record set last season by the Hokies’ Darren Evans (1,265 yards). Williams had a career-high 4 touchdowns.
“I was just out there grinding for all the yardage,” Williams said. “The record ended up coming my way. It feels good to have it.”
Virginia Tech struck an emphatic tone at the outset with its defense. Grimm forced three fumbles on N.C. State’s initial four plays.
“Today was more of a case of getting kind of lucky,” said Gimm, who had 8 tackles and 2 sacks. “Realistically, if I didn’t have those three fumbles, it wasn’t any better day than usual.”
A former walk-on turned defensive hero, Grimm started his Senior Day in grand fashion by setting up the Hokies for two first-quarter scoring drives.
In the third quarter, Williams added another indelible moment to his season with his remarkable final touchdown run.
Williams capped a 62-yard scoring drive with a 19-yard touchdown run on the Hokies’ opening possession of the second half. Williams broke loose when N.C. State’s Earl Wolff grabbed the back of his jersey around the 10-yard line. But it did not stop Williams, who dragged Wolff into the end zone like a sled dog in the Iditarod.
“For this team to keep improving and getting better and playing together after they had a tremendous disappointing there four and five games ago,” Beamer said, “it says a lot about them.”
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