Virginia Tech overcame another slow start Saturday afternoon and defeated Bowling Green, 37-0. The Hokies held the Falcons scoreless as the defense recorded the 28th shutout of defensive coordinator Bud Foster's career as Virginia Tech defensive coordinator.
"We really wanted to play well today," head coach Frank Beamer said. "Yesterday, we took the seniors down to the Veteran's hospital. It just makes you appreciative of what you have."
The Hokies struggled mightily in the scoreless first quarter, amassing just 43 yards of offense while racking up 40 yards worth of penalties. Junior quarterback Logan Thomas completed just two of seven passes for 25 yards in the first quarter as the Hokies limped out of the gate.
"I was proud overall of how we came back," Beamer said. "There early, we were kind of screwing things up but nobody panicked. I thought the offense got rolling pretty good."
Thomas would recover though and finished the day 11 of 26 for 144 yards, 2 touchdowns, and one interception through the air. He added 65 yards and a touchdown on the ground.
"He's a tough kid," Beamer said. "He's competitive, he wants to win, he wants to be good and he's tough. I like all of those qualities.
"We're getting there. It's a work in progress and we've got a ways to go, no question about that. But I think we took a step forward here today. The defense getting a shutout; that was great."
Things heated up offensively for the Hokies in the second quarter as they scored three touchdowns and pushed the total yards marker on the day to 227 yards. The Hokies led at halftime 21-0 thanks to a 10-yard touchdown catch by freshman running back J.C. Coleman, a 42-yard touchdown reception by junior wide receiver Dyrell Roberts, and a 1-yard touchdown run by Thomas.
"I really think we beat a good football team," Beamer said.
Much of the success in the second quarter came on the ground, as a combination of Thomas, Coleman, Tony Gregory, and Michael Holmes combined for 82 yards on the ground in that quarter alone. The Hokies finished with 246 yards rushing, led by Gregory who gained 68 yards on 11 carries. Tech used four tailbacks effectively for the first time this season.
"It keeps all the backs fresh," Coleman said of the multi-running back use. "Everyone goes out there with fresh legs and it kind of works in our favor."
Gregory also contributed on special teams, throwing a key block on a Kyshoen Jarrett punt return in the fourth quarter.
"My first goal was to block the punt and then we got to get back and make a hole for the returner. He just was there," Gregory said of his block.
On the performances of Gregory and Coleman, Beamer said, "I thought Tony Gregory showed some speed out there, and J.C. went he got in the flats showed some stuff."
The highlight of the second quarter was the 42-yarder to Roberts. Thomas used the play-action to freeze the defense and then hit a streaking Roberts down the sideline. It was the first touchdown reception for Roberts since the Hokies played Duke way back in 2010. Roberts had three catches for 63 yards on the day.
Holmes, after rushing just once for four yards in the first half, got himself going in the third. He ran three times for 47 yards on the opening drive of the second half, including a 2-yarder to push the score to 27-0. Ju8nior kicker Cody Journell missed the ensuing extra point.
Bowling Green showed signs of life on offense in the third quarter, pushing across the fifty on their second drive of the half for the first time since the 1:11 mark in the first quarter. That drive ended in an interception by junior cornerback Antone Exum, his second in as many weeks.
After a three-and-out by the Hokies, Bowling Green changed quarterbacks from Matt Schilz (9-25, 87 yards, 1 INT) to sophomore Matt Johnson (5-16, 46 yards). Johnson led the Falcons deep into Tech territory, but Tyrel Wilson stopped him on fourth and nine.
Thomas was intercepted on the next series for the Hokies on an out route to senior wide receiver Marcus Davis that was thrown just a bit behind him. The Falcons took over on the Virginia Tech thirty-one, but again were stopped on fourth down.
Journell tacked on a 36-yard field goal in the fourth quarter after a 24-yard run by Gregory and a 26-yard run by Thomas.
Scales added another score for the Hokies on a 4-yard touchdown run with 9:22 left in the game.
Mark Leal replaced Thomas with 6:46 left in the fourth quarter and played out the remainder of the game.
With just a couple minutes left, redshirt freshman DE Matt Roth forced a fumble that was recovered by fellow redshirt freshman DE Dadi Nicolas.
Redshirt junior linebacker Tariq Edwards made his season debut Saturday, getting in the game in the final five minutes or so. He had been recovering from a stress fracture.
"He's only going to get better, too" senior linebacker Bruce Taylor said. "This was his first action since he had the surgery. You're always going to favor it that first time out, but he's getting better each week. He's going to work himself back in that rotation of linebackers, so we're going to become even better."
The Hokies finished the game with 396 yards of total offense, compared to just 266 for the Falcons. "We needed a day where we had some plays," Beamer said. "I thought the offense was very efficient."
Looking ahead to the future, Taylor said, "I told the guys after the game before we broke it out, the feeling of winning, this feeling that we have right now - we can have this every week."
"I'm really pleased with this win," Beamer said.
Virginia Tech returns to action next week in D.C. as they close out their non-conference schedule against Cincinnati. The game time and television will be announced Sunday.