BLACKSBURG - Virginia Tech scored 14 first-half points off Ohio turnovers to break open a close game, and quarterback Marcus Vick played another efficient game as the Hokies went on to record a 45-0 victory over the Bobcats on Saturday afternoon in a non-conference game played in front of 65,115 fans at Lane Stadium.
The game marked the home opener for the Hokies, who opened the season with two straight victories on the road. Tech won its home opener for the 17th time in head coach Frank Beamer's 19 seasons, and the Hokies won their 20th straight non-conference game at home. Ohio, coming off a huge win against Pittsburgh, fell to 1-2 overall on the season.
Tech's shutout marked its second of the season and its second in a row. The last time the Hokies recorded back-to-back shutouts came in 2001 when Tech shut out Western Michigan and Rutgers in back-to-back games. Coming off a game in which it allowed just 35 total yards against Duke, the Hokies didn't give up much more than that against Ohio as the Bobcats finished with less than 200 yards of total offense, and wasted their only good scoring opportunity when Brooks Rossman missed a 36-yard field goal in the second quarter.
"We've had a couple of big plays against us, but we just keep flying around and I really give credit to our defense," Beamer said. "They just keep banging. I know that if we don't give teams those long plays, then they're going to have a hard time scoring against us. We're athletic and our defensive staff does a great job of making adjustments as the game goes along, so I give them credit, too. Two straight shutouts in college football, that's tough."
Tech grabbed a quick 3-0 lead on its first possession of the game, marching 55 yards in five plays. A big 52-yard pass from quarterback Marcus Vick to David Clowney got Tech to the Ohio 21, but the Hokies stalled at the Ohio 18 and settled for a Brandon Pace field goal. Pace's 35-yarder gave the Hokies a 3-0 lead with 8:41 left in the first quarter. After that, Tech's offense stalled a bit and squandered an opportunity later in the first quarter. The Hokies got to the Ohio 3, where they faced a fourth-and-1. Beamer elected to go for it and Mike Imoh got stuffed for a 1-yard loss, giving the ball back to Ohio.
But Tech's defense ended up taking care of things in the first half. In the second quarter, James Anderson, the Hokies' starting whip linebacker, buried Ohio quarterback Austen Everson, forcing Everson to make a poor pitch on the option. Tech's Noland Burchette recovered the fumble at the Ohio 8, and the Hokies took advantage.
Anderson's play seemed to spark the Hokies. Three straight Cedric Humes carries got the Hokies into the end zone, the last one a 1-yard run for the touchdown. Pace's extra point gave Tech a 10-0 lead with 8:48 left in the first half. "Coach [Bud] Foster had prepared us to look for the option, so we were prepared," Anderson said. "I was fortunate to be in the right place at the right time and took advantage of an opportunity to make a play."
Late in the first half, Tech's defense set the offense up once again. A Xavier Adibi interception put Tech at the Ohio 32, and on the third play of the drive, Vick found tight end Jeff King for a 28-yard touchdown with 1:12 left in the half. Pace's extra point gave the Hokies a 17-0 lead at halftime.
In the second half, Tech's offense, behind Vick, came to life. He orchestrated a 66-yard drive on Tech's second possession of the half that led to a 3-yard touchdown pass to fullback Jesse Allen, and then on Tech's next possession, he guided the Hokies on a 81-yard march that he finished himself. His 4-yard touchdown run with 29 seconds left in the third quarter gave the Hokies a 31-0 lead and Tech cruised from there. A 56-yard drive ended with another Humes touchdown as Vick led the Hokies on three scoring marches on his four second-half drives.
"We went into halftime and the coaches made a lot of great adjustments," Vick said. "They called the right plays and we just went out in the second half and tried to make it happen."
Vick completed 12-of-16 for 200 yards, with two touchdowns and no interceptions. He also rushed for 38 yards on 13 carries, accounting for 238 yards of Tech's 475 yards of total offense.
Humes rushed for 75 yards on 15 carried and scored two touchdowns to pace Tech's rushing attack. King caught three passes for 55 yards and a score.
The Hokies step back into ACC action next Saturday when they serve as the hosts to Georgia Tech. Tech knocked off the Yellow Jackets 34-20 in Atlanta last season. The game will be televised by ABC in a split national broadcast, with the kickoff slated for 3:30 p.m.