Virginia Tech Wins, 17-7
BLACKSBURG, Va. - It wasn't pretty, but it'll do.
The Hokies limit East Carolina to 119 yards in the air, Sean Glennon throws for 245 yards and a touchdown, and Virginia Tech battles through an emotional home opener, taking a 17-7 win over the visiting East Carolina Pirates.
Virginia Tech has what to work on after this one, and Frank Beamer knows it.
"I think this will be a great video for us to learn from and get better," Beamer said. "It's quite obvious we'd better be better next week."
The defense contained ECU in the air, but the Pirates were able to make things interesting on the ground, particular with a good mobile quarterback in Patrick Pinkney, who ran the ball nine times for 48 yards. The ECU offense didn't throw much at Virginia Tech, staying with a pretty conservative game plan that probably wasn't going to get them a win anyway, unless the Hokies made a lot more mistakes than they actually did. Nonetheless, the conservative offense did keep Virginia Tech from getting the kind of game-changing plays that could have busted this one open, and helped the Pirates keep it close.
"I think some people would underestimate East Carolina," Beamer said. "I think they are a very good football team, a very well-coached football team. They came in here and took it right to us."
Nonetheless, Frank Beamer can't be happy with the mistakes that his team did make. The two fumbles and an interception could have been a lot more costly against a more versatile offense, and East Carolina's gameplan was hampered by a number of penalties that might not have happened with a more seasoned quarterback and offensive line.
"From an offensive standpoint," ECU coach Skip Holtz said, " I think 13 penalties is ridiculous - an absolute joke. I think we had 38 penalties all of last year. We lacked discipline, we kicked the ball out of bounds, we jumped offsides, he had holding. I thought we played extremely hard and competitive against one of the better defenses that's been around for a while, but playing hard itsn't enough. You have got to learn to play smart, and we made far too many mistakes today to give ourselves a chance to come out and win."
In retrospect, those penalties took ECU out of the game, given the gameplan Holtz had established, but in real time, the Hokies had to win the game, and while they managed to do that, the offense was hardly up to Beamer's standards.
"Offensively," Beamer said, "we had some good plays and we had some horrible plays. We've got to get those horrible plays to be good plays."
While quarterback Sean Glennon struggled - and will be the first to tell you so - Beamer felt that the junior from Centreville, Va., managed the game well.
"Overall, I think you need to go back and look at how he runs the team," Beamer said. "I want to see him get out of the huddle and get to the line faster, but if you look at it, we snapped the ball several times with one second on the clock, and that's Sean being aware of what the clock's saying. That's some experience in there. Overall, I thought he had some good and had some bad."
For his part, Glennon didn't have a bad game statistically - he completed 22 of 33 passes with a touchdown and an interception - but he knows better than anyone that he has work to do.
"I definitely have, off the top of my head, about five plays that I wish I had back," Glennon said, "but I think I hung in there and did a better job in the second half. I don't need anyone telling me; I know that I didn't play up to my potential. That's disappointing, because I thought I was going to come out here and really make a statement, but I guess I'm going to have to wait until next week."
Of course, the bottom line is that until next week, Glennon and the Hokies are still 1-0.
Player of the Game/Play of the Game: Victor "Macho" Harris, Virginia Tech.
Want to know why ECU was so reluctant to put the ball in the air? Witness Harris and his 17-yard return of an interception off of Brett Clay. The Hokies' national best 137th interception since the start of the 2000 season put Virginia Tech on top for good, set the Lane Stadium crowd a-frenzy, and reminded everyone just what it is that makes Virginia Tech so dangerous. He had another couple of nice plays in the game, but that was the one that made it happen.
Virginia Tech heads to LSU next week in what should be one hell of a matchup, while the Pirates continue to face ACC squads as they return home to battle North Carolina on CSTV.
That'll do it for me here on Run and Shoot, but keep checking back to CSTV.com throughout the evening for more from Blacksburg.