Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich
Virginia Tech fans can rest assured Ryan Williams' fourth-quarter fumble against North Carolina has become ancient history in the young star's mind. Williams ran for 179 yards in the Hokies' 16-3 win over East Carolina on Thursday night, helping Virginia Tech to move on and forget its devastating back-to-back losses to Georgia Tech and North Carolina.
Even though Williams didn't get into the end zone, his ability to run the ball and the Hokies' ability to control the line of scrimmage was the difference in the game. Williams showed why he was a midseason favorite to win the ACC's Player of the Year award, as much of his yardage came by breaking tackles, lowering his shoulder and keeping his feet moving. Virginia Tech also got the most complete effort from its defense it has seen in the past two games, and Cody Grimm seemed to be in on almost every play.
That being said, ECU quarterback Patrick Pinkney made some erroneous throws and helped the Hokies out with his inaccuracy. The Pirates also hurt themselves on numerous occasions with three turnovers, eight penalties, dropped passes and missed tackles. Overall, it was a sloppy game for both teams, as Virginia Tech was only able to score one touchdown. But in the end that was all the Hokies needed to avoid a second straight nationally televised upset.
This was exactly the kind of game the Hokies needed to get some of their confidence back and finish the season strong. There's no reason Virginia Tech shouldn't earn another 10-win season. With only Maryland, NC State and Virginia remaining -- teams that have combined for just three conference wins -- the Hokies' toughest days should be behind team.
And for Williams, his best days are yet to come.