Running game paces Virginia Tech

BLACKSBURG, Va. (AP) -- Three minutes, 29 seconds.

That's how long it took Virginia Tech to score 17 third-quarter points Saturday, including another defensive score, en route to a 41-14 victory against Marshall.

Starting with a field goal with 11:51 remaining, the burst also included Vince Hall's 15-yard fumble return for a touchdown and a 48-yard pass from Marcus Vick to David Clowney, giving the No. 3 Hokies (6-0) a 31-7 lead with 8:22 left in the quarter.

"It was real quick," Clowney said of the game-changing outburst.

The Hokies led 14-7 at the break, having played sluggishly, and coach Frank Beamer said he hardly needed to say a word in the locker room at halftime.

"They knew what needed to be done," Beamer said. "I think they did a great job of going back out there and quickly taking the game back over."

The key was Hall's touchdown, which came only two plays after Brandon Pace's 19-yard field goal when Chris Ellis was sacking Bernie Morris and the ball came free.

It was the Hokies' fourth defensive touchdown of the season.

"It was a pick!" Hall joked, trying to enhance his own contribution to the play. "It fell straight into my hands. I made sure I was going to hold onto it and score."

After stopping Marshall on four plays, the Hokies needed just three to drive 78 yards: George Bell ran for five, Vick hit Josh Morgan for 25 and Clowney for the TD.

The Hokies outgained Marshall 200-1 in the third quarter.

Marshall (2-3) had done well to keep the Hokies off-balance in the first half, going away from its usually pass-happy strategy and running the ball effectively (131 yards) behind Bluefield, Va., native Ahmad Bradshaw and Chubb Small.

In the third quarter, "we had a meltdown," coach Mark Snyder said. "We compounded our mistakes by turning the ball right back over and giving them an easy touchdown."

The Hokies did their share, too, to turn it into the rout that was expected.

Branden Ore had just 23 carries coming into the game but replaced Cedric Humes when Humes broke a bone in his arm in the second quarter. Ore ran 14 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter, pausing in the backfield to give his blockers time to get in position, and then broke off a team season-high 45-yard run on the first drive in the third quarter.

"I just went into another zone, got my focus and really got myself ready to take care of the team," the redshirt freshman said after finishing with 146 yards. "There's no better feeling than that."

Ore's performance caught the Thundering Herd off-guard.

"He did a good job, and we did a poor job tackling," Snyder said.

Ore's rushing total was the highest for a redshirt freshman at Virginia Tech since Kevin Jones ran for 155 against Temple in 2001, and it made Vick's job easy.

"A little speed, a little juke," Beamer said of Ore, who carried 19 times. "For the first game out of the blocks playing when it counted, I though he did well."

Humes, meantime, is scheduled to have surgery Sunday, Hokies trainer Mike Goforth said, and will be out up to six weeks. The Hokies are off next weekend and expect to have co-starter Mike Imoh back from a sprained ankle when they play at Maryland on Oct. 20.

Vick was 11-for-16 for 163 yards. He also threw an interception, only his second this season, on a ball that glanced off Morgan's hands to Chris Royal.

Royal, a free safety and the older brother of Hokies wide receiver Eddie Royal, hoped to be matched against his brother at some point, but it never happened.

They did have a confrontation after a play, however, when both were talking trash to each other and did a little shoving and Chris got called for a personal foul.

Humes had 58 yards on 10 carries, including an 11-yard scoring run in the first quarter. Bell added a 2-yard TD run early in the fourth quarter for the Hokies.

Morris, who threw 60 passes last week in the Thundering Herd's 16-13 overtime victory against Southern Methodist, had half of his 28 attempts in the fourth quarter, the last a 17-yard touchdown pass to Small. He was 14-for-28 for 117 yards.

Bradshaw finished with 99 yards on 22 carries and scored Marshall's first touchdown with a 13-yard run in the second quarter. Small had 57 yards on 14 carries.


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