BLACKSBURG, Va. (AP) -- William & Mary coach Jimmye Laycock thought his team would enjoy the full college football experience when it played at Lane Stadium on Saturday, and the Hokies made it a complete experience by throwing in some Beamerball.
Brandon Flowers returned an interception 49 yards for a touchdown and Eddie Royal scored on a 60-yard punt return as No. 17 Virginia Tech defeated William & Mary 44-3 in the first meeting between the Commonwealth schools in more than two decades.
"Beamerball is back," said Flowers, referring to scoring by defense and special teams that coach Frank Beamer has always emphasized. "The defense came out ready to play."
The Hokies (3-1) dominated from the beginning against the Tribe (2-2) of the Football Championship Subdivision (formerly Division I-AA), scoring three touchdowns and two field goals in the first quarter.
Flowers intercepted a pass by Jake Phillips and brought it back 49 yards in the first quarter to make it 20-0.
"That guy is quicker and faster than our guys," Laycock said. "Flowers, we'll be watching him play on Sundays, I'm sure."
Royal's return came with 13:56 to play in the second quarter, giving the Hokies a 34-0 lead.
In Beamer's 20 seasons at Tech, the defense has scored on 45 interceptions, and Royal's TD was the 38th by a special teams player.
William & Mary's only score came with 3:07 left in the first half, a 22-yard field goal by Brian Pate. The Tribe didn't get out of Virginia Tech territory in the first quarter, and a drive to the Tech 16 in the third ended with a missed field goal.
Virginia Tech had 287 total yards, with 133 yards rushing. Freshman Tyrod Taylor was 6-for-13 for 72 yards in the first half, including a 34-yard touchdown pass to Branden Ore. Sean Glennon was 5-for-9 for 49 yards as Beamer emptied his bench in the third quarter. Cory Holt went 4-for-5 for 33 yards in the last period.
"We got some valuable experience," Beamer said. "We became a better football team by getting that second group some work."
The Tribe relied on its passing game for 257 total yards, but had only 5 yards on the ground. Phillips, who was 17-for-40 with three interceptions for 243 yards, was sacked five times, twice in the third quarter by backup linebacker Purnell Sturdivant.
"It's hard to prepare for the speed and how fast the game is when you're out there on the field with those guys," Phillips said.
Sturdivant and backup rover Dorian Porch had eight tackles apiece.
"It's good to have a breakout game," said Sturdivant, a junior.
Virginia Tech's first two scores came on Jud Dunlevy's field goals of 25 and 27 yards, and he added a 38-yarder in the third.
The Hokies got their first touchdown after a bad snap gave them possession on their 5-yard line with 4:47 left. Ore scored on a 2-yard run.
Kenny Lewis Jr. added an 8-yard TD run with 17 seconds left in the quarter.
It was the first meeting of the two teams since 1985, and set the Hokies up for a big stretch drive. They play eight straight games against Atlantic Coast Conference foes, beginning at home next Saturday against North Carolina.
"I'm pleased with our effort today, but it's serious time now," Beamer said.
The Hokies' offensive line struggled in their first three games, but Beamer said he saw improvement Saturday. He predicted the offense would get better as Taylor gets more experience.
Royal said he thinks the Hokies are ready for more formidable foes.
"The defense is playing well right now. The offense has its spark," he said. "We're ready to go."
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