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A night of missed 0pportunities: Virginia Tech defeats East Carolina, 16-3

By Brent Cooper
Posted Tuesday, November 10, 2009

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Greenville, NC - Black Out Night in Greenville was missing the large bottle of white out needed to erase Pirate penalties, turnovers, and missed opportunities in the first half here in Greenville Thursday night in what might have been an upset victory for the host Pirates against the 22nd ranked Virginia Tech Hokies.

Five first half offensive penalties, including one for offensive holding that nullified what would have been a 20 yard TD run by Dominique Lindsay, and a fumble by Tight End Rob Kass on the next play with the Pirates driving at the VT 28 kept the Pirates out of the end zone on a night the Pirates’ defense was doing its part to keep the Pirates within striking distance.

Thanks to two outstanding plays by Senior Strong Safety Van Eskridge the Pirates held the Hokies to two field goals and remained within striking distance throughout the first half. First, Eskridge broke up a potential touchdown pass at the goal line on the Hokies’ second drive on third and goal from the five late in the first quarter. Then, when it appeared Hokies’ Quarterback Tyrod Taylor had broke free for a 17 yard touchdown run on the Hokies’ first offensive possession of the second quarter, Eskridge knocked the football free from Taylor from behind as Taylor approached the goal line. Eskridge’s play resulted in a fumble that would travel through the back of the end zone for a touchback and a turnover to the Pirates.

However, the Pirates failed to take advantage after dodging these two first half Hokies’ scoring threats. After successive stalled Pirates’ offensive possessions, the Hokies finally broke into the end zone as the Hokies drove 79 yards on 12 plays capped off by a 13 yard touchdown run by Quarterback Tyrod Taylor that gave the Hokies a 13-0 lead with 2:06 remaining in the first half in a drive that ate up 5:27 of the second quarter.

Tyrod Taylor

The Pirates responded with a drive of their own to get on the scoreboard right before the half. The Pirates drove 73 yards in 12 plays using the final 2:06 of the first half clock. However, this drive should be deemed as another missed opportunity as the Pirates could not break into the end zone and had to settle for a 24 yard field goal by Ben Hartman that cut the Hokies’ lead to 13-3 at the half.

After receiving the second half kickoff and going three and out, the Pirates’ defense appeared to give the offense some life after holding the Hokies to three and out after a sack of quarterback Tyrod Taylor by Pirate Senior Linebacker Jeremy Chambliss. Following a 48 yard punt by Hokies’ punter Brent Bowden, the Pirates drove from their own 32 to Hokies’ 18 yard line on five straight running plays, which included an 18 yard run by Dominique Lindsay and a 16 yard run by Giavanni Ruffin.

However, on first and 10 from the Hokies’ 18, Pinckney and Ruffin bobbled the handoff exchange, resulting in a fumble recovered by Hokies’ freshmen Linebacker Lyndell Gibson at the Virginia Tech 20 yard line. This turnover was in essence the final nail in the Pirates’ coffin on Black Out Night in Greenville in front of a national television audience on ESPN and the 6th largest crowd ever at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium.

Maybe the nearly full moon was an indication after all of a night that the Pirates would nearly pull off an upset of a BCS team once ranked in the Top 5 of most polls earlier in the season. Yet, in the end, it was a night of missed opportunities caused by numerous Pirate mistakes that in the end sealed their fate resulting in a hard fought and disappointing 16-3 loss to Frank Beamer’s Virginia Tech Hokies.

With the loss East Carolina falls to 5-4 on the season, 4-1 in Conference USA. The Pirates now turn their focus toward winning the Conference USA Eastern Division title where they currently sit atop the standings by one game over four other teams. The Pirates take ESPN’s Center Stage again Sunday night November 15 when they travel to face Conference USA foe Tulsa.

Virginia Tech successfully avenged a 27-22 defeat at the hands of East Carolina at Bank of America Stadium to start the 2008 college football season. Frank Beamer led Virginia Tech teams improved to 9-5 versus East Carolina. Skip Holtz led East Carolina teams are now 1-2 versus Virginia Tech. Virginia Tech leads the overall series after tonight’s victory 10-5.

Virginia Tech improves to 6-3 on the season, 3-2 in the Atlantic Coast Conference. Virginia Tech returns to conference play next Saturday when it travels to Maryland.

Related info:
ACC Football News
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A night of missed 0pportunities: Virginia Tech defeats East Carolina, 16-3
Virginia Tech Hokies football coach Frank Beamer.
photos by Gene Galin

Related info:
ACC Football News