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Hokie offense finally clicking

BLACKSBURG, Va. (AP) — They talked all last week about the four-game season ahead, the one that would determine if Virginia Tech could be as good as had been expected from the start.
Now that the first of those games not only produced a victory, but also a performance on offense that gave everyone hope looking ahead, even the Hokies defense feels like it has gotten a boost heading into the stretch drive because of its suddenly potent teammates.
‘‘We felt like last year’s defense,’’ defensive tackle Cordarrow Thompson said, recalling the Hokies’ 23-13 victory against Maryland last Thursday. ‘‘We came out, were all fired up, hyped, and for 60 minutes, we couldn’t control ourselves. It was great. We were back in Lane Stadium, it was a night game. It felt like everything was falling back into place.’’
With redshirt freshman Darren Evans rushing for a school-record 253 yards, the Hokies piled up 400 yards of offense in the victory, giving the defense plenty of time to rest between series. The Terps had minus 12 rushing yards and gained just 228 yards in all.
Virginia Tech (6-3, 3-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) plays at longtime rival Miami on Thursday, and its last road game — it still plays Duke and Virginia at home — could go a long way in deciding if the Hokies can make their expected appearance in the ACC title game.
‘‘It’s in front of us,’’ linebacker Brett Warren said, knowing that if the Hokies can win their last three games, they’ll play for the championship. ‘‘We’ve just got to focus on Miami.’’
If the guys on defense think it was big for the offense to give such a strong accounting of itself against Maryland, the offensive line was doubly delighted to see Evans in action.
He had six runs of 15 yards or more, including bursts of 50, 45 and 29 yards, drawing some praise for the unit that has been maligned repeatedly when the offense failed to produce.
‘‘Anytime you find a guy that runs downhill, runs over guys, stuff like that, it’s nice, but ultimately it comes down to the offensive line,’’ guard Nick Marshman, one of two seniors on the line, said. ‘‘We’ve got get him the holes to be able to work and do what he does.’’
And now, he said, it’s just as important to build off that breakthrough performance.

‘‘You see a guy breaking tackles, getting 20-yard carries, stuff like that, you kind of feed off that,’’ he said. ‘‘You like that and you just feel better and keep blocking better.’’
But it wasn’t just the line that responded. With fifth-year senior Sean Glennon back at quarterback because of an injury to Tyrod Taylor, the young receiving corps played well, too, making several key catches for third-down conversions that kept the Hokies on the move.
‘‘I think they’re starting to realize that they’re nine games into their freshman season. They’re not little boys anymore,’’ Marshman said. ‘‘I think they’re understanding that more.’’
Redshirt freshman Danny Coale, the Hokies’ leading receiver with 21 catches, said having the offense finally put it all together for one night was nice, but really proved nothing.
‘‘There’s no satisfaction by any means,’’ he said. ‘‘Maybe a little relief, but no satisfaction. It was only one game and we’ve got to make sure that happens in more than one.’’

This week, they’ll try to do it against an old friend in the Hurricanes, the team the Hokies routinely battled at the end of the season when they were dominating the Big East.

AP-ES-11-11-08 1743EST

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Hokie offense finally clicking

BLACKSBURG, Va. (AP) — They talked all last week about the four-game season ahead, the one that would determine if Virginia Tech could be as good as had been expected from the start.
Now that the first of those games not only produced a victory, but also a performance on offense that gave everyone hope looking ahead, even the Hokies defense feels like it has gotten a boost heading into the stretch drive because of its suddenly potent teammates.
‘‘We felt like last year’s defense,’’ defensive tackle Cordarrow Thompson said, recalling the Hokies’ 23-13 victory against Maryland last Thursday. ‘‘We came out, were all fired up, hyped, and for 60 minutes, we couldn’t control ourselves. It was great. We were back in Lane Stadium, it was a night game. It felt like everything was falling back into place.’’
With redshirt freshman Darren Evans rushing for a school-record 253 yards, the Hokies piled up 400 yards of offense in the victory, giving the defense plenty of time to rest between series. The Terps had minus 12 rushing yards and gained just 228 yards in all.
Virginia Tech (6-3, 3-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) plays at longtime rival Miami on Thursday, and its last road game — it still plays Duke and Virginia at home — could go a long way in deciding if the Hokies can make their expected appearance in the ACC title game.
‘‘It’s in front of us,’’ linebacker Brett Warren said, knowing that if the Hokies can win their last three games, they’ll play for the championship. ‘‘We’ve just got to focus on Miami.’’
If the guys on defense think it was big for the offense to give such a strong accounting of itself against Maryland, the offensive line was doubly delighted to see Evans in action.
He had six runs of 15 yards or more, including bursts of 50, 45 and 29 yards, drawing some praise for the unit that has been maligned repeatedly when the offense failed to produce.
‘‘Anytime you find a guy that runs downhill, runs over guys, stuff like that, it’s nice, but ultimately it comes down to the offensive line,’’ guard Nick Marshman, one of two seniors on the line, said. ‘‘We’ve got get him the holes to be able to work and do what he does.’’
And now, he said, it’s just as important to build off that breakthrough performance.

‘‘You see a guy breaking tackles, getting 20-yard carries, stuff like that, you kind of feed off that,’’ he said. ‘‘You like that and you just feel better and keep blocking better.’’
But it wasn’t just the line that responded. With fifth-year senior Sean Glennon back at quarterback because of an injury to Tyrod Taylor, the young receiving corps played well, too, making several key catches for third-down conversions that kept the Hokies on the move.
‘‘I think they’re starting to realize that they’re nine games into their freshman season. They’re not little boys anymore,’’ Marshman said. ‘‘I think they’re understanding that more.’’
Redshirt freshman Danny Coale, the Hokies’ leading receiver with 21 catches, said having the offense finally put it all together for one night was nice, but really proved nothing.
‘‘There’s no satisfaction by any means,’’ he said. ‘‘Maybe a little relief, but no satisfaction. It was only one game and we’ve got to make sure that happens in more than one.’’

This week, they’ll try to do it against an old friend in the Hurricanes, the team the Hokies routinely battled at the end of the season when they were dominating the Big East.

AP-ES-11-11-08 1743EST

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