No. 3 Va. Tech 48, West Virginia 20
BLACKSBURG, Va. (AP) _ Wide receiver Andre Davis, forced to find other ways to score in the face of triple-team coverage, found three Thursday night.
The Atlantic 10 sprint champion scored on a run, a pass and a punt return in a span of 6:06 in the third quarter, and No. 3 Virginia Tech overcame its first deficit of the season to beat West Virginia 48-20.
Davis scored on a 30-yard reverse that gave the Hokies the lead, a 64-yard pass from Michael Vick and a 76-yard punt return _ his third this season _ as the Hokies (6-0, 4-0 Big East) made quick work of a 14-7 halftime deficit.
``The teams know about me and Mike now, so they’re going to do what they can to stop the deep ball,″ said Davis, who had just one touchdown reception in five games after getting a school-record nine last year.
``We’ve just got to do different things.″
Davis finished with 273 all-purpose yards _ 30 rushing, 127 on six receptions and 116 on four punt returns.
Vick, who has had trouble connecting on deep passes all year, also hit Bob Slowikowski with a 72-yard scoring throw and had a 47-yarder dropped.
``I’ve been throwing great deep balls all week, so I knew tonight was going to be the night,″ he said. ``We just had to get the right coverage.″
Vick finished 10-for-18 for 233 yards with two TDs and his two longest passes of the season. He also ran 11 times for 57 yards.
At halftime, though, he and the Hokies looked like they were in trouble. After going ahead 7-0 on their first drive, they made mistake after mistake, turning the rest of the half into a Hokies horror show.
A diving Emmett Johnson couldn’t hang on to a perfectly thrown pass in the end zone. Two West Virginia drives were kept alive by Tech mistakes. And Vick fumbled while diving for the end zone, producing a touchback.
``There are certain times during a season you look to and say, `Boy, this might be the moment,‴ coach Frank Beamer said. ``I think the second half for our football team has a chance to be a big moment this year.″
It started with Vick’s bullet to Slowikowski just 1:10 into the quarter, and turned into Davis’ highlight show five minutes later.
West Virginia (4-2, 2-2), which seemed prime for the upset after escaping the first half with the lead, couldn’t do much to stop it.
``We were a tired football team,″ said West Virginia coach Don Nehlen, deprived of his 200th career victory. ``When they got ahead of us and our defense was on the field for a long period, we were sucking air big time.″
Vick took great satisfaction is helping to make that happen.
``It showed the character of this offense that we can come out there when we were down _ the first time we’ve been down all season _ and come out there and make plays and get the job done,″ Vick said.
Davis gave Virginia Tech its first lead since the first quarter when he took a handoff from Lee Suggs on a reverse and outran several Mountaineers to the end zone. It was Davis’ third career touchdown on a reverse, first this year.
Only 4:10 later, after the Hokies stopped West Virginia’s fourth-and-3 try from the Virginia Tech 36, Vick found Davis behind Richard Bryant and hit him for their longest connection this year. Davis, who averaged 27.5 yards per catch last year, came in averaging just 11.3 this year.
Finally, Davis capped his burst less than two minutes later by fielding Mark Fazzolari’s punt at the own 24, getting a devastating block from Wayne Ward and taking off up the right sideline with 2:24 to play.
``They’ve got it all going for them right now,″ Nehlen said of the Hokies, who won their 17th consecutive regular-season game.
The Mountaineers became the first team to lead the Hokies all year when Brad Lewis rolled out and found tight end Sean Berton wide open in the end zone with 58 seconds left in the first half. The play capped a 10-play, 63-yard drive kept alive by a roughing-the-kicker call on Suggs.
Earlier, Davis fumbled a punt at his own 33, Ben Collins recovering for the Mountaineers, and they needed six plays to tie it. Avon Cobourne carried four times for 25 yards, including the last 7, in the drive.
Jarrett Ferguson added a 16-yard TD run for the Hokies in the fourth quarter, and Andre Kendrick scored on a 2-yard run with 3:44 to play.
Ben Meighan returned a fumble by Hokies reserve running back Keith Burnell 36 yards for the game’s final touchdown with 2:20 remaining.