Tech knocks out ECU

Record ef­forts by Phillips, Jack­son fuel romp on road Lauletta has game for record books against Bi­son

Richmond Times-Dispatch Weekend - - Sports - BY ANDY BIT­TER The Roanoke Times BY JOHN O’CON­NOR Rich­mond Times-Dis­patch

GREENVILLE, N.C. — East Carolina fig­ured to at least land a solid punch - it usu­ally does against the Hok­ies.

But Vir­ginia Tech ab­sorbed the Pi­rates’ best shot early Satur­day, then came back with a bar­rage of blows as good as the Hok­ies have had in years in a 64-17 knock­out win.

Cam Phillips had a school-record 14 catches for 189 yards and three touch­downs and Josh Jack­son threw for a ca­reer-high 372 yards and tied a school record with five touch­down passes as the Hok­ies erased an early 17-7 deficit by rip­ping off 57 unan­swered points.

“Our of­fense was on fire,” said kicker Joey Slye, who barely got his hel­met off on the side­line a cou­ple of times be­fore hav­ing to trot back on the field to kick an ex­tra point. “Once we started to get things click­ing, you couldn’t stop us.”

East Carolina (0-3) looked piti­ful in losses to James

The first in­com­plete pass was a throw-away un­der pres­sure. An­other sailed a bit high, in­tended for De­jon Bris­sett, cov­ered fairly well in the end zone. One other foot­ball that Kyle Lauletta threw hit the ground.

Other than those three, Lauletta was flaw­less in Rich­mond’s 68-21 win over Howard on Satur­day. In the Spi­ders’ home opener, Lauletta com­pleted 24 of 27 for 290 yards and a school-record six touch­downs be­fore leav­ing with 12 min­utes left in the third quar­ter. Rich­mond had a 55-7 lead, and didn’t at­tempt an­other pass.

The Spi­ders’ 68 points are the most in their mod­ern era, and third-high­est to­tal in school his­tory. Rich­mond beat Ran­dolph-Ma­con 80-0 in 1917, and the Nor­folk Marines 74-7 in 1943.

“For me, in the first two games, one of the things I

Madi­son and West Vir­ginia to start the year, but this loss was just as bad for a pro­gram that has dropped 12 of its last 13 games.

The Hok­ies’ 64 points were the third-most they’ve scored in a game since 1987 and the se­cond-most ever against a team from the Foot­ball Bowl Sub­di­vi­sion or a com­pa­ra­ble his­tor­i­cal level. Tech beat Akron 77-27 in 1995.

“I don’t think I’ve ever done that,” Jack­son said of scor­ing 64 points.

Vir­ginia Tech’s 675 yards matched a sin­glegame school record, ty­ing the Hok­ies’ out­put in a 1993 win against Pitt. They scored on nine con­sec­u­tive drives at one point Satur­day and got points on 11 of their 14 drives.

Af­ter the de­fense gave up oo­dles of yards against West Vir­ginia and the of­fense didn’t ex­actly shine last week against Delaware, the Hok­ies (3-0) were still wait­ing for their first com­plete game of the sea­son.

They got it Satur­day. The de­fense looked shell­shocked early, giv­ing up 17 first-quar­ter points and 204 yards with backup quar­ter­back Gard­ner Min­shew get­ting the start, hear­ken­ing to past strug­gles at Dowdy-Ficklen Sta­dium, which has tripped up the Hok­ies be­fore.

“I did tell them, ‘We might set a record to­day (for giv­ing up points) if we’re not care­ful,’” said de­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor Bud Foster.

But Foster’s de­fense buck­led down, giv­ing up only 4 more yards in the half and 77 yards in the fi­nal three quar­ters, keep­ing East Carolina off the score­board for the fi­nal 47 min­utes. Tech held ECU to 40 rush­ing yards, lim­ited the Pi­rates to 4 of 15 on third downs and forced three turnovers in a dom­i­nat­ing show­ing af­ter the ini­tial set­back.

“Our kids did not panic,” said Foster. “They did not point fin­gers and ob­vi­ously we made some ad­just­ments. We kept our calm as a staff and told them, ‘Hey, it’s a long game. We just need to set­tle down.’ And the kids ex­e­cuted the plan, and that’s when the screws tight­ened down.”

The of­fense was not to be out­done. Jack­son was sharp from the start, com­plet­ing 24 of 31 passes in a lit­tle un­der three quar­ters. His 372 yards were the most by a Hok­ies fresh­man in a game and the fifth-most by any Vir­ginia Tech quar­ter­back since 1987. His five touch­down passes tied a sin­gle-game school record held by Bryan Ran­dall and Jerod Evans.

“I like the way he goes about his busi­ness,” said Tech coach Justin Fuente. “I like the way his de­meanor is in the game. You can com­mu­ni­cate with him. He un­der­stands what’s go­ing on and he can han­dle ad­just­ments.”

Phillips again was his fa­vorite tar­get, get­ting to the cusp of a sin­gle-game Hok­ies re­cep­tions record with 12 catches for 109 yards at the half. He’d tie and break the record of 13 held by Nick Cullen and Don­ald Snell, do­ing so in grand fashion.

Jack­son hit Phillips on a post route for a 31-yard touch­down that put the Hok­ies up 29-17 early in the third quar­ter. The record-set­ter came two drives later, when Jack­son went over the top to Phillips for a 45-yard touch­down and a 43-17 lead.

Travon McMil­lian got in on the ac­tion, too, ac­count­ing for 72 of the Hok­ies’ 287 rush­ing yards and catch­ing a pop pass from Jack­son across the mid­dle and rac­ing away from the be­lea­guered ECU de­fense for a 70-yard touch­down to split Phillips’ two third-quar­ter touch­down catches.

Sean Savoy added a 9-yard touch­down catch and Jalen Hol­ston pow­ered in for a 1-yard touch­down run, the first of his ca­reer, to con­clude a 34point third quar­ter for the Hok­ies.

It was one shy of the most points Tech has


Gor­don Collins (6) tucks in a touch­down pass from Kyle Lauletta (5). Howard’s Tye Free­land is late with the tackle. Lauletta set a school record with six TD passes be­fore leav­ing with 12 min­utes left in the third quar­ter.


Howard coach Mike Lon­don says he’s shap­ing a pro­gram at Howard, which in­cludes guid­ing his play­ers in the class­room and off the field.

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