7:15 PM ET, September 4, 2005
Carter-Finley Stadium, RALEIGH, NC
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- There were glimpses of vintage Vick, with some daring dashes and a few pretty passes. But this time, it was Marcus, not Michael, leading Virginia Tech.
Marcus Vick threw for one touchdown and made several key second-half runs Sunday night, leading No. 8 Virginia Tech past North Carolina State 20-16 and avenging the Hokies' only Atlantic Coast Conference loss.
Vick wasn't spectacular, but he played with poise against one of the nation's best defenses and made his biggest plays in the second half.
"I just wanted to keep moving the ball forward and moving the chains," he said.
With his brother, Michael, the Atlanta Falcons quarterback and former Hokies star watching, the younger Vick completed 10 of 21 passes for 108 yards and ran for 31 more -- a performance that he graded as "average," but got better marks from his teammates and coaches.
"It's not even his stats. It's more so his leadership," running back Mike Imoh said. "When he walked in the huddle, he was in command. He really had you confident. Never when we were down or tired did we think we were going to lose."
Imoh added a 5-yard first-quarter touchdown run for the Hokies, who handed N.C. State another disappointing result against a top-10 team.
Jay Davis threw for 311 yards for the Wolfpack, which had won eight straight openers. The loss drops N.C. State to 1-7 against top-10 teams under sixth-year coach Chuck Amato.
The Hokies came in looking to avenge last season's 17-16 home loss to the Wolfpack, their only league setback in their inaugural ACC campaign. In that game, N.C. State had 10 sacks and held Virginia Tech to 36 yards on the ground, but got out of Blacksburg with the win after a missed 43-yard field goal from Brandon Pace on the final play.
This time, Pace connected on two field goals. And the offense -- outgained 438-232 in total yards -- kept plugging away at the stout N.C. State defense, which led Division I-A teams in fewest yards allowed in 2004.
Throw in a defense that kept N.C. State out of the end zone after its opening drive, and the Hokies got the redemption they wanted.
"To come in their place and get a victory, hey, man, revenge is sweet," said Aaron Rouse, who had an interception on the game's final play to seal the win. "All scores are settled."
But it was Vick, who was suspended last season for a variety of legal issues, who grabbed most of the postgame attention.
His teammates seemed impressed, and coach Frank Beamer credited Vick for playing with poise.
Most importantly for Virginia Tech, Vick avoided any momentum-killing mistakes. The same couldn't be said of the Wolfpack.
N.C. State, which ranked next to last in the ACC in penalty yards last year, committed 12 penalties for 105 yards -- including a 5-yard infraction for running into Pace on a missed 46-yard field goal that gave the Hokies a first down with about two minutes left.
That allowed the Hokies to run more time off the clock. And once N.C. State burned its timeouts trying to stop the clock, the Wolfpack were left with virtually no time remaining for a game-winning drive. N.C. State, starting from its own 20, got past midfield before Rouse intercepted a heave from Davis at the 6 as time expired.
"That's why we're not a championship team right now," defensive end Mario Williams said of the penalties. "In order for us to be what we want to be, what we're capable of doing, we've got to stop doing this dumb stuff ... and get our act together."
With his team trailing 13-10, Vick made two big plays on the Hokies' first drive of the third quarter -- including a dazzling run in which he sidestepped two defenders in a collapsing pocket and broke free for a 24-yard gain on third down. That set up Pace's tying 28-yard field goal with 2:19 left.
Then, after the Hokies got a 19-yard punt return from Eddie Royal to give the Hokies the ball at the 20, Vick scrambled left and connected with David Clowney for a 19-yard touchdown and a 20-13 lead early in the fourth.
Finally, with his team protecting a four-point lead, Vick had a 17-yard gain on a scramble and a 1-yard keeper on fourth down to move the chains with about 3½ minutes to play.
Top 25 Overview
It was over when... When NC State was called for running into the kicker after Virginia Tech missed a field goal with 2:11 left. The time lost having to force a Hokie punt could have been the difference on a final drive that ended with a desperate pass that was picked off as time expired.
Gameball goes to... Who else ... Marcus Vick. The junior didn't have mind-boggling numbers, but he made enough big plays -- and avoided any dumb ones -- to lead the Hokies to the win.
Stat of the game... 1-7: NC State's record against top 10 teams under sixth-year coach Chuck Amato.
Team Stat Comparison
|3rd Down Conversions||4-15||6-14|
|4th Down Conversions||2-2||1-1|
|TD||6:50||DARRELL BLACKMAN 25 YD RUN (JOHN DERANEY KICK)|
Drive info: 14 plays, 83 yards.
|TD||3:24||MIKE IMOH 5 YD RUN (BRANDON PACE KICK)|
Drive info: 9 plays, 80 yards.
|FG||8:49||JOHN DERANEY 33 YD FG|
Drive info: 7 plays, 33 yards.
|FG||2:33||BRANDON PACE 44 YD FG|
Drive info: 5 plays, 31 yards.
|FG||0:00||JOHN DERANEY 27 YD FG|
Drive info: 13 plays, 71 yards.
|FG||2:19||BRANDON PACE 28 YD FG|
Drive info: 17 plays, 88 yards.
|TD||12:24||DAVID CLOWNEY 19 YD PASS FROM MARCUS VICK (BRANDON PACE KICK)|
Drive info: 3 plays, 20 yards.
|FG||8:09||JOHN DERANEY 35 YD FG|
Drive info: 8 plays, 57 yards.