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Wolfpack's woes against Top-10 teams continue

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.