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Ohio Drops First Game to No. 18 Virginia Tech

Sept. 15, 2007

Box Score |  Notes |  AP Photo Gallery 

BLACKSBURG, Va. - The Ohio football team could not get its offense in gear against a fierce Virginia Tech defense and the Bobcats fell 28-7 to the Hokies at Lane Stadium.

The Bobcats did strike first in the contest, with senior running back Kalvin McRae (Decatur, Ga.) crossing the goal line on a four-yard touchdown run in the first half - his seventh touchdown in just three games this season. McRae finished the game with 55 yards on 22 carries in addition to six receptions for 26 yards - both team highs.

Quarterback Brad Bower (Burr Ridge, Ill.), pressured all game by the Hokies front seven, completed 9-of-16 passes for 70 yards. The senior was sacked four times.

The Hokies stumbled in the first half against a stout Ohio defensive effort but could not be denied as Virginia Tech scored four rushing touchdowns, three in the second half, and gave head coach Frank Beamer the 200th win of his career. He is only the 47th coach in NCAA history to break the 200-career win mark.

The Virginia Tech defense performed as advertised, holding Ohio to seven points and a total of 114 yards of offense, its lowest total since the Bobcats recorded just 119 yards at Rutgers in 2006.

The Hokie defensive effort was anchored by second-team All-American inside linebacker, Vince Hall. The 6-foot, 238-pound senior racked up 14 tackles and two sacks.

The game was a tale of two halves as the Ohio defense matched the highly-touted Hokie unit stride for stride in the opening frame.

On the first possession of the game, Ohio drove the ball to midfield before being stopped two yards short on third and long. Matt Schulte (Cincinnati, Ohio) punted the ball to the Virginia Tech 20-yard line and the Ohio defense took over, forcing the Hokies to go three-and-out.

On the Bobcats' second possession of the game, the Virginia Tech defense showed how dangerous they could be. McRae was stopped for a three-yard loss on the first play and Bower was sacked and stuffed on a broken play on the next two downs, respectively.

Virginia Tech began its second offensive possession with 7:15 remaining in the first quarter and Taylor rolled out of the pocket and connected on a 59-yard pass to wide receiver Josh Morgan which moved the ball to the Ohio 10-yard line.

But two plays later, Michael Mitchell's (Fort Thomas, Ky.) hard tackle popped the ball loose from a Virginia Tech receiver and the ball landed in Landon Cohen's (Spartanburg, S.C.) arms, for his second fumble recovery in as many games.

After an Ohio three-and-out, Schulte lined a punt that bounced and rolled its way for 59 yards, a career long for the redshirt-freshman, to the Virginia Tech 29-yard line.

Taylor and the Hokies came back out onto the field with 5:45 remaining in the first quarter to begin another drive. But once again the stout Ohio defense forced Virginia Tech to punt from the 35-yard line that rolled out of bounds at the Ohio 30-yard line.

Bower rushed for a nine-yard gain on the first play of the drive and the Ohio offense moved the chains but linebacker Xavier Adibi stopped Bower on a third-and-one at midfield and the Bobcats were forced to punt.

But the punt proved to be an offensive play for Ohio as Virginia Tech's Eddie Royal muffed the punt and long-snapper Ryan Senser (Westerville, Ohio) hustled down the field and recovered the ball at the VT 26-yard line.

After a penalty pushed the ball back five-yards, Bower was sacked on first down by Hall for a nine-yard loss.

But two plays later, the first of the second quarter, Bower connected with McRae for a six-yard gain but a late-hit out-out-bounds gave the Bobcats a first down and the ball at the Virginia Tech 14-yard line. The late hit was charged to cornerback Brandon Flowers, his second personal foul this season.

Three plays later McRae punched the ball in from four-yards out for the Bobcats first touchdown of the game and a Michael Braunstein (Gilbert, Ariz.) extra-point gave Ohio a 7-0 lead.

A touchback on the ensuing Braunstein kickoff gave Taylor and Virginia Tech the ball at their own 20-yard line. Running back Branden Ore took the handoff on the first play of the drive for a 25-yard gain to the VT 45-yard line. However, the Ohio defense once again held firm, with a blitz hurrying Taylor into a bad throw on a fourth down play and the Bobcats regained the ball on their own 33-yard line.

The defensive struggle continued when the Bobcats were forced to punt after three plays and Virginia Tech returned the ball to the its own 32-yard line to begin their drive with 9:07 remaining in the second quarter.

The Hokies used the short passing attack to move 55-yards on nine plays and found themselves in a first-and-10 situation on the Ohio 13-yard line with 5:49 remaining in the first half. Virginia Tech running back Kenny Lewis Jr. took the ball off the left side of the offensive line and broke a tackle on the goal-line for the first Hokie touchdown of the game which evened the score at 7-7.

After the kickoff, Hall sacked Bower for the second time in the contest, pushing the line of scrimmage back to the Ohio 18-yard line. But on third and long and the Virginia Tech crowd rocking, Bower found Chido Nwokocha (Elk Grove, Calif.) down the middle for a 21-yard completion to continue the drive.

But Bower and the Bobcats could not use the long pass play to build momentum and the drive stalled at the Ohio 40-yard line.

Two penalties on the ensuing punt pushed the Hokies back to their own 13-yard line to begin a drive with just 2:41 remaining in the half.

But two long passing plays moved the ball to midfield in only 40 seconds. The Ohio defense responded by sacking Taylor for a 12-yard loss but Taylor found Morgan, his go-to man in the first half, two plays later and moved the ball to the Ohio 33-yard line with 49 seconds left. But the freshman quarterback could not replicate his first half efficiency in the final few plays of the first half, badly over-throwing two receivers and the ensuing Hokies punt was downed at the Ohio four-yard line.

A Bower quarterback keeper ticked the final seconds off the clock and the Bobcats entered halftime tied 7-7 with the No. 18 ranked Hokies.

Virginia Tech had 231 yards of total offense at the break, opposed to just 80 yards for Ohio but the Bobcats held the turnover advantage, 2-0.

A touchback on the second half kickoff put Taylor and the Hokie offense on their own 20-yard line after halftime.

After a Virginia Tech first down, Taylor moved around in the pocket, avoided the Bobcat pash rush and found his tight end, Greg Boone, for a 32-yard gain. After a run and an incomplete pass, four Bobcats came through the Hokie offensive line and sacked Taylor for a 12-yard loss and pushed the Hokies out of field goal range and punt followed on fourth down.

Virginia Tech's punt bounced sharply out-of-bounds at the Ohio two-yard line, pinning the Bobcats back against their goal line. After three McRae runs netted eight total yards, Ohio was forced to punt, which was fair-caught by Royal at the Ohio 47-yard line.

The Hokies couldn't put together anything on offense, despite the excellent field position, with the Bobcats sacking Taylor on first down, stuffing an Ore run on second down and forcing an incomplete pass on third down. The subsequent Virginia Tech punt was fair-caught at the 11-yard line.

After stops on first and second down, the Bobcats thought they had gained a big first down, with a long Bower pass to Price, but an illegal formation penalty reversed the catch and McRae was tackled for no-gain on the repeated third down play. Schulte's eighth punt of the game rolled to the Virginia Tech 46-yard line before being downed.

On the next play, Cohen punched the ball free from Ore, but Taylor quickly fell on the ball. Taylor then took off for a 13-yard run on the next play from scrimmage to move the chains.

A 10-yard pass from Taylor on the next play moved the chains again and Ore scampered 16-yards on the ensuing snap. The junior running back followed his long run with another big chunk of yardage, this time for nine yards to the Ohio seven-yard line.

After three plays and back-to-back penalties on both the Bobcats and the Hokies, Taylor ran to the right of the offensive line on third and goal from the five-yard line for Virginia Tech's second touchdown and first lead of the game, 14-7.

The ensuing kickoff, with 3:38 remaining in the third quarter, was returned by Josh Abrams (Dunwoody, Ga.) for 29-yards before being pushed out at the Ohio 43-yard line.

But once again the Virginia Tech defense held the Bobcats and forced another three-and-out and Schulte's punt was downed at the 15-yard line but an illegal formation penalty moved the ball forward five yards and the Hokies began the ensuing drive at their own 20-yard line.

After the Bobcats forced another three-and-out, Chris Garrett (Bristow, Va.) fumbled the punt but recovered the loose ball on the Ohio eight-yard line. The Bobcats once again began a drive deep in their own territory. After the Hokies knocked down a Bower pass and stopped McRae on a run and a short pass, Schulte booted his 10th punt of the contest, which was fair-caught at the Ohio 42-yard line.

Despite another penalty that pushed Virginia Tech back for a second-and-long situation, the Hokies moved the ball down to the Ohio one-yard line on a 19-yard Taylor pass to Josh Hyman.

The Ohio defense held strong at the goal line, stifling two quarterback sneaks for no gain. After a Virginia Tech timeout on third-and-goal from the one-yard line, Ore finally pushed through the pile for his first rushing touchdown of the game. The score gave Virginia Tech a 21-7 lead with 8:49 remaining in the fourth quarter.

After the kickoff the Virginia Tech defense did not let-up, forcing another three-and-out after the Bobcats lost 11-yards on a false start and a Bower sack.

The Hokies started another drive in Bobcat territory after the punt, this time at the Ohio 40-yard line with 7:14 remaining in the game.

Virginia Tech quickly added another rushing touchdown, this time on a 44-yard run by Lewis Jr., his second score of the game. The score pushed the Hokies' lead to 28-7 with just more than six minutes remaining.

After the last touchdown, the Hokies brought in reserve quarterback Sean Glennon for the final minutes of the game. Glennon was named the Hokies starter prior to the season, but Taylor's performance against LSU earned him the starting job in just the third game of his collegiate career.

The highly-touted freshman from Hampton, Va., ended the game with 282 yards on 17-of-31 passing in addition to his 13-yard touchdown run in the third quarter.

Ore rushed for 83 yards and a touchdown for the Hokies, while back-up running back Lewis Jr. scored twice and totaled 62 rushing yards.

The Bobcats will be back in action next weekend with a home game at 3 p.m. in Peden Stadium against Wyoming.