Jackson, No. 18 Virginia Tech defense too much for Delaware
BLACKSBURG, Va. (AP) Greg Stroman returned a punt for a touchdown and Josh Jackson threw two scoring passes to carry No. 18 Virginia Tech to a 27-0 victory over Delaware on Saturday.
Stroman broke a scoreless game late in the first quarter when he fielded a punt, made a nice cut to dodge a would-be tackler and went untouched for a 61-yard touchdown. He became the first player in Virginia Tech history to return a punt for a touchdown in three consecutive seasons.
The Hokies (2-0), coming off a last-second win over West Virginia, struggled offensively for much of the game, but got scoring strikes of 4 and 28 yards from Jackson. The latter went to Cam Phillips, who broke free on a post pattern to give the Hokies breathing room in the fourth quarter.
Jackson completed 16 of 27 passes for 222 yards.
”Obviously, we have a lot of things we need to work on, but I’m proud of them and the way that they played,” Virginia Tech coach Justin Fuente said. ”Delaware, defensively, has a fine scheme. They know it well, and it gave us some problems offensively.
”We missed several opportunities with big plays. We didn’t execute very well. I would say all week with looking at their scheme that they lined up exactly where we thought they would, and they got after us pretty well. Those two things combined made for a tough day.”
Delaware (1-1) squandered two scoring opportunities – one on a drive that ended in an interception and the other when Frank Raggo’s 28-yard field-goal attempt hit the right upright.
”You know that our opportunities were going to be minimal,” Delaware coach Danny Rocco said. ”We had to cash in on any and all opportunities in this game. Really, in reality, they did all the things that we needed to do to win the game.”
Delaware: The Blue Hens were overmatched against the Hokies, but they have played strong defense this season and held the Hokies to 303 yards. Delaware’s defense only allowed two touchdowns and has given up just 30 points in two games.
Virginia Tech: After allowing nearly 600 yards to West Virginia, Virginia Tech’s defense rebounded nicely to record Bud Foster’s 32nd shutout as the Hokies’ defensive coordinator. The Blue Hens only got into Virginia Tech territory three times.
PROTECTING THE BALL
Through the first two games of 2016, Virginia Tech had turned the ball over nine times. Through the first two games of this season, the Hokies have just one turnover.
”We have to,” Fuente said. ”We have no other choice. If we don’t, we are not going to put ourselves in a position to succeed.”
A MAN DOWN
The Blue Hens had only 10 players on the field when Stroman broke free on the punt return. Rocco took the blame afterward, saying he should have taken a delay penalty or called a timeout. His indecision proved costly against a Virginia Tech team that, behind Stroman, ranked in the top 10 in punt return yardage a year ago.
”You know, in that moment, we were going to take a delay and somehow, some way, the ball got snapped right there, but I have to own that,” Rocco said. ”I could’ve called a timeout, so that in fact was the biggest play of the game.”
Delaware returns home to face Cornell next Saturday.
Virginia Tech continues its non-conference schedule when it visits a struggling East Carolina squad next Saturday.
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