Peoples, Jackson sharp as No. 12 Hokies beat Tribe 62-17
BLACKSBURG, Va. (AP) — Justin Fuente said he was worried how his team would handle a quick turnaround.
The No. 12 Hokies had an emotional 24-3 victory at Florida State on Monday night, then had to travel home, operate on insufficient sleep and prepare to play William & Mary on Saturday.
He need not have worried.
Steven Peoples had two first-half touchdown runs, Josh Jackson threw for one touchdown and ran for another and the Hokies took control early and made quick work of the Tribe in a 62-17 victory Saturday.
“It was sometimes challenging and our kids did a really good job with that,” Fuente said.
As an added bonus, they took control early enough that he was able to give some young second- and third-team players experience at actual game speed.
“That’s what you want to have happen,” he said.
Jackson went to the bench before halftime with the score 31-7, and backup Ryan Willis led a touchdown drive on his first college series. Jackson returned for one second half series, but then Willis and Hendon Hooker finished up behind center, each running for a touchdown.
Hooker’s score came on his third play — a 69-yard dash down the left sideline.
“I was running down the sideline for Hendon on his long run,” Jackson said.
“We knew coming in it was going to be a heck of a challenge,” William & Mary coach Jimmye Laycock said. “Defensively we got rocked back a little bit early. … Offensively, they did some different things than what we’ve seen that caught is off a little bit.”
Peoples scored on runs of six and four yards and finished with six carries for 55 yards.
Jackson was 12 for 16 for 217 yards, including a 39-yard scoring throw to Damon Hazleton. Jackson also ran 8 yards for a TD, and Deshawn McClease’s 1-yard run made it 38-7 at the half.
“I think we got worn down,” Tribe linebacker Nate Atkins said. “They were running sideline to sideline a lot. We were getting gassed. We just don’t have the depth that they do.”
Mitchell and DeVonte Dedmon hooked up for a 59-yard touchdown in the third quarter.
Before the game, Hall of Fame Hokies coach Frank Beamer met longtime friend Laycock, a certain future hall of famer, at midfield for a short recognition. Laycock is retiring following this season, his 39th at the helm of the Tribe, and has a 246-190-2 career record.
William & Mary: The Tribe dominated time of possession last week in a victory at Bucknell, but never found any offensive rhythm against the Hokies. William & Mary has played many close games against Power Five schools in recent years, but has lost its last three to the Hokies by a combined
Virginia Tech: After being a question mark to start the season with eight new starters, the Hokies’ young defense was again impressive despite allowing the first touchdown by the Tribe in the last three meetings of the teams. The score came on a 4-yard run by Nate Evans after a 71-yard pass play. Virginia Tech has already allowed plays of 85, 71 and 59 yards this season.
Those big plays allowed are easily corrected, defensive coordinator Bud Foster said.
Against the Seminoles, a missed tackle allowed Cam Akers to break lose on an 85-yard run, he said, but the Hokies took the ball back three plays later by forcing and recovering a fumble.
On Muse’s long catch, “they came out in an empty formation. We should have checked to a certain defense and nobody recognized that which, to me, was very disappointing,” Foster said.
“We can use that as a teaching moment.”
None are likely for the Hokies as Power Five teams that are already highly regarded rarely get credit for dominating lower division teams.
William & Mary drops back down in Colonial Athletic Association play, hosting Elon next Saturday.
Virginia Tech hosts East Carolina, often a nemesis, next Saturday.