No. 13 Virginia Tech shuts out ODU
BLACKSBURG, Va. — No. 13 Virginia Tech completed a perfect nonconference schedule with a convincing 38-0 win over Old Dominion on Saturday at Lane Stadium.
Now the Hokies (4-0) can finally set their sights on a mammoth ACC opener next week at home against No. 2 Clemson.
“We will be ready to play them when they come in,” Tech wide receiver Cam Phillips said of the Tigers, who beat the Hokies 42-35 in last season’s ACC championship game.
Said Tech junior defensive back Mook Reynolds: “The stakes are higher, but we try to go 1-0 each week. This just so happens to be the next game. We’re going to enjoy this win and tomorrow we’re going to start focusing on breaking everything down and getting ready to do everything we’ve gotta do.”
The Hokies, who went 4-0 in nonconference play for the first time since 2011, used a dominating defensive performance to dispatch Old Dominion in the first-ever meeting between the teams.
The Hokies outgained the Monarchs 582-149 in securing their second shutout in their last three games.
ODU (2-2) was held scoreless for the first time since a 49-0 loss to Appalachian State in 2005.
“When you feel like you’re controlling the game on the defensive side of the ball, it provides you more opportunities to try to get up on people and force the issue that way,” Tech coach Justin Fuente said. “We should be good on defense. With the guys we had coming back and with the staff that we have and the way we train and practice, I’m not taking those things for granted, but we expect to play on a high level.”
Despite throwing his first career interception, Hokies freshman quarterback Josh Jackson had another stellar start, passing for 298 yards and three touchdowns. He completed 20 of 30 passes.
Tech junior running back Steven Peoples had a career day with 135 total yards (73 receiving) and three touchdowns.
“The local guy got some shine today, so I guess that’s pretty cool,” said Peoples, who is from nearby Galax, Va.
The Hokies’ defensive dominance spoiled a historic first start for ODU freshman quarterback Steven Williams Jr. At 17, Williams became the second-youngest starting quarterback in the history of the Football Bowl Subdivision, behind only David Walker of Texas A&M in 1973.
Williams passed for 85 yards on 8-of-26 passing, and he rushed six times for 24 yards. He couldn’t provide much of a spark against Tech’s defense, which held the Monarchs to seven first downs.
“I’ve never played in front of a big crowd like that. I was just going out there having fun,” Williams said. “I didn’t let the pressure get to me. I was just out there playing football.”
The last time Tech held multiple opponents scoreless in the same season was 2006 when it notched four.
“This was clearly one of the best teams in the nation today, and they took advantage of us,” ODU coach Bobby Wilder said.
The Hokies struggled to find an offensive rhythm in the first half, but they still took a 17-0 lead into the intermission.
Joey Slye’s 31-yard first-quarter field goal provided Tech’s only points until 6:07 remaining in the second quarter. That was when Peoples caught a screen pass from Jackson and took it 17 yards for a touchdown.
Peoples scored his second touchdown right before the end of the quarter on a 1-yard run.
“The plays were there. We just needed to make them,” Jackson said. “We just really picked it up after those first couple of drives.”
Tech broke open the game in the third quarter. Peoples caught a deflected pass from Jackson in the end zone for a 43-yard touchdown, and wide receiver C.J. Carroll caught his first career scoring reception from 5 yards out a short time later to make it 31-0.
Hokies running back Deshawn McClease scored on a 5-yard run early in the fourth quarter to push the lead to 38-0.
NOTES: Virginia Tech WR Cam Phillips has caught at least one pass in 31 straight games, breaking the previous school record set by Isaiah Ford last season. ... ODU fell to 0-9 all-time against Power 5 opponents. ... Hokies PK Joey Slye missed a 27-yard field goal in the first quarter, his first career miss inside the 30-yard line. He was 27-for-27 for his career before the miss. ... ODU’s Steven Williams was the first opposing quarterback to make his first career start at Lane Stadium since Temple’s Devin Scott in 1998. ... Former Virginia Tech quarterback Michael Vick was inducted into the school’s sports Hall of Fame on Friday. ... Virginia Tech QB Josh Jackson threw his first career interception on his 100th pass of the season. ... Virginia Tech hosts No. 2 Clemson next Saturday. ODU returns to action at home against Florida Atlantic on Oct. 7.