September 7, 2019 / 8:07 PM / 10 days ago

Willis, Hokies hold off ODU 31-17

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Sep 7, 2019; Blacksburg, VA, USA; Virginia Tech Hokies running back Keshawn King 935) celebrates his first touch down with Christian Darrisaw (77) in the first period against the Old Dominion Monarchs at Lane Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Lee Luther Jr.-USA TODAY Sports

Ryan Willis threw for 272 yards and two touchdowns and Virginia Tech fended off a second-half rally to defeat Old Dominion 31-17 on Saturday in Blacksburg, Va.

In avenging last season’s bitter defeat to ODU, the Hokies (1-1) allowed just three first-half points and stopped the Monarchs on two fourth-quarter drives that followed Virginia Tech lost fumbles.

Virginia Tech built a 24-3 lead midway through the third quarter before the Monarchs (1-1) scored two straight touchdowns to pull within 24-17 early in the fourth quarter.

On the ensuing kickoff, Virginia Tech’s Terius Wheatley ran 71 yards to the Monarchs’ 17. Willis then hit Phil Patterson with a 13-yard scoring pass with 11:56 remaining to build a 31-17 lead.

Old Dominion gained 48 yards in 6:43 on its first possession, which ended with a field goal. The Monarchs managed only 22 yards the rest of the first half. Quarterback Stone Smartt hit just 4-of-7 passes for 23 yards in the half.

Willis completed 11-of-20 first-half throws for 191 yards. Five of the completions were for 20 or more yards to five different receiver. Three of those big-play completions set up two first-half touchdowns to give Virginia Tech a 17-3 advantage.

Overall, Willis was 16-of-28. Virginia Tech compiled 403 offensive yards total, and ODU had 324.

A year ago, Old Dominion scored 28 fourth-quarter points in a shocking 49-35 upset of the Hokies.

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