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BLACKSBURG (hokiesports.com) – Coming off a short week and playing a quarterback who came into the season as the backup left Virginia Tech fans feeling that disaster loomed on the horizon.
But Brenden Motley took away those doubts.
Making his first collegiate start, Motley threw two touchdown passes and rushed for a touchdown to lead the Hokies past Furman 42-3 on Saturday afternoon.
With the win, Tech moved to 1-1 on the season. Furman fell to 0-2.
Motley started in place of injured Michael Brewer, who broke his collarbone in the Hokies’ Monday night loss to No. 1 Ohio State. Brewer underwent surgery on Tuesday and is expected to miss the next 4-6 weeks, perhaps longer.
Enter Motley, a redshirt junior who played his high school ball at nearby Christiansburg High School. He completed 16 of 24 passes for 233 yards, and he also rushed for 38 yards on four carries.
Mostly behind Motley, Virginia Tech (1-1) finished with 583 yards of total offense, the Hokies’ most in a game since 2010 and their most under offensive coordinator Scot Loeffler, who took over in 2013. Virginia Tech had a balanced attack, running for 299 yards and throwing for 284.
Much of that came in the second half. The Hokies had 371 yards in the final 30 minutes, including 200 on the ground.
“I did feel more comfortable in the second half,” Motley said. “You start seeing your reads better. You start seeing opportunities, and when your opportunities are there, you have to make a play. I did feel good about doing that.”
“He never flinched,” Tech coach Frank Beamer said. “He was very much in control. Made some nice throws, and we made some nice catches. His play gives us a lot of hope.”
Tech led 14-0 and broke open the game with three third-quarter touchdowns. He threw 1-yard and 32-yard touchdown passes to Isaiah Ford sandwiched around a 1-yard touchdown run by Trey Edmunds – his first touchdown run since November of 2013.
Those touchdowns gave the Hokies a 35-3 advantage going to the fourth quarter. Tech’s final score came on a 4-yard run by freshman Dwayne Lawson, arguably the Hokies’ top recruit in the 2015 class.
“I think we did things a lot better,” Beamer said. “I think you had to be impressed with some of our runs, some of our throws, defensively and the turnovers. We kind of got back to good Virginia Tech football there, and I liked that part of it. We’ve got work to do, but I think we made progress.”
Andrew Motuapuaka’s interception return for a touchdown – his second career touchdown – headlined a Tech defense that forced three turnovers and held Furman to 254 yards.
Travon McMillian paced the Hokies’ rushing attack with 98 yards on six carries, while Lawson finished with 51 on nine carries. Cam Phillips and Ford each caught five passes for 86 and 77 yards, respectively.
Tech hits the road for its next game, traveling to West Lafayette, Indiana, for a non-conference game against Purdue. Kickoff is slated for 3:30 p.m.