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Blacksburg, Va. (hokiesports.com) -- Virginia Tech quarterback Brenden Motley threw three touchdown passes to Isaiah Ford, and the Hokies rushed for 200 yards, as they notched a much-needed 28-13 victory over ACC foe NC State on Friday night.
The win moved Tech to 3-3 overall, 1-1 in ACC play. The Hokies avoided starting 0-2 in conference play for the first time since joining the league. NC State fell to 4-2 overall, 0-2 in the ACC.
The Hokies also beat the Wolfpack for the fourth straight time.
“It’s super big,” Tech coach Frank Beamer said of the win. “To get back in the conference race … and I think we’re in it, but we had to get a conference win to stay in it. We’ll see what happens. We’ll see what happens with Pittsburgh and so forth. Yeah, this was critical. We as a football team – players and coaches – talked about it. Some games are just bigger than others, and this one was absolutely big and critical.”
For the second straight game, Tech found itself behind 10-0 in the first half. NC State got on the board on its opening drive, getting a 33-yard field goal by Kyle Bambard and an 8-yard scoring pass from quarterback Jacoby Brissett to Jumichael Ramos.
But Tech’s defense responded after that, holding the Wolfpack to just a field goal the rest of the game. In fact, the Wolfpack amassed just 125 yards in the final three quarters and finished with just 270 yards for the game.
The Hokies’ defense also held NC State quarterback Jacoby Brissett in check. Brissett threw for just 113 yards and his streak of passes without an interception ended at 241 when Adonis Alexander intercepted him in the fourth quarter.
Tech’s offense exploded in the second quarter, scoring on three straight possessions – all ending on touchdown passes from Motley to Ford. Motley’s 27-yard touchdown pass to Ford with 10:41 left in the first half cut the NC State lead to 10-7 and then his 5-yard touchdown pass to Ford with 5:54 left in the first half gave Tech a lead it would not relinquish.
A 2-yard touchdown pass to Ford with 18 seconds left gave the Hokies a 21-10 lead at halftime. Ford became the first Tech receiver since Ernest Wilford in 2002 (Syracuse) to catch at least three touchdown passes in a game. Wilford caught four in the Hokies’ triple overtime loss to the Orangemen.
NC State added a field goal in the third quarter, but the Hokies put the game way midway through the fourth quarter. Leading 21-13 and taking over at their own 12, they drove to their own 41 before Motley handed the ball off to Travon McMillian on a second-down play. McMillian broke down the left sideline, hurdled a tackler and went 59 yards for a touchdown that gave Tech a 28-13 lead with 6:54 left in the game.
NC State tried to respond, driving to the Tech 32. But on fourth down, quarterback Jacoby Brissett’s pass in the end zone was broke up by the Hokies’ Brandon Facyson, and Tech took over on downs, essentially sealing the game.
Tech finished with 358 yards of offense. Motley completed 14 of 28 for 158 yards, with the three touchdown passes to Ford and no interceptions. McMillian set career highs in yards (96) and carries (11).