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Saturday, November 21, 2009

Turnovers, running game dooms N.C. State against the Hokies

Posted by on Sat, Nov 21, 2009 at 7:39 PM

TV/ESPNU — Prolific Hokie freshman running back Ryan Williams ran wild Saturday, scoring four touchdowns as No. 15 Virginia Tech defeated N.C. State comfortably, 38-10.

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Early turnovers, an inability to run the ball or stop the run plagued the Wolfpack (4-7, 1-6 ACC) all day. N.C. State's depleted team, now missing 12 players to season-ending injuries, couldn't hold onto the ball long enough to have a chance at Lane Stadium. Williams churned for 120 yards along with his four scores for Virginia Tech (8-3, 5-2 ACC).

Quarterback Russell Wilson (pictured) was sacked and fumbled on the team's first offensive play, giving the Hokies the ball on the N.C. State 34-yard-line. Virginia Tech could only muster a field goal, but they soon got a second chance when wide receiver Darrell Davis fumbled along the sideline on the Wolfpack's next drive. Virginia Tech's Cody Grimm caused both turnovers, recovering the first one himself. Stephan Virgil fell on Davis's loose change at the N.C. State 25.

This time Ryan Williams crossed the plane from four yards out, spotting his team a 10-0 lead with 7:55 to go in the 1st quarter that N.C. State never surmounted. They did answer with a 20-yard touchdown strike to Owen Spencer on the next possession on a nice pump and post, bringing the game to 10-7 in the first quarter. That was the closest they came, though.

N.C. State was outgained 200-14 on the ground and couldn't overcome three lost fumbles and an interception. Tom O'Brien's club will have to lick its wounds on the trip home, but the Wolfpack won't have any trouble getting up for next week's rivalry contest against UNC on Thanksgiving weekend.

Despite today's result, this is an N.C. State team that's far more talented than the record shows. Injuries and inexperience have forced a near constant reshuffling of the starting lineup. They are a tough out when able to hold onto the ball and stop the run, as they did early in the year, jumping to a 3-1 start including a win against Pitt, now a top 10 team. 

Now they don't have a bowl or even a winning record to play for, but you can bet that they'll be fired up at Carter-Finley Stadium on Saturday.

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