“I feel like my entire time here, all those breaks have gone the other team’s way,” Jack Tyler said after Virginia Tech escaped with a dramatic 29-21 win over Marshall in triple overtime. “It just felt like today they were finally coming our way. It’s nice to finally get a game like that.”
Hokies cornerback Kyle Fuller blocked a Marshall punt two minutes into the first quarter, and Virginia Tech jumped out to a 7-0 lead when linebacker Derek DiNardo returned it for a touchdown.
“It’s good to get back to doing some things that we’ve done for a long time that win ballgames,” said Hokies Coach Frank Beamer, whose once-vaunted special teams have come under scrutiny this season.
Virginia Tech’s defense held Marshall (2-2) scoreless in the second half and all three overtimes, recovering after quarterback Rakeem Cato (19 for 41 for 228 yards and three total touchdowns) led his team on three straight touchdown drives before halftime.
Thomas, meanwhile, continued to be erratic throwing the football, although he did run for 58 yards and account for three touchdowns. At one point, Thomas (18 for 34 for 181 yards) had nine straight incompletions, including two interceptions. The Hokies converted just 2 of 16 third-down opportunities for the game.
However, some good karma came Thomas’s way following a 43-yard run by tailback Trey Edmunds (110 yards on 22 carries), when Willie Byrn caught a six-yard touchdown that was nearly intercepted, tying the game at 21-21.
Marshall had a chance to win it in regulation when Cato hit Devon Smith for 43 yards on third-and-13 from his 19 to the Hokies' 34. But when Smith got behind the defense again, and Cato hit him in stride, safety Kyshoen Jarrett met him at the ball and intercepted it, preserving the tie.
After losing eight yards, backup place kicker Ethan Keyserling missed a 50-yard field goal for the Hokies. Justin Haig had a chance to win it for Thundering Herd in the first overtime, but his 39-yard attempt was blocked by defensive tackle Derrick Hopkins, forcing the second overtime.
On third and 13, defensive end J.R. Collins sacked Cato and stripped him of the ball. Hopkins — all 311 pounds of him — almost takes the recovery to the end zone but is dragged down after 40 yards. The Hokies played it safe for the field goal, but Keyserling missed wide right from 32 yards.
After a pass interference call in the endzone, Logan Thomas scored from two yards out and also ran for the two-point conversion. When Marshall faced fourth and nine from the 14, Davonte Allen let Cato’s pass slip through his fingers in the end zone, sealing the Hokies’ victory.
To note: The Hokies were again woeful kicking, with Cody Journell not dressing after he missed four kicks last week.