BLACKSBURG, VA- William and Mary fell at Virginia Tech, 34-9, in both teams’ season opener on Saturday afternoon. W&M (0-1) was within striking distance late in the third quarter and trailed 20-9, but the Hokies (1-0) pulled away with a pair of touchdowns down the stretch.
Junior running back Mikal Abdul-Saboor led W&M offensively and piled up 85 rushing yards on just 10 carries, while senior wide receiver Tre McBride totaled four catches for 62 yards.
Defensively, sophomore Marcus Harvey totaled a career-high 11 tackles with a forced fumble and a TFL, while senior linebacker Airek Green posted seven stops with an interception and a fumble recovery. Junior linebacker Luke Rhodes and junior cornerback DeAndre Houston-Carson posted 11 and 10 tackles, respectively.
The Tribe answered with a 36-yard field goal by senior placekicker John Carpenter on the ensuring drive. The seven-play, 55-yard scoring drive was highlighted by a career-long 40-yard run by Abdul-Saboor on the drive’s initial play.
W&M narrowed the margin to 7-6 with a 29-yard field goal by Carpenter early in the second quarter. The drive started after Green intercepted Brewer near midfield on a pass deflected by sophomore defensive lineman Chris Donald and was keyed by a 44-yard catch by McBride.
An 8-yard touchdown pass from Brewer to tight end Bucky Hodges with 5:40 remaining in the second quarter extended the Hokies’ lead to 14-6. The score was set up when linebacker Chase Williams sacked sophomore quarterback Steve Cluley near midfield and forced a fumble that was scooped up by linebacker Derek Di Nardo and returned 45-yards to W&M’s 2-yard line. Virginia Tech added a 20-yard field goal by Joey Slye with just 0:38 left in the opening half to push the margin to 17-6.
Carpenter’s third field goal of the afternoon, from 44 yards with 4:18 remaining in the third quarter, cut the margin to 20-9. The scoring drive covered just 11 yards, as W&M took over at Virginia Tech’s 39-yard line after Harvey forced a fumble by VT running back J.C. Coleman that was recovered by Green.
The Hokies held W&M scoreless during the remainder of the contest, however, as it pulled away with touchdown runs by Shai McKenzie (39 yards) and Coleman (2 yards) to secure the victory.
Virginia Tech outgained W&M, 488-193, and held the Tribe to just 1-for-12 on third downs. Brewer finished the contest 23-of-30 for 251 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. McKenzie led VT’s ground attack and recorded 106 yards on nine carries with a touchdown.