Appalachian State found out the hard way that this isn’t 2007 and that Lane Stadium isn’t the Big House in Michigan.
Bidding for the upset victory, the Mountaineers (0-1) fell behind 38-0 to No. 13 Virginia Tech (1-0) in the first half and the Hokies never looked back, cruising to a 66-13 win in Blacksburg on Saturday.
“It was just an awful afternoon,” said ASU coach Jerry Moore. “From the first series, a fumble on the second snap of the game. On their first play, they score. It was just an avalanche from there. It snowballed and just got worse and worse.”
Running back David Wilson led the Hokies with 162 yards on 16 carries and three touchdowns. Redshirt sophomore quarterback Logan Thomas, who started his first career game, completed 9-of-19 passes for 149 yards and two touchdowns.
“I thought Logan was good for this first complete game,” said Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer. “We dropped a couple of balls, so Logan’s game could have been even better. Overall, I think Logan will get better each and every quarter, each and every game, for sure, the more he can play.”
After losing to Div. I FCS team James Madison 21-16 at home last season, Beamer admitted that he was fearful in facing Appalachian State.
“This team, Appalachian State, concerned me coming in here with the threat of their quarter,” Beamer said. “you look at them out there and they’re a good looking football team. I give credit to our team. I think we were well-prepared and we really played well.”
Beamer was honored before the game by Virginia Tech president Charles Steger for his 25th year of coaching. Ironically, both Beamer and Moore have spent over 20 years with their current teams, including similar winning records.
Beamer is 199-95-2 as Hokies coach, and Moore’s record as Appalachian coach is 199-80 in 23 seasons.
When the festivities ended and game started, Virginia Tech used its offense and defense to make an immediate impact in the game.
Two plays into the game, quarterback DeAndre Presley rushes for no gain, but coughs up the football, giving the Hokies the ball at the ASU 20. It took one play and six seconds for Virginia Tech to to up 7-0, when
Wilson broke free for a 20-yard touchdown.
“I think No. 4 (Wilson) is legitimate player,” Moore said. “A lot of people will miss tackle on him. Today was our first outing in the 3-4 defense. You get a look at it that against real people and real competition. You’re obviously going to find flaws in it that you thought you were able to hold up in that you can’t. We’ve got to change that.”
Appalachian’s offense struggled all day long. In eight first half possessions, the Mountaineers fumbled once, threw an interception, punted six times and scored no points.
The Hokies capitalized on six of those eight possessions, including three touchdown runs by Wilson of 20, 19 and three yards, leading to a 38-0 halftime lead for Virginia Tech.
“There was no consistency at all offensively,” Moore said. “Our defense gave up so many big plays, possession after possession. We thought everything was in pretty good shape. Then, every third down play, we just couldn’t hold up.”
After two early scores in the third quarter in a span of 50 seconds — one on a four-yard pass from Thomas to receiver Jarrett Boykin and a fumble recovery by Kyle Fuller — Appalachian put a scoring drive together, which was led by wide receiver Brain Quick.
Following an incomplete on first down, quarterback Jamal Jackson delivered a pass to Quick down the center of the field. Dodging two Hokie defenders while maintaining his balance, Quick galloped into the end zone to complete a 46-yard pass play and end the shutout.
Following a 22-yard Virginia Tech score from back-up quarter Mark Leal to receiver Marcus Davis, Jackson helped the Mountaineers add a second score, but this time with his feet. He ran 15 yards to cap a seven-play, 80-yard drive in 1:46, but those were the final Mountaineer points
“I’m disappointed that we didn’t play any better than we played,” Moore said. “I told our players that we wasted four hours today if we didn’t learn anything from it. If we learn from it, we can be a good football team because we’ve got some good players.”
The Mountaineer defeat marks the first season-opening loss since 2009, when the Mountaineers lost the East Carolina in Greenville. The Pirates (0-1), who lost to South Carolina 56-37 at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, face the Hokies next week at home.
Appalachian hosts three straight home games, including next week against North Carolina A&T. The Aggies defeated Lynchburg (Va.) on Saturday, 38-7. The game between the Mountaineers and Aggies is schedule to kick off at 3:30 p.m. in Boone.