Although things turned out well for him, East Carolina's T.J. Lee struggled much of the game before his punt block gave the Pirates a 27-22 victory Saturday.
Lee, a receiver when he's not on special teams, made a few mistakes that drew the ire of coach Skip Holtz. And Holtz let him know it.
“I'd been riding him hard,” Holtz said. “But now I'm going to have to apologize to him.”
Lee was fine with the criticism, though.
“Coach just wants me to work hard,” he said.
Virginia Tech freshman offensive tackle Blake DeChristopher bruised his leg on the game's first possession and didn't return.
“That quarterback puts them on another level.”
“It's awesome to come back home and make a play to help change the game.”
“I thought the snap was a little bit soft. And the kick was a little bit slow.”
“It was like a greased pig.”
Saturday's game was an announced sellout, with 72,169 tickets sold. Not everybody used those tickets, however. There were empty seats scattered around the stadium. Didn't matter, though. It was a terrific atmosphere on a perfect afternoon for football. It was the largest regular-season crowd for a college football game in stadium history.
East Carolina quarterback Patrick Pinkney caught the attention of Beamer, who said Pinkney will lead the Pirates to several more victories this season. Pinkney has tremendous presence in the pocket, and he's also a threat to run.
If anyone thinks this was a fluke win because of the blocked punt, don't. East Carolina outgained Virginia Tech 369-243 in total offense.
The Pirates didn't seem to miss running back Chris Johnson, a first-round NFL draft pick of the Tennessee Titans. In fact, guys like Brandon Simmons (55 yards on 17 carries) and Jonathan Williams (48 yards on nine carries) are an ideal complement to Pinkney's arm.
Except for a 62-yard pass from Sean Glennon to Dyrell Roberts, Virginia Tech's offense lacked spark. That might be a problem for the Hokies as they try to defend their ACC title. Two of last season's most exciting offensive players – running back Branden Ore (thrown off the team and transferred) and quarterback Tyrod Taylor (red-shirted) aren't around.