BLACKSBURG, Va. (AP) Trey Edmunds ran for two touchdowns and Detrick Bonner returned one of his two interceptions for a score as Virginia Tech rebounded from a season-opening loss to top-ranked Alabama by beating Western Carolina 45-3 Saturday.
The Hokies (1-1) got off to a sluggish start against the FCS Catamounts (0-2), now losers of 12 straight overall and 28 in a row against FBS competition. Bonner's 37-yard return off a deflection by teammate Kendall Fuller gave the Hokies a 7-0 lead in an otherwise lackluster first period.
But Hokies quarterback Logan Thomas, who was only 5 of 26 last week, finally hit his stride in the second quarter, leading touchdown drives of 87 and 69 yards. The first drive ended with the first of Edmunds' 1-yard touchdowns, the second with a 19-yard pass to D.J. Coles in the back of the end zone.
Thomas finished 17 of 31 for 200 yards, but it wasn't all smooth for the fifth-year senior. He had two passes intercepted in the end zone, the second one killing a threat just before halftime after Bonner's second pick and 35-yard yard return.
Catamounts quarterback Eddie Sullivan struggled against a fierce Hokies pass rush, throwing more interceptions (three) than completions (two) in the first half.
With the passing game doing more harm than good, Western Carolina went conservative after falling behind 21-0 at halftime. After Kyshoen Jarrett muffed a fair catch at the Hokies' 11, the Catamounts ran three times for minus-1 yard before settling for Richard Sigmon's 28-yard field goal.
Jarrett's blunder, which came when the ball glanced off his foot, was the lone blemish for Virginia Tech special teams that struggled in last week's 35-10 loss, giving up a punt return and kickoff return for touchdowns. This time the Hokies gave up little in the return game and downed two punts inside the Catamounts' 5.
Virginia Tech's receivers also caught the ball better than last week, when a bevy of drops contributed to Thomas' woes.
Edmunds finished with 68 yards on 15 carries, and redshirt freshman Chris Mangus had a 76-yard touchdown run in the third quarter to make it 28-0.
Joel Caleb, another redshirt freshman, ran 13 yards for the final touchdown.
Sullivan, who attempted only three passes in the second half despite the big deficit, finished 4-of-14 for 51 yards.
Virginia Tech finished with 462 total yards to Western Carolina's 162.