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Willis' 4 TD throws carry Hokies past Marshall, 41-20

BLACKSBURG, Va. (AP) Ryan Willis had the best half of his career, Virginia Tech set the tone early and the Hokies are going to a bowl for the 26th straight season.

Willis threw touchdown passes to four different receivers before halftime and Virginia Tech extended its nation's-best postseason streak with a 41-20 victory against Marshall on Saturday.

''We came out hot, the defense played great and my receivers made plays for me,'' Willis said after completing 18 of 26 attempts for 312 yards.

And he wasn't the only first-half hero.

Senior Ricky Walker made a strip sack of the Thundering Herd's Isaiah Green on the first play from scrimmage, setting a tone from the outset in the game that was scheduled specifically so the Hokies could try to extend their streak.

Virginia Tech (6-6) paid the Thundering Herd $300,000 to play the game, then put together one of their best efforts of the season.

''That set the tone,'' Walker said of the sack and fumble, which TyJuan Garbutt recovered at the Marshall 17. ''Guys were excited and from there on we just played.''

The opening drive ended with just a field goal, but then Willis took over. He threw scoring passes of 46 yards to Hezekiah Grimsley, 45 yards to Tre Turner, seven yards to Steve Peoples and 32 yards to Eric Kumah as Virginia Tech built a 31-6 halftime lead.

''Certainly getting to the number 26 was a part of this,'' Hokies coach Justin Fuente said of the bowl number, ''but I really felt like it was bigger than that. Those kids in that locker room stood tall, stood strong when other people ran, and things weren't well, and things were tough. They stayed together and continued to battle.''

And Willis, a transfer from Kansas who only became the quarterback when Josh Jackson was injured in the third game of the season, boosted his total to 22 touchdown passes this season.

''He threw the ball extremely well and their receivers made plays,'' Marshall coach Doc Holliday said. ''I hadn't seen that all year out of those guys.''

The Thundering Herd (8-4), which also received future scheduling considerations for agreeing to play the Hokies, turned the ball over on each of its first two drives and each time the Hokies converted. Garbutt's fumble recovery set up the first of two field goals by Brian Johnson, and Bryce Watts' interception in the end zone set up an 80-yard touchdown march.

''It's hard to dig out of that,'' Herd left guard Jordan Dowrey said. ''It's the points they scored but also the points we didn't score because we lost possession. That stuff hurt us big.''

Watts' interception was the Hokies' first since Reggie Floyd had one against Notre Dame on Oct. 6.

Brenden Knox ran for 204 yards and two touchdowns for Marshall, and Green hit Xavier Gaines with a 34-yard TD pass.

Grimsley dropped what would have been a fifth scoring throw in the third quarter, setting up Johnson's second field goal. It was the only scoring in the quarter, where the Hokies had been outscored 77-3 in their previous five third quarters at home, four of them losses.

Virginia Tech's bowl streak is the longest in the nation. Florida State had a string of 36 years in bowl games snapped with its 5-7 finish this year.

THE TAKEAWAY

Marshall: The Thundering Herd got off to a horrible start when Walker's hit on Green knocked the ball loose. Marshall held the Hokies to a field goal, but the start fired up the crowd of 31,336 on a rainy, cold day and gave the home team momentum it never relinquished.

''It's awesome. I'm happy for him,'' defensive coordinator Bud Foster said of Walker. ''That play obviously gets that quarterback thinking about the rush a little bit.''

Green finished 19 for 34 for 220 yards.

Virginia Tech: Good fortune played a role in the Hokies getting to a 12th game. Their tying touchdown last week in their 34-31 overtime victory against Virginia came when they recovered a fumble in the end zone after it went through the hands of a Cavaliers player. They required no such lucky bounces against the Herd.

UP NEXT

Marshall: The Herd is hopeful of landing in a bowl in Florida, an area the program recruits heavily.

Virginia Tech: The Hokies' 26th straight bowl appearance will likely come in the Military Bowl.

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Copyright 2018 by AP. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of AP is strictly prohibited.

Scoring Summary
4th Quarter
No scoring this quarter
Point After TD 1:43
16-J.Rohrwasser extra point is good.
plays
yds
pos
20
41
Touchdown 1:47
20-B.Knox runs 5 yards for a touchdown.
11
plays
65
yds
03:09
pos
19
41
Point After TD 4:56
93-B.Johnson extra point is good.
plays
yds
pos
13
41
Touchdown 5:06
13-J.Holston runs 40 yards for a touchdown.
11
plays
69
yds
04:48
pos
13
40
Point After TD 14:54
16-J.Rohrwasser extra point is good.
plays
yds
pos
13
34
Touchdown 15:00
17-I.Green complete to 11-X.Gaines. 11-X.Gaines runs 34 yards for a touchdown.
7
plays
65
yds
02:22
pos
12
34
3rd Quarter
No scoring this quarter
Field Goal 3:22
93-B.Johnson 32 yards Field Goal is Good.
9
plays
44
yds
03:46
pos
6
34
2nd Quarter
No scoring this quarter
Point After TD 1:12
93-B.Johnson extra point is good.
plays
yds
pos
6
31
Touchdown 1:18
5-R.Willis complete to 83-E.Kumah. 83-E.Kumah runs 32 yards for a touchdown.
4
plays
63
yds
00:55
pos
6
30
Point After TD 4:10
93-B.Johnson extra point is good.
plays
yds
pos
6
24
Touchdown 4:10
5-R.Willis complete to 32-S.Peoples. 32-S.Peoples runs 7 yards for a touchdown.
7
plays
80
yds
02:15
pos
6
23
Point After TD 13:45
93-B.Johnson extra point is good.
plays
yds
pos
6
17
Touchdown 13:54
5-R.Willis complete to 25-T.Turner. 25-T.Turner runs 45 yards for a touchdown.
5
plays
65
yds
00:00
pos
6
16
1st Quarter
No scoring this quarter
Missed Point After Touchdown 0:00
16-J.Rohrwasser extra point is no good.
plays
yds
pos
6
10
Touchdown 0:02
20-B.Knox runs 2 yards for a touchdown.
5
plays
76
yds
02:34
pos
6
10
Point After TD 5:20
93-B.Johnson extra point is good.
plays
yds
pos
0
10
Touchdown 5:27
5-R.Willis complete to 6-H.Grimsley. 6-H.Grimsley runs 46 yards for a touchdown.
9
plays
85
yds
03:28
pos
0
9
Field Goal 13:58
93-B.Johnson 32 yards Field Goal is Good.
3
plays
2
yds
01:02
pos
0
3
Team Stats
1st Downs 19 22
Rushing 7 9
Passing 11 9
Penalty 1 4
3rd Down Conv 4-13 4-13
4th Down Conv 1-3 0-0
Total Net Yards 444 428
Total Plays 69 64
Avg Gain 6.4 6.7
Net Yards Rushing 232 142
Rush Attempts 35 38
Avg Rush Yards 6.6 3.7
Net Yards Passing 212 286
Comp. - Att. 19-34 18-26
Yards Per Pass 6.2 11.0
Sacked - Yards Lost 1-8 3-26
Penalties - Yards 11-67 5-46
Touchdowns 3 5
Rushing TDs 2 1
Passing TDs 1 4
Other 0 0
Turnovers 2 0
Fumbles - Lost 3-1 0-0
Int. Thrown 1 0
Punts - Avg 5-41.8 5-39.4
Return Yards 31 69
Punts - Returns 1--1 2-25
Kickoffs - Returns 2-32 2-44
Int. - Returns 0-0 1-0
Kicking 2/3 7/7
Extra Points 2/3 5/5
Field Goals 0/0 2/2
Safeties 0 0
1234T
Marshall 8-4 6001420
Virginia Tech 6-6 10213741
212 PASS YDS 286
232 RUSH YDS 142
444 TOTAL YDS 428
Passing CP/ATT YDS TD INT
I. Green 17 QB
IN-GAME COMP% YDS TD INT RTG
55.9% 220 1 1 114.1
SEASON COMP% YDS TD INT RTG
55.7% 2238 15 10 127.0
I. Green 19/34 220 1 1
Rushing ATT YDS TD LG
B. Knox 20 RB
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
27 204 2
SEASON ATT YDS TD
83 485 3
B. Knox 27 204 2 67
I. Green 17 QB
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
6 25 0
SEASON ATT YDS TD
40 80 0
I. Green 6 25 0 15
A. Anderson 21 RB
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
2 3 0
SEASON ATT YDS TD
68 267 8
A. Anderson 2 3 0 3
Receiving REC YDS TD LG
A. Levias 15 TE
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
5 69 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
25 327 3
A. Levias 5 69 0 27
X. Gaines 11 TE
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
2 54 1
SEASON REC YDS TD
10 162 1
X. Gaines 2 54 1 34
O. Obialo 7 WR
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
4 37 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
38 473 4
O. Obialo 4 37 0 21
M. Williams 9 WR
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
1 25 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
23 369 1
M. Williams 1 25 0 25
T. Brady 8 WR
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
2 24 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
66 914 9
T. Brady 2 24 0 12
A. Henry 2 WR
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
3 13 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
15 122 2
A. Henry 3 13 0 7
B. Knox 20 RB
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
2 -2 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
6 24 0
B. Knox 2 -2 0 5
Defense T-A SACK INT
C. Hancock 37 LB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
7-4 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
7-4 0 0.0
C. Hancock 7-4 0.0 0
C. Jackson 3 DB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
5-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
5-0 1 0.0
C. Jackson 5-0 0.0 0
M. Gant 29 S
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
5-1 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
5-1 2 0.0
M. Gant 5-1 0.0 0
C. Hames 94 DL
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
5-1 0 2.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
5-1 0 2.0
C. Hames 5-1 2.0 0
T. Tyler 1 DL
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
4-0 0 1.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
4-0 0 1.0
T. Tyler 4-0 1.0 0
O. Cobb 31 LB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
3-6 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
3-6 1 0.0
O. Cobb 3-6 0.0 0
R. Bee 91 DL
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
3-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
3-0 0 0.0
R. Bee 3-0 0.0 0
J. Young 4 DL
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
3-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
3-0 0 0.0
J. Young 3-0 0.0 0
N. Johnson 13 S
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
3-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
3-0 1 0.0
N. Johnson 3-0 0.0 0
B. Drayton 8 S
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
2-1 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
2-1 1 0.0
B. Drayton 2-1 0.0 0
J. Yulee 2 LB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
2-2 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
2-2 0 0.0
J. Yulee 2-2 0.0 0
K. Merrell 5 DB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
2-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
2-0 0 0.0
K. Merrell 2-0 0.0 0
D. Moody 10 LB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
2-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
2-0 1 0.0
D. Moody 2-0 0.0 0
M. Couch 6 DL
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
1-2 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
1-2 0 0.0
M. Couch 1-2 0.0 0
F. Hernandez 35 LB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
0-1 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
0-1 1 0.0
F. Hernandez 0-1 0.0 0
M. Thompson 51 DL
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
0-1 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
0-1 1 0.0
M. Thompson 0-1 0.0 0
D. Hodge 44 DL
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
0-1 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
0-1 0 0.0
D. Hodge 0-1 0.0 0
Kicking FG LG XP PTS
J. Rohrwasser 16 P
IN-GAME FG XP
0/0 2/3
SEASON FG XP
14/20 39/41
J. Rohrwasser 0/0 0 2/3 2
Punting NO AVG IN20 LG
R. LeFevre 43 P
IN-GAME NO AVG IN20
4 44.3 0
SEASON NO AVG IN20
59 40.8 0
R. LeFevre 4 44.3 0 53
I. Green 17 QB
IN-GAME NO AVG IN20
1 32.0 0
SEASON NO AVG IN20
4 26.8 0
I. Green 1 32.0 0 32
Kickoff Returns NO AVG LG TD
K. Davis 24 RB
IN-GAME NO AVG LG TD
2 16.0 19 0
SEASON NO AVG LG TD
12 22.3 19 0
K. Davis 2 16.0 19 0
Punt Returns NO AVG LG TD
M. Williams 9 WR
IN-GAME NO AVG LG TD
1 -1.0 -1 0
SEASON NO AVG LG TD
15 7.3 0 0
M. Williams 1 -1.0 -1 0
Passing CP/ATT YDS TD INT
R. Willis 5 QB
IN-GAME COMP% YDS TD INT RTG
69.2% 312 4 0 220.8
SEASON COMP% YDS TD INT RTG
58% 2497 22 8 137.9
R. Willis 18/26 312 4 0
Rushing ATT YDS TD LG
S. Peoples 32 RB
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
14 78 0
SEASON ATT YDS TD
149 760 5
S. Peoples 14 78 0 12
J. Holston 13 RB
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
4 54 1
SEASON ATT YDS TD
47 241 2
J. Holston 4 54 1 40
D. McClease 33 RB
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
8 10 0
SEASON ATT YDS TD
83 331 2
D. McClease 8 10 0 5
T. Turner 11 WR
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
3 10 0
SEASON ATT YDS TD
7 78 1
T. Turner 3 10 0 4
H. Grimsley 6 WR
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
1 9 0
SEASON ATT YDS TD
12 75 1
H. Grimsley 1 9 0 9
R. Willis 5 QB
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
6 -15 0
SEASON ATT YDS TD
101 321 3
R. Willis 6 -15 0 8
Receiving REC YDS TD LG
T. Turner 11 WR
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
3 99 1
SEASON REC YDS TD
25 495 4
T. Turner 3 99 1 45
H. Grimsley 6 WR
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
2 64 1
SEASON REC YDS TD
30 374 1
H. Grimsley 2 64 1 46
E. Kumah 83 WR
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
4 63 1
SEASON REC YDS TD
39 514 6
E. Kumah 4 63 1 32
D. McClease 33 RB
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
2 57 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
7 87 0
D. McClease 2 57 0 54
D. Keene 29 TE
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
5 20 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
24 322 3
D. Keene 5 20 0 8
S. Peoples 32 RB
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
1 7 1
SEASON REC YDS TD
21 182 1
S. Peoples 1 7 1 7
C. Fox 16 RB
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
1 2 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
2 12 0
C. Fox 1 2 0 2
D. Hazelton 14 WR
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
0 0 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
45 745 8
D. Hazelton 0 0 0 0
P. Patterson 8 WR
IN-GAME REC YDS TD
0 0 0
SEASON REC YDS TD
11 103 1
P. Patterson 0 0 0 0
Defense T-A SACK INT
R. Ashby 23 LB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
12-3 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
12-3 0 0.0
R. Ashby 12-3 0.0 0
D. Deablo 17 DB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
5-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
5-0 0 0.0
D. Deablo 5-0 0.0 0
C. Conner 22 DB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
4-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
4-0 0 0.0
C. Conner 4-0 0.0 0
R. Floyd 21 DB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
4-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
4-0 2 0.0
R. Floyd 4-0 0.0 0
D. Hollifield 4 LB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
4-4 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
4-4 0 0.0
D. Hollifield 4-4 0.0 0
R. Walker 8 DL
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
3-3 0 1.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
3-3 0 1.0
R. Walker 3-3 1.0 0
B. Watts 5 DB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
2-0 1 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
2-0 1 0.0
B. Watts 2-0 0.0 1
K. Ladler 9 DB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
2-1 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
2-1 0 0.0
K. Ladler 2-1 0.0 0
T. Garbutt 45 DL
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
2-2 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
2-2 0 0.0
T. Garbutt 2-2 0.0 0
R. Porcher IV 98 DL
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 0.0
R. Porcher IV 1-0 0.0 0
C. Farley 3 DB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
1-1 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
1-1 2 0.0
C. Farley 1-1 0.0 0
J. Hewitt 55 DL
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 0.0
J. Hewitt 1-0 0.0 0
E. Belmar 40 DL
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 0.0
E. Belmar 1-0 0.0 0
J. Quillen 26 DB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
1-2 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
1-2 0 0.0
J. Quillen 1-2 0.0 0
D. Rivers 44 LB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 0.0
D. Rivers 1-0 0.0 0
V. Mihota 99 DL
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
1-0 1 0.0
V. Mihota 1-0 0.0 0
K. Artis 49 LB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 0.0
K. Artis 1-0 0.0 0
T. Rodgers 18 DB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 0.0
T. Rodgers 1-0 0.0 0
Kicking FG LG XP PTS
B. Johnson 93 K
IN-GAME FG XP
2/2 5/5
SEASON FG XP
11/16 40/40
B. Johnson 2/2 32 5/5 11
Punting NO AVG IN20 LG
O. Bradburn 91 P
IN-GAME NO AVG IN20
5 39.4 4
SEASON NO AVG IN20
65 42.2 4
O. Bradburn 5 39.4 4 52
Kickoff Returns NO AVG LG TD
T. Wheatley 24 RB
IN-GAME NO AVG LG TD
2 22.0 26 0
SEASON NO AVG LG TD
10 24.8 26 0
T. Wheatley 2 22.0 26 0
Punt Returns NO AVG LG TD
D. Hazelton 14 WR
IN-GAME NO AVG LG TD
2 12.5 13 0
SEASON NO AVG LG TD
14 5.4 13 0
D. Hazelton 2 12.5 13 0
1st POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
15:00 VATECH 35 0:00 2 58 Fumble
13:53 VATECH 35 4:53 13 -15 INT
5:20 VATECH 35 0:44 4 -17 Punt
2:36 MRSHL 24 2:34 5 76 TD
2nd POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
13:45 VATECH 35 1:47 7 23 Downs
9:55 MRSHL 28 2:50 5 40 Punt
4:10 VATECH 50 1:57 8 9 Punt
1:12 VATECH 35 0:06 3 -9 Halftime
3rd POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
11:55 MRSHL 4 0:55 4 3 Punt
8:42 MRSHL 7 1:34 4 4 Punt
2:46 VATECH 35 2:22 7 65 TD
4th POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
13:10 MRSHL 15 2:51 8 72 Downs
4:56 VATECH 35 3:09 11 65 TD
1st POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
15:00 MRSHL 17 1:02 3 2 FG
8:55 VATECH 20 3:28 9 80 TD
4:30 VATECH 47 1:21 3 -4 Punt
2nd POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
0:00 MRSHL 35 0:00 5 65 TD
11:16 VATECH 42 0:48 3 8 Punt
6:25 VATECH 20 2:15 7 80 TD
2:13 VATECH 37 0:55 4 63 TD
3rd POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
0:24 MRSHL 35 0:00 7 51 Punt
10:25 MRSHL 43 1:38 4 3 Punt
7:08 VATECH 42 3:46 9 44 FG
4th POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
14:54 MRSHL 35 1:08 6 14 Fumble
9:54 VATECH 16 4:48 11 84 TD
1:43 MRSHL 35 0:38 4 -7