BLACKSBURG, Va. — Jerod Evans said that he needed to clean up some things during Virginia Tech’s upcoming off week.
The Hokies’ fan base may be wondering what exactly that is. His play so far has been sparkling.
Evans, the Hokies’ starting quarterback, threw three touchdown passes and rushed for one to lift Virginia Tech over East Carolina 54-17 on Saturday.
The Hokies (3-1) scored on their final five possessions of the first half, including all four of their second-quarter possessions, to overwhelm East Carolina (2-2) and snap a two-game losing streak to the Pirates.
Evans completed 13 of 20 passes for a career-best 282 yards and rushed for a career-best 97 more. He has thrown at least three touchdown passes in three of the Hokies’ first four games and is completing 67 percent of his passes.
“I missed a couple of things here and there,” Evans said. “I have a lot of things that I can get better at for sure.”
Evans entered the game with an ACC-best 10 touchdown passes this season. Of more importance to Virginia Tech coach Justin Fuente, he has thrown just one interception.
“I think he’s pretty good,” Virginia Tech coach Justin Fuente said of Evans. “He’s been judicious with the ball and he’s going to the right place most of the time. He’s been pretty efficient.”
Following a punt return for a touchdown by Greg Stroman and a touchdown run by Marshawn Williams that gave the Hokies a 14-0 lead in the first quarter, Evans threw touchdown passes of 24 yards to Isaiah Ford, 13 yards to Travon McMillian and 55 yards to Cam Phillips. That final score gave the Hokies a 38-0 halftime lead.
ECU quarterback Philip Nelson had 362 yards passing and two touchdown tosses to Jimmy Williams. The Pirates had 443 yards of offense, but committed three special teams mistakes, fumbled once and were sacked six times.
“We studied the film well and they had a lot of keys when they were sliding the protection,” said Ken Ekanem, who had two of the Hokies’ six sacks. “We had a lot of indicators and we knew when someone was going to be left one-on-one. We look forward to one-on-one matchups and pride ourselves on winning those. We did a good job of that today.”
EAST CAROLINA: Coming off a 20-15 loss at South Carolina and playing its third consecutive game against a Power 5 opponent, the Pirates looked a step slow and out of sorts from the opening kick. They went three-and-out on five first-half possessions. The Pirates hope to regroup now that they have finished the non-conference portion of their schedule.
“That was clearly the best football team that we have played,” ECU coach Scottie Montgomery said. “The most physical. The biggest. The fastest. The strongest. The smartest. I thought they competed well in their scheme. They played great emotional football. They leaned on their crowd. They played a complete football game — as complete as it gets.”
VIRGINIA TECH: The Hokies dominated on special teams, scoring four touchdowns as a result of those units. Greg Stroman scored on an 87-yard punt return, and a blocked field goal attempt led to an Evans touchdown pass to Isaiah Ford. Cam Phillips blocked a punt that led to an Evans touchdown pass to Travon McMillian, and a sack of ECU punter Worth Gregory in the fourth quarter led to a 1-yard touchdown run by backup quarterback Brenden Motley.
EAST CAROLINA: The Pirates open AAC play next Saturday with a home game against UCF. ECU blasted the Golden Knights 44-7 last season for their first win in Orlando since 2008.
VIRGINIA TECH: The Hokies are off next week before taking on North Carolina on Oct. 8 and will be looking to avenge last year’s 30-27 overtime loss. The Hokies have won nine of the 12 meetings with the Tar Heels since joining the ACC.