Marcus Vick leads VT to victory in his first start.

Sept. 4, 2005

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - Marcus Vick threw for one touchdown and made several key second-half runs in his first collegiate start Sunday, leading No. 8 Virginia Tech to a 20-16 victory over North Carolina State.

The Hokies avenged their only Atlantic Coast Conference loss, and handed the Wolfpack another disappointing result against a top-10 team.

Mike Imoh added a 5-yard first-quarter touchdown run for the Hokies.

Jay Davis threw for 311 yards for the Wolfpack, which had won eight straight openers. The loss drops N.C. State to 1-7 against top-10 teams under sixth-year coach Chuck Amato.

The Hokies came in looking to avenge last season's 17-16 home loss to the Wolfpack, their only league setback in their inaugural ACC campaign. In that game, N.C. State had 10 sacks and held Virginia Tech to 36 yards on the ground, but got out of Blacksburg with the win after a missed 43-yard field goal from Brandon Pace.

This time, Pace connected on two field goals. And the offense - outgained 438-232 in total yards - kept plugging away at the stout N.C. State defense, which led Division I-A teams in fewest yards allowed in 2004.

Vick, a junior who was suspended last season for a variety of legal issues, made his biggest impact in the second half. With his brother, Atlanta Falcons quarterback and former Hokies star Michael Vick, watching from the sideline, Vick completed 10 of 21 passes for 108 yards and ran for 31 more.

The stats weren't impressive, but Vick avoided any momentum-killing mistakes. The same couldn't be said of the Wolfpack.

N.C. State, which ranked next to last in the ACC in penalty yards last year, committed 12 penalties for 105 yards - including a 5-yard infraction for running into Pace on a missed 46-yard field goal that gave the Hokies a first down with about two minutes left.

That allowed the Hokies to run more time off the clock. And once N.C. State burned its timeouts trying to stop the clock, the Wolfpack were left with virtually no time remaining for a game-winning drive. N.C. State, starting from its own 20, got to midfield before Aaron Rouse intercepted a heave from Davis at the 6 as time expired.

With his team trailing 13-10, Vick made two big plays on the Hokies' first drive of the third quarter - including a dazzling run in which he sidestepped two defenders in a collapsing pocket and broke free for a 24-yard gain on third down. That set up Pace's tying 28-yard field goal with 2:19 left.

Then, after the Hokies got a 19-yard punt return from Eddie Royal to give the Hokies the ball at the 20, Vick scrambled left and connected with David Clowney for a 19-yard touchdown and a 20-13 lead early in the fourth.

Finally, with his team protecting a four-point lead, Vick had a 17-yard gain on a scramble and a 1-yard keeper on fourth down to move the chains with about 3 1/2 minutes to play.