Virginia Tech's offense doesn't have to take a back seat to its top-ranked defense any more, not with Michael Vick running the show.
Vick threw four touchdown passes and ran for another in a record-setting performance and No. 5 Virginia Tech scored TDs on seven of its eight first-half possessions in defeating winless Rutgers 58-20 on Saturday night.
"He's good enough right now to be in the Heisman Trophy race," said Virginia Tech lineman Corey Moore, the Big East Conference's defensive player of the year in 1998. "In my opinion he'll be a Heisman Trophy winner in the next year or two."
Against Rutgers (0-5, 0-2), Vick set a conference record for accuracy in a game, completing 11 of 12 passes for 248 yards. He also rushed for a team-high 68 yards, giving him 316 of Virginia Tech's 511 total yards. He also only played one half.
"Mike is going to be one of the great ones," Hokies offensive tackle Anthony Lambo said. "He's a redshirt freshman and he still has a lot to learn, and he's going to get bigger, stronger and faster, if that's possible."
This marks the second time in three years Rutgers has opened the season with five straight losses under coach Terry Shea.
"Losing can be a cancer," Rutgers nose tackle Thomas Petko said. "As a team you can be numb to that. I was on this team two years ago (0-11) and we had that cancer. Being in the locker room, we don't have that cancer. This team wants to win."
The 58 points were the most given up at Rutgers Stadium by the Scarlet Knights since the last time the Hokies were here, winning 59-19 in 1997.
Despite the lopsided score, the game was tied 14-14 after the first quarter before Virgnia Tech scored 35 unanswered points in the second quarter to take command.
Vick threw a 74-yard scoring pass to a wide-open Andre Davis on the opening play from scrimmage. Vick also hit Davis on a 13-yard TD to ignite the big second quarter that featured TD passes of 36 and 5 yards to Ricky Hall, a 2-yard TD run by Shyrone Stith and Vick's own 22-yard TD run.
"After we scored our third touchdown, I just said these guys can't stop us," said Vick, whose four touchdown passes in a half set a school record. The total matched Virginia Tech's record for a game, set previously by Don Strock and Maurice DeShazo. "After that, I just told everyone to turn it up and that's what we did and took the game over."
Ironically, the accuracy record that Vick broke was set by Rutgers' Ray Lucas (10 of 11) in 1993.
Virginia Tech gained 420 of its 511 yards in total offense in the first half, averaging 10.2 yards.
The only time the Hokies were stopped in the first half came when Davis fumbled at the Rutgers 27 following a 38-yard reception.
After Vick's bomb to a streaking Davis on the opening play, Rutgers came right back and tied the score on a 12-yard run by quarterback Mike McMahon. He sprained right shoulder diving into the end zone but he didn't leave the game until late in the second quarter It is not known how long he will be sidelined.
Jarrett Ferguson put the Hokies back in front with a 20-yard touchdown run before McMahon tied the score again with a 36-yard touchdown pass to a wide-open L.J. Smith.
The 14-14 tie marked the first time this season Virginia Tech had not led after the first quarter. That seemed to annoy the Hokies and they unloaded on Rutgers in the second quarter for a 49-14 lead.
Vick didn't leave the bench in the second half.
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