Ben Fields: 'Beamer Ball' rears its ugly head
BLACKSBURG, Va. -- They call it "Beamer Ball."
For years that has been the term applied to the ferocious special teams play associated with Frank Beamer's style of coaching at Virginia Tech.
Truth be told, though, there hasn't been a whole lot of "Beamer Ball: around the Hokies program for a few years.
Until, that is, Saturday afternoon when the Marshall Thundering Herd entered the hostile confines of Lane Stadium.
On Marshall's first possession, Hokies cornerback Kyle Fuller blocked a Tyler Williams punt, which was subsequently scooped up by Tech's Brandon Facyson and taken 11 yards into the end zone for the first touchdown of the game.
It was the first blocked punt the Hokies had pulled off since a 2010 matchup with Boise State.
"(Marshall) gave me a short edge and I was really focused on blocking a punt because it's not as easy as it looks," Fuller said. "We came in wanting to change the game and I feel like we did that."
The Hokies also blocked a Justin Haig field goal attempt in the first overtime that would have won the game for the Herd.
It was Virginia Tech's first blocked field goal since a 2008 contest with Boston College.
"I think we got back to doing some things that we've done for a long time that are part of winning ball games," Beamer said of the special teams play.
Under Beamer, the Hokies have blocked two kicks in a game 23 times.
HERD JOLTS VT EARLY: Virginia Tech's defense had only allowed three offensive touchdowns on the season. Alabama scored twice on special teams and once on defense in its week one 35-10 win over the Hokies.
Marshall gave the Tech defense a shock to the system by scoring three offensive touchdowns in the first half.
Quarterback Rakeem Cato's rushing touchdown in the second quarter was the second the Hokies had given up on the ground this season.
The Hokies defense clamped down. After giving up 205 yards and three scores in the first half, Tech kept Marshall to 156 yards and no points in the second half and three overtimes.
CATO KEEPS CLIMBING: Cato's two touchdown passes put the junior at 61 for his career at Marshall. Cato is tied with Todd Donnan on the Herd all-time list. Michael Payton is number three on the list with 69, and Chad Pennington is number one with 115.
Cato also rushed for his fourth touchdown this season, and had a season-best rush on a 22-yard scamper. His previous long was 15 yards.
CAMO FOR A CAUSE: Virginia Tech wore camo helmets, white jerseys and white pants for Military Appreciation Day. The helmets and jerseys will be auctioned off next week with the proceeds going to the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund.
Ben Fields is a reporter for The Herald-Dispatch. Contact him at 304-526-2759 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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