Virginia Tech running back Marshawn Williams is keeping positive when talking about his return to the football field. If all goes according to plan, he thinks he will have a good shot at playing in Virginia Tech’s season opener against defending national champion Ohio State in a primetime Labor Day game.
“My knee is fine,” Williams said for a featured update on Virgina Tech’s athletics website. “I’m getting better, getting stronger. I’m able to run almost full speed. I would say I’m 80, 85 percent in my mind. I don’t know what they’d [the sports medicine staff] say. But I should be ready, hopefully.”
Williams saw his 2014 season brought to a quick end when he tore his ACL last November. It used to be an injury that could keep a running back out for a full year, but Williams thinks he may be on track to return after just about nine months. It is amazing how far the technology and advanced medical treatment has come, but Williams knows there is some hard work ahead of still.
“I’m doing everything – speed package [a series of conditioning drills], 110s [110-yard sprints],” he said. “I’m doing everything trying to get ready.”
As a freshman, Wiliams finished the 2014 season as Virginia Tech’s second-leading rusher behind J.C. Coleman. Williams was the leading rusher for the Hokies at the time of his injury. Williams rushed for 475 yards and four touchdowns, averaging 3.83 yards per rushing attempt.
“I have no pain, honestly. Nothing major. With this surgery, you have your ups and your downs, but my downs are not as bad as they used to be. It’s getting better.”
That has to be good news for Virginia Tech fans to read.
Virginia Tech may have given up more offensive yards, but a familiar formula built on the strength of big defensive plays helped the Hokies pull away from Cincinnati for a 33-17 victory in the Military Bowl Presented by Northrop Grumman in Annapolis, Maryland on Saturday afternoon. The victory marked the 10th postseason bowl victory for Virginia Tech head coach Frank Beamer, who coached the game from the coaches box.
Beamer is the 10th coach in college football history to win 10 bowl games. The only other active coach with 10+ bowl wins is Steve Spurrier of South Carolina. Beamer is now two wins out of fifth place for most all-time bowl victories, an honor shared by Lou Holtz and Tom Osborne (12 wins each).
Virginia Tech forced three turnovers, including a pair of interceptions and one fumble that was returned for a pivotal touchdown. The defense was chewed up at times, but the Hokies buckled down when needed with big plays to keep control of the game. On offense, J.C. Coleman carried the bulk of the offense with 157 rushing yards and a touchdown.
Cincinnati may have lost a chance to win against Virginia Tech when quarterback Gunner Kiel was knocked out of the game. As Kiel was taken down by Virginia Tech’s Deon Clarke. Kiel hit his head on the play, which left him on the sideline for the remainder of the game. Without Munchie Legaux in uniform, Cincinnati turned to Michael Colosimo, who took a little time to settle in as the quarterback. Cincinnati scored just one touchdown since Colosimo’s entrance to the game in the third quarter. With Virginia Tech continuing to add points, that ruled out much shot of a comeback for a bowl victory.
The 2014 season was not a terrific one for the Hokies. Virginia Tech was a .500 team with a number of offensive issues from start to finish, although the Hokies scored a huge win on the road against Ohio State early in the year. The season looked promising after that win in Columbus, but things turned south quickly with a home loss to East Carolina and an up-and-down run through ACC play. The future of Virginia Tech should be interesting, with Beamer coming off throat surgery and Bud Foster locked into a coaching extension. The Hokies are still in need of offense in 2015, because the defense will continue to be as reliable as any.
For Cincinnati, the Bearcats are still likely to be in a favorable position to remain among the top programs in the Group of Five conversation. Co-champions of the American Athletic Conference this season, Tommy Tuberville has some good things happening with the program. This is certainly not the way Tuberville wanted this season to end, but it helps to demonstrate just how far the program has to go. Cincinnati lost three straight games to Ohio State, Memphis and the Miami Hurricanes early in the season, but went on to win seven straight games heading into the Military Bowl match-up with Virginia Tech. Cincinnati did some good things against Virginia Tech but was unable to finish the job too often with empty possessions.
Virginia Tech head coach Frank Beamer is coaching the Hokies from the coaches box above the sidelines in the Military Bowl. After one half of play, he has seen some things he should like, and others he should not. Virginia Tech took a 13-10 lead into halftime following a 49-yard field goal by Joey Slye as the clock in the first half expired.
Cincinnati has more than double the offensive yards (308 to Virginia Tech’s 148), but a pair of interceptions by the Hokies defense kept things even on the scoreboard. Cincinnati and Virginia Tech were tied at 7-7 after the first quarter. Penalties hurt Cincinnati at times as well.
Gunner Kiel tossed a 31-yard touchdown pass to Chris Moore in the first quarter to give Cincinnati a 7-0 lead, capping a seven-play, 89-yard drive. The lead short-lived though, because the Hokies responded with a quick six-play, 64-yard touchdown drive. J.C. Colemann pushed the ball across the goal line to tie things up just about two minutes later.
Kiel has thrown for 234 yards and a touchdown, but he has been picked off twice. Chuck Clark and Kendall Fuller each have one interception for the Hokies. His Virginia Tech counterpart, Michael Brewer, has thrown for 75 yards and has been intercepted once. Brewer also caught a pass from Hokies receiver Isaiah Ford for a gain of 30 yards. For a while, Brewer was the team’s leading receiver and Ford was the leading passer for Virginia Tech.
Cincinnati battled to tie the game at 10-10 in the final minute of the half, but the ensuing kickoff was returned by Der’Woun Greene to around midfield, which allowed Virginian Tech a few plays to set up a last-second field goal. It was the second field goal from beyond 40 yards for Slye in the first half. He hit a 45-yard field goal early in the second quarter.
In what has been one of the ugliest games of the early Saturday afternoon slate, Virgina Tech and Wake Forest are locked in quite a defensive battle. Or rather, neither offense has looked particularly good in this ACC bout. At the half, we are still awaiting the first points of the game.
At the half, the Hokes and Demon Deacons have combined to convert three out of 15 third down conversions for first downs. Virginia Tech has put together 132 yards of offense, while Wake Forest has mustered just 79 yards. Virginia Tech quarterback Michael Brewer has completed 12 of 17 passes for 99 yards, and the running game has struggled with a lack of depth this week. J.C. Coleman leads the team with seven rushes for 20 yards.
Wake Forest had a chance to put a dent on the scoreboard, but Mike Weaver‘s 42-yard field goal attempt was no good.
Wake Forest has been ineligible for postseason play for a few weeks now, but Virginia Tech’s postseason fate is still on the line coming down the stretch this season. The Hokies are one win shy of clinching bowl eligibility with today’s game and next week’s regular-season finale against Virginia left to play.
An injury-riddled season has come to an unfortunate end for Virginia Tech running back Marshawn Williams. The talented freshman running back torn his left ACL in a win against Duke on Saturday. The injury will bring a premature ending to his freshman season and is expected to keep him out of spring practices. Virginia Tech trainer Mike Goforth made the announcement on Tuesday.
According to a release from the Virginia Tech athletics department, team doctors will wait for swelling to go down in Williams’ left knee before moving forward with any operations in the coming weeks. Williams played in nine games this season and started eight of those games. Despite spraining his ankle in an early-October game against North Carolina to held him back for a brief period of time, Williams is Virginia Tech’s leading rusher with 475 yards this season. He has scored four touchdowns as well.
Virginia Tech has not had much luck with running backs this season. Shai McKenzie tore his right ACL in September to end his season as it was just getting started. Trey Edmunds has not returned to the field after breaking his clavicle in October as well.
Virginia Tech takes on Wake Forest this weekend in ACC play. The Hokies currently have J.C. Coleman listed as a starter at tailback on the team’s most recent depth chart. Jerome Wright and Joel Caleb are listed as back-ups. Coleman is third on the team this fall with 160 rushing yards and two touchdowns. Caleb and Wright have combined for an additional 108 rushing yards.
If believing in gods is your thing, send a prayer to the Angry Running Back Hating God that is looking over Virginai Tech this week.