BLACKSBURG, Va. (AP) — East Carolina quarterback Shane Carden threw three touchdown passes and scored a rushing touchdown with 16 seconds left to lead the Pirates to a 28-21 upset of No. 17 Virginia Tech on Saturday.
Carden completed 23 of 47 passes for 427 yards in carrying the Pirates to their first victory over a ranked team since 2009 when they beat then-No. 18 Houston 38-32 in Greenville, North Carolina.
East Carolina (2-1) snapped a five-game losing streak to ranked opponents.
Virginia Tech (2-1), coming off a road win over then-No. 8 Ohio State, tied the game on an 18-yard touchdown pass from Michael Brewer to Cam Phillips with 1:20 left.
But the Pirates needed just three plays to go 65 yards and scored the winner on a 1-yard run by Carden
Brewer completed 30 of 56 passes for 298 yards, with three touchdowns and two interceptions for the Hokies.
After the Hokies tied the game at 21, the Pirates answered, going 65 yards in just three plays. Carden threw passes of 31 and 28 yards to Cam Worthy, and then he scored on a 1-yard run to lift the Pirates to the win. Worthy finished with six catches for 224 yards for the Pirates.
Carden threw touchdown passes on the Pirates’ first two possessions and three of their first four.
ECU wasted little time in getting on the scoreboard, driving 75 yards in seven plays on the game’s first possession. The Pirates converted on third-and-2 from the Virginia Tech 27 when Carden’s pass was batted into the air and fell into the hands of Bryce Williams, who rumbled 22 yards to the Virginia Tech 5.
Two plays later, Carden found Williams in the back of the end zone for a 4-yard scoring play to give the Pirates a 7-0 lead with 12:17 left in the first quarter.
The Pirates struck again on their next possession. A 70-yard drive that took less than a minute ended when Carden found receiver Trevon Brown in the end zone for a 15-yard score. That gave the Pirates a 14-0 lead less than five minutes into the game.
The Pirates took a 21-0 lead toward the end of the first quarter. Carden threw his third touchdown pass of the quarter, this one to receiver Isaiah Jones for 7 yards with 2:44 remaining in the quarter, to give ECU a 21-point edge.
In the first quarter, Carden completed 11 of 19 passes for 174 yards and three touchdowns.
ECU had chances to put the game out of reach in the first half. Cornerback Josh Hawkins intercepted passes on back-to-back possessions, giving the Pirates the ball deep in Virginia Tech territory both times.
But ECU came away with no points, failing to convert on fourth down on one possession and missing a short field goal on the other.
Virginia Tech managed to cut into the ECU lead right before halftime. Mustering their best drive of the first half, the Hokies went 73 yards in eight plays and got on the board when Brewer threw a 21-yard touchdown pass to Isaiah Ford, who made a one-handed grab.
Officials reviewed the play to see if the ball hit the ground, but upheld the catch, and Virginia Tech cut the lead to 21-7 with 47 seconds remaining in the half.
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