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Hokies gets past East Carolina, 16-3

GREENVILLE, N.C. — Freshman Ryan Williams ran for a season-high 179 yards and No. 22 Virginia Tech avoided its first three-game losing streak in six years, holding off East Carolina 16-3 on Thursday night.

Tyrod Taylor had a 13-yard touchdown run, Matt Waldron kicked three field goals and Williams atoned for his critical miscue last week against North Carolina by cracking the 1,000-yard mark for the Hokies (6-3).

They had a 379-277 advantage in total yardage, forced three turnovers and made just enough plays on offense to bounce back from losses to No. 10 Georgia Tech and the Tar Heels while also avenging last year’s loss in Charlotte in which the Pirates turned the tables on Beamerball.

Williams, whose fumble in the closing minutes last week gave North Carolina a chance at a winning field goal on the final play, helped make Virginia Tech the third school to have freshmen rush for 1,000 yards in consecutive years after Darren Evans did it last year. Williams surpassed his 164-yard effort against Marshall and became just the second 100-yard rusher against by the Pirates this season.

Taylor finished 17 of 30 for 137 yards with another 61 yards on the ground for the Hokies.

Patrick Pinkney was 16 of 33 passing for 167 yards with a late interception for East Carolina (5-4), which was playing its first Thursday night home game since 2001 and hosted the Hokies for the first time since 2000.