BLACKSBURG, Va. (AP) – Branden Ore rushed for 146 yards and a touchdown and No. 3 Virginia Tech overcame a flat first half to beat Marshall 41-14 Saturday.

The Hokies (6-0) led 14-7 at the break, but got a 19-yard field goal from Brandon Pace, a 15-yard fumble return by Vince Hall and a 48-yard scoring pass from Marcus Vick to David Clowney in a span of 3:29 of the third quarter to lead 31-7.

Marshall (2-3), which came in averaging 59 pass attempts in its last two games, surprised the Hokies by running the ball with some success early, but the Virginia Tech defense adjusted in the second half and the game turned into a homecoming rout.

The Thundering Herd had 150 yards of offense in the first three quarters before the Hokies emptied their bench and allowed an 84-yard fourth-quarter scoring drive.

Hall’s fumble return came on Marshall’s second play from scrimmage in the second half. Defensive end Chris Ellis was in the process of sacking Bernie Morris when the ball came right to Hall, who caught it in the air and scored easily.

After stopping the Herd on four plays, the Hokies needed only three to cover 78 yards. George Bell ran for five, Vick hit Josh Morgan for 25 and Clowney for the TD.

Vick finished 11-for-16 for 163 yards. He also threw an interception, only his second this season, on a ball that glanced off Morgan’s hands to Chris Royal.

Royal, a free safety and the older brother of Hokies wide receiver Eddie Royal, hoped to be matched against his brother at some point, but it never happened.

Ore had 23 carries entering the game, but took a key role when starting tailback Cedric Humes broke a bone in his right arm in the first half. The Hokies were already without co-starter Mike Imoh, who sat out with an ankle sprain.

Humes had 58 yards on 10 carries, including an 11-yard scoring run in the first quarter. Ore’s touchdown came on a 14-yard run in the second quarter, breaking a 7-all tie, and Bell added a 2-yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter for the Hokies.

Morris, who threw 60 passes last week in the Thundering Herd’s 16-13 overtime victory against Southern Methodist, had thrown only 14 after three quarters as Marshall kept handing off to Ahmad Bradshaw and Chubb Small.

Bradshaw finished with 99 yards on 22 carries, and scored Marshall’s first touchdown with a 13-yard run in the second quarter. Small had 57 yards on 14 carries, and caught a 17-yard touchdown pass from Morris with 19 seconds remaining.

AP-ES-10-08-05 1531EDT

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