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Virginia Tech vs. Western Michigan final score: VT struggles early, tame Broncos, 35-17

It wasn't pretty -- especially if you watched through the brutal television feed -- but the Hokies got the win they desperately needed on homecoming.

Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports

As so often has been the case in the Frank Beamer era, special teams made the difference.

The Hokies (3-2, 0-1) scored on the opening kickoff after Western Michigan (2-2, 0-0) fumbled allowing Tech to scoop the ball up and score. The touchdown came just eight seconds into the game, marking the fastest score in the Beamer era.

Tech missed the extra point, but got it back on the ensuing drive when Western Michigan snapped a punt through the back of the endzone for a safety to put the Hokies in front 8-0.

The Hokies would add a field goal before another terrible Michael Brewer interception put WMU in business at the Tech three yard line.

The Broncos would punch it in with talented true freshman tailback Jarvion Franklin to cut the lead to 11-7 with 4:15 remaining in the first quarter.

The Hokies would respond quickly with an 80-yard scoring drive capped off by a 29-yard touchdown pass from Brewer to a wide open Bucky Hodges.

The only score of the second quarter was a late Bronco field goal putting Tech's lead at just 18-10 at halftime.

Part of the issue was again Brewer's inconsistency. He finished the first half just 8-of-21 for 95 yards a touchdown and two interceptions.

In the second half, Tech came out determined to run the football and did so with gusto.

The Hokies rushed on 10 consecutive plays and finished the drive with a 7-yard Brewer touchdown toss to Isaiah Ford to stretch the lead to 25-10.

Tech backed that up with another terrific drive spurred by an emphasis on the ground game, this time punctuated by a Shai McKenize touchdown with :09 remaining in the third quarter to put the Hokies in front 32-10.

Western Michigan added a touchdown midway through the fourth quarter on another Franklin touchdown run, but the Hokies went back to the run and ground the clock to win 35-17.

The Hokies finished with 208 yards rushing compared to just 19 for Western Michigan. Marshawn Williams led the way for Tech carrying 14 times for 119 yards. McKenzie was right behind him with 87 yards on 18 carries. Virginia Tech announced after the game that McKenzie suffered a sprained right knee late and will be re-evaluated Sunday.

Michael Brewer settled down to finish with 178 yards passing with two touchdowns and two interceptions.

The Broncos were led by the impressive rushing of Jarvion Franklin who finished with 15 carries for 78 yards and two touchdowns.

The Hokies return to action next week on the road against ACC foe North Carolina. The game will once again kickoff at 12:30 p.m. on the ACC Network.