Updated 5:56 p.m.
BLACKSBURG, Va. - Appalachian State quarterback DeAndre Pressley said it was by far the worst game he had ever played, but a 66-13 thumping by 13th-ranked Virginia Tech on Saturday didn’t diminish his confidence.
Ranked No. 2 in the nation in the Football Championship Subdivision poll, Appalachian State entered Lane Stadium with hopes of duplicating the season-opening magic it delivered in a 34-32 win at Michigan in 2007.
This year’s upset hopes were squashed almost immediately as Pressley lost a fumble on the second play from scrimmage and threw two interceptions. But Pressley, perhaps speaking with wounded pride, said he still wouldn’t classify Virginia Tech as an elite team even after the Hokies dominated the game.
“We made them look a lot better than what they were,” Pressley said. “I am not trying to take away from what they did, but we made a lot of mistakes.”
Appalachian State committed four turnovers to the Hokies’ none, and couldn’t stop dynamic tailback David Wilson. A junior who has taken over as a starter after working behind Ryan Williams and Darren Evans the past two years, Wilson displayed power and speed.
After Pressley’s early fumble, Wilson ran 20 yards for a touchdown on Virginia Tech’s first play from scrimmage. Wilson rushed for 162 yards and three touchdowns on 16 carries as the Hokies won their season opener for the first time since 2007.
Logan Thomas, making his first start at quarterback for the Hokies, was 9-for-19 passing for 149 yards and two touchdowns. Before the game he talked to last season’s ACC player of the year quarterback, former Hokie Tyrod Taylor, about building an early lead and watching the fourth quarter from the sideline at mop-up time.
“It went exactly as I expected,” Thomas said. “David had a great game, and the line helped me out.”
Pressley, meanwhile, struggled as the Mountaineers suffered their largest margin of defeat ever in a season opener and Virginia Tech scored the first 52 points. Pressley was 7-for-18 passing for 89 yards and was held to 43 yards on 13 carries.
“If you would have told me that the game would have ended the way it did, I wouldn’t have believed you,” said Pressley, the 2010 Southern Conference offensive player of the year. “I feel like I didn’t have a good game. But the good thing about football is you always get another chance.”
After winning three NCAA championships from 2005 to 2007 and the historic game at No. 5-ranked Michigan four years ago, the Mountaineers believe they can win even when they play ranked teams from the more highly funded Football Bowl Subdivision.
Coach Jerry Moore said he doesn’t talk much to his players about the upset of Michigan, though, because he wants them to forge their own identity. He said the lopsided loss will challenge this team to regroup and get better.
“I think we can be a good football team,” Moore said. “It’s hard to say that when you come play like we played today.”