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Virginia Tech running back Raheem Blackshear finds his footing in win over Boston College

Virginia Tech running back Raheem Blackshear finds his footing in win over Boston College

BC at VT

Virginia Tech’s Raheem Blackshear scores on a 28-yard-run in the fourth quarter of Saturday’s ACC game against Boston College in Blacksburg. The Hokies rushed for 350 yards in the 40-14 win.

BLACKSBURG — It looked like Virginia Tech running back Raheem Blackshear had nowhere to go on Saturday when Hendon Hooker handed him the ball early in the fourth quarter.

Blackshear was looking for room on the right side just outside the red zone, but pressure off the edge forced him to abandon those plans. The Rutgers transfer shuffled his feet and made a cut back through the outstretched hands of Boston College defensive tackles Ryan Betro and Cam Horsley.

He weaved his way towards Boston College’s sideline and made another would-be tackler (safety Mike Palmer) miss to go 28-yards for the score.

Blackshear’s modest numbers in the 40-14 win — three carries for 33 yards with a touchdown, one catch for 9 yards — paled in comparison to the ones put by Hooker (275 total yards and four touchdowns) and Khalil Herbert (200-plus all-purpose yards), but the touchdown run was the kind of explosive play he hasn’t made yet this season.

“He came back (to practice) the day before the N.C. State game and was limited, hurt his hamstring and didn't practice much the next week,” Virginia Tech coach Justin Fuente said after the game. “He's kind of found his footing.”

The longest play from scrimmage for Blackshear going into Saturday’s game was a 14-yard run in the opener. He had four carriers go for 10 or more yards in the first two games, but none last week against North Carolina.

He had seven rushes of 20 yards or more in his first two years at Rutgers and five receptions of 25 yards or more.

“He keeps working hard,” Herbert said. “That was just really good run by him, I just loved to see that. He made some guys miss, broke a couple tackles, and you seen his speed on the outside.”

Fuente still envisions Blackshear developing into a dual threat of sorts at running back and receiver.

Blackshear had a history of success at Rutgers in the multi-faceted role — as a sophomore he was named honorable mention All-Big Ten with 1,136 all-purpose yards — but during his slow start has only played a limited number of snaps in the slot receiver role.

He came into Saturday’s game with 31 carries for 120 yards (3.9 yards per carry) and three catches for one yard. Blackshear’s teammates believe it’s only a matter of time before he’s able to consistently put his full skill set on display.

“Honestly, I’m happy for him,” Hooker said. “He’s my roommate. We talk every day. I was just trying to give him some encouragement when he was down with his injury, give him some encouragement like, ‘You’re going to bounce back and get back to your regular self in no time,’ and tonight he proved he can make anyone miss in the open field and he’s very explosive and very exciting to watch.”

Mike Niziolek is the Virginia Tech football beat writer for The Roanoke Times. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter.

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