The Virginia Tech Hokies kicked off the Justin Fuente era against the Liberty Flames with the Hokies expected to easily beat the Flames. While the Hokies fell behind even early in the second quarter, VT was able to cruise to a comfortable victory in what was a fairly dominant performance.
The Hokies beat Liberty 36-13 with the defense leading the way only allowing 6 points in the first half and none in the second half. The Hokies didn’t have to deal with a close call in the end that Battle at Bristol opponent Tennessee had to deal with against Appalachian State.
Virginia Tech’s offense got off to a somewhat slow start but after forcing a fumble, the Hokies took two plays to score their first touchdown of the Justin Fuente era with Jerod Evans throwing a 23-yard touchdown pass to Cam Phillips. Liberty would respond later in the first quarter with a touchdown of their own after a fumble set them up inside the 15 though Liberty missed the extra point.
The Hokies responded with a Joey Slye field goal to take a 10-6 lead before Liberty recovered a fumble and took it 71 yards for a touchdown. The Hokies’ offense had some struggles but finally got in a rhythm after going down 3.
Virginia Tech went on two touchdown drives late in the half with Jerod Evans throwing touchdown passes to both Isaiah Ford and Bucky Hodges. With a 24-13 lead at half, the Hokies still had some work to do and that’s exactly what they did with a touchdown and safety off of a punt in the third quarter followed by a field goal in the fourth quarter to seal the victory 36-13.
Jerod Evans didn’t get off to the best start but the junior quarterback had a solid debut as he completed 20-of-32 for 221 passing yards and 3 touchdowns while also having 5 carries for 46 yards including a 37-yard fourth down run to put the Hokies inside the 5. Evans still has some room to grow and made some mistakes but the junior quarterback started to play a lot better once he let his playmakers make plays.
Isaiah Ford was dominant making Liberty’s cornerbacks look quite bad in man coverage as Ford had 11 catches for 117 receiving yards and 1 touchdown. Cam Phillips and Bucky Hodges were both solid as Phillips had 5 catches for 52 receiving yards and a touchdown while Hodges has 3 catches for 42 receiving yards and 2 touchdowns.
The defense was also dominant giving up only one touchdown in this game and 6 points overall while also holding Liberty to only 160 yards of offense. Greg Stroman was the star on defense with 2 interceptions and nearly a third late while also providing lockdown pass coverage throughout the afternoon.