Virginia Tech entered this year's Commonwealth Cup as the hot team having won 6 out of their 7 games while Virginia had questions of their own with secondary injuries piling up. Combine that with a 15-year win streak and the Hokies seemed rightful favorites but on this day, Virginia found enough to end the Hokies' reign of terror in the Commonwealth.
No. 24 Virginia Tech fell to Virginia 39-30 with the Hokies falling to 8-4 and 5-3 in ACC play while UVA improved to 9-3 including to 6-2 in ACC play. With the win, UVA heads to Charlotte as the ACC Championship game while the Hokies will wait for their bowl destination with a trip to the Belk Bowl seeming likely.
Turnovers were a massive problem for the Hokies similar to the early portion of the season as Tech had 4 turnovers compared to only one for Virginia. The Hokies were only outgained 492-483, but after a strong start to the second half, Tech's defense started to struggle to defend the pass with Caleb Farley's absence hurting significantly.
Tech up lots of yardage largely due to a strong third quarter and solid fourth quarter, but the Hokies also had some questionable play calls in important moments that should raise questions about whether Brad Cornelsen is the right man for the job. However, Cornelsen has also had some very good moments and games over the past month plus that shown signs of growth as a playcaller that also merit consideration.
Hendon Hooker had a good but up and down game going 18-30 for 311 yards with 1 touchdowns, 2 interceptions, and a lost fumble though one interception was on a hail mary and the fumble came as the third sack in a row for UVA. Additionally, Hooker had 44 rushing yards and a touchdown though UVA's six sacks put a significant dent in that total.
Tre Turner had 7 catches for 134 yards and a touchdown and lost fumble along with 3 carries for 25 yards while Damon Hazelton had 7 catches for 118 yards. Both Turner and Hazelton had impressive games even with the Turner fumble and reminded people why they are one of the best 1-2 WR duos in college football on the East Coast.
Tayvion Robinson had a quality game with 3 catches for 45 yards while also doing well on special teams with a pair of 20+ yard punt returns. Deshawn McClease also had a strong game on the ground with 16 carries for 86 yards and a touchdown while Dalton Keene had a 14-yard reception and 2 carries for 6 yards.
Dax Hollifield had a big game on defense with 9 tackles including a sack while Divine Deablo led the Hokies with 11 tackles. DaShawn Crawford struggled with injuries in the second half, but had a big game overall with 4 tackles including 2.5 for loss, one of which was a sack. Chamarri Conner had an up and down game, but was productive with 7 tackles, 1 interception, and 1 pass breakup while Jermaine Waller had 2 pass breakups to go with 4 tackles.
Virginia opened at their own 25 after a touchback from John Parker Romo. The Cavaliers started with an incompletion followed by the Tech defense blowing up a read option for a 4-yard loss. Bryce Perkins converted the third down taking a QB draw for a 19-yard carry to the UVA 40. Perkins had a pair of incompletions to set up a 3rd and 10 with Perkins once again converting via a 16-yard QB draw to the VT 44. Wayne Taulapapa gained 5 on first down with Perkins breaking out on a read option for a 39-yard touchdown. UVA missed the extra point with the Hoos taking a 6-0 lead with 12:14 to go in the first quarter.
Virginia Tech opened at their 25 after a touchback from Virginia. UVA's Noah Taylor had a free rush and sacked Hendon Hooker for a seven-yard loss to start. Hooker gained it back and then some on a fake reverse via a 14-yard run. However, Hooker's third down carry was stuffed for no gain leading to a 53-yard punt by Oscar Bradburn that was returned 9 yards to the UVA 24 by Billy Kemp.
Virginia started with a carry by Taulapapa that went for no gain followed by an incompletion on second down. However, a Jermaine Waller pass interference gave UVA 15 yards and a first down at the UVA 39. Bryce Perkins found Tanner Kelly for his first completion of the game, a 4-yard gain to the UVA 43. Perkins then found Joe Reed for 4 more yards to set up a 3rd and 2 at the UVA 47. On third down, Tech got to Perkins with his pass popping straight up for Chamarri Conner who had a long return wiped out be a penalty, giving Tech the ball at their own 44.
Deshawn McClease started the drive with a 6-yard gain to the 50 followed by a 23-yard reception by Damon Hazelton at the UVA 27. Hooker found Hazelton again on the next play picking up 9 yards to the UVA 18 with Dalton Keene running for 3 yards and a first down to the 15 on the next play. Tech gained 8 more yards to the UVA 7 after a defensive holding call against UVA's Nick Grant. McClease was stuffed on first and goal for a one-yard loss followed by a three-yard run from Hooker to set up 3rd and goal at the 5. Tre Turner was unable to get it in with a 2-yard run, but Brian Johnson's 21-yard field goal was good to cut the UVA lead to 6-3 with 3:26 to go in the first quarter.
Virginia started at their own 25 after a touchback from John Parker Romo. The Hoos started their drive with an 8-yard completion from Perkins to Terrell Jana followed by an incompletion to set up 3rd and 2 at the UVA 33. Perkins then broke out for another long touchdown, this time a 67-yard touchdown run to give UVA a 13-3 lead with 2:32 to go in the first quarter.
Tech started out at their 25 after a UVA touchback. Hooker threw it to Turner on a screen for a 2-yard gain to open the drive followed by a deep incompletion to Damon Hazelton with the pass being just overthrown. Hooker converted the 3rd and 8 with a 14-yard completion to Dalton Keene at the VT 41. McClease was stuffed on first down for no gain followed by a 12-yard gain from Hooker to the UVA 47 for a first down. Keshawn King gained nothing on first down after slipping while trying to cut up field to end the first quarter. Hooker had to scramble away on second down, but only gained 1 to set up a 3rd and 9. Hooker found Tre Turner for a third down conversion, but Turner fumbled with UVA recovering it at their own 41.
Virginia started their drive with a 32-yard completion from Perkins to Hasise Dubois with a pair of offsetting penalties after the play. From the VT 27, Perkins found Terrell Jana for a six-yard gain followed by Perkins being brought down for a 2-yard loss by DaShawn Crawford. Perkins' third down pass was incomplete with an offensive pass interference that Tech accepted to set up 3rd and 21 at the VT 38. UVA failed to convert the third and long as well with Perkins scrambling for no gain leading to a UVA punt that went for a touchback, giving Tech the ball at their own 20.
Tech opened with an incompletion after a UVA blitzer almost got to Hooker untouched followed by another incompletion on second down to set up 3rd and 10. Hooker found James Mitchell, but a Bryan Hudson set up 3rd and 20 for Tech at their own 20. Hooker found Turner for a long 13-yard gain, but the holding penalty buried Tech's drive, leading to a punt. Bradburn's punt went 43 yards with Billy Kemp returning it 6 yards to the UVA 39.
Tech's defense started this possession strong with a DaShawn Crawford sack of Perkins for a seven-yard loss followed by a second down incompletion to set up 3rd and 17. Perkins scrambled on third down, but his 10-yard run came up 7 short forcing a UVA punt. The Hoos' punt was caught by Tayvion Robinson at the VT 19 who returned it 28 yards to the VT 47.
Tech started their drive with a 3-yard carry by Dalton Keene followed by an 11-yard loss on second down after Hooker was sacked, setting up 3rd and 18. Tech handed it off to McClease who gained 7 yards, leading to a Tech punt. Bradburn had a great punt that went 38 yards with Kemp returning it 4 yards to the UVA 10.
UVA opened their drive with a 3-yard carry for Wayne Taulapapa followed by a 5-yard completion from Perkins to Kemp to set up 3rd and 2 at the UVA 18. UVA's third down pass came up short as the Hoos only gained one yard on the Tanner Cowley reception. UVA's punt went 44 yards with Tayvion Robinson having another big return, this one going 35 yards to the UVA 28.
Tech opened this possession with a one-yard carry for Hooker followed by a timeout with 4:32 to go in the first half. After the timeout, Hooker found Tre Turner on a play action screen who picked up 14 yards and a first down to the UVA 13. Hooker gained 1 on first down with a facemask on UVA giving the Hokies a first and goal at the UVA 6. Tech ran a jet sweep that went for a touchdown, but was wiped out before it started due to a five-yard false start penalty. Hooker then gained one yard on first and goal followed by a two-yard bubble screen for Tre Turner with UVA calling timeout before the third and goal play at the UVA 8. Hooker's third down pass was nearly intercepted with there being not enough evidence to overturn the call. Brian Johnson made a short field goal to cut the Virginia lead to 13-6 with 2:06 to go in the first half.
UVA received the ball at their 25 after a touchback from John Parker Romo. The Hoos started their drive with an incompletion and an illegal formation penalty that Tech declined. Perkins found Terrell Jana for a 5-yard completion on second down followed by a timeout from Tech with 1:52 to go in the first half. Perkins' third down pass was also incomplete, leading to a UVA punt. Tayvion Robinson did not return this punt fair catching it at the VT 20.
Tech started their drive with a 1-yard carry by Hooker followed by an 8-yard completion to Damon Hazelton, but a false start set up 3rd and 6 for the Hokies. McClease then gained 22 yards on 3rd to give the Hokies the ball at their 46 followed by an incompletion from Hooker after Tayvion Robinson stumbled. Hendon Hooker's hail mary came up short going for his first interception of the season with Noah Taylor intercepting it.
The Hokies' offense had their ups and downs being outgained 211-149 while having a pair of turnovers via a Tre Turner fumble and a Hendon Hooker interception that came on a hail mary. Tech's defense struggled early allowing Bryce Perkins to run for 137 yards in the first quarter, but found their rhythm in the second quarter. Tech's special teams proved valuable with Oscar Bradburn having good punts and Tayvion Robinson returning 2 punts for 63 yards including a 35-yard return.
Hendon Hooker had an up and down first half going 9 for 15 for 91 yards and his first interception of the season on a hail mary, though he came close to having an interception earlier in the half. Damon Hazelton and Tre Turner had solid first halves with Hazelton having 3 catches for 40 yards and Turner having 5 for 37 yards along with a 2-yard carry though his fumble proved large. McClease led the Hokies on the ground with 34 yards on 5 carries including a 22-yard carry right before halftime.
DaShawn Crawford had a big first half with 2.5 tackles for loss including a sack while Chamarri Conner also was a playmaker with an interception, a pass breakup, and 5 tackles. Divine Deablo led the Hokies with 6 tackles while Jermaine Waller had a pair of pass breakups, stepping up with Caleb Farley out due to back spasms.
Bryce Perkins had a big first quarter for UVA with 5 carries for 137 yards and 2 touchdowns before finishing the half with 138 yards on 9 carries to go with 65 yards and an interception on 8-16 passing. Hasise Dubois had the biggest skill position player contribution with a 32-yard reception. Noah Taylor was the defensive star for UVA with 4 tackles, an interception, and a sack while Charles Snowden had a sack and Eli Hanback led UVA with 5 tackles including one for loss.
Virginia Tech received the ball at their 25 after a UVA touchback. Tech started with a big pass play from Hendon Hooker to a wide open Damon Hazelton for a 30-yard gain to the UVA 45. Deshawn McClease gained 3 on first down followed by a six-yard carry for McClease to set up 3rd and 1. McClease picked up the third down via a two-yard carry to the UVA 34. Tech only needed one more play as Hendon Hooker kept a read option and ran it 34 yards for a touchdown to tie the game up at 13 with 12:52 to go in the third quarter.
Virginia received the ball at their 25 after a John Parker Romo touchback. Bryce Perkins' first down pass was incomplete followed by Perkins scrambling for a yard on second down. After the second down play, Billy Kemp picked up a 13-yard unnecessary roughness penalty to set up 3rd and 22 at the UVA 13 with UVA's pass going incomplete. Nash Griffin's punt went for 54 yards with Tayvion Robinson losing a yard to the VT 31.
Tech opened their possession with a 2-yard carry by Deshawn McClease followed by a run for a one-yard gain from McClease on second down. Hooker found Hazelton for what was a 16-yard reception, but the completion was overturned after a review, leading to a punt. Oscar Bradburn's punt went for 39 yards with UVA getting the ball at their 27.
UVA started with a Perkins carry that went for a one-yard gain followed by Perkins scrambling for 2 more yards to set up 3rd and 7. Perkins found Joe Reed, but Reed came up a yard short, leading to a UVA punt. Nash Griffin's punt went for 35 yards going out of bounds at the VT 29.
Tech opened the possession with a Hooker completion to Damon Hazelton on a long curl for 20 yards and a first down at the VT 49. McClease got the ball into UVA territory on first down with an 8-yard run to the UVA 43. Hooker then picked up the first down on a 5-yard run to the UVA 38. Keshawn King picked up the first down on the next play with a 10-yard run to the UVA 28. Hooker kept it on first down gaining 4 yards to the UVA 24. Turner then picked up the first down on the next play with a 7-yard jet sweep to the UVA 17. Hooker then sent it outside on a screen to Tayvion Robinson for 16 yards and a first and goal at the 1.
Joe Reed returned the John Parker Romo kick from the endzone for a 21-yard return to the UVA 21. Wayne Taulapapa opened the drive with a 2-yard carry followed by a long reception from Perkins to a wide open Joe Reed for a 42-yard gain to the VT 35. Taulapapa gained 5 yards on his first down carry with Reed gaining 5 more and a first down on the 2nd down reception at the VT 25. Perkins' next pass would be incomplete with his second down pass being thrown away after a near sack to set up 3rd and 10. Perkins stepped up on the next play finding an open Billy Kemp who went 25 yards for a touchdown after Chamarri Conner badly missed a tackle, tying the game at 20 with 2:24 left in the third quarter.
Virginia Tech received the ball at their 25 after a touchback from Virginia. Tech started the drive with 7-yard gain via a screen pass from Hooker to Robinson. McClease carried it on second down picking up one yard to set up 3rd and 2. Hooker kept it on a delayed QB run on third down running for 6 yards and a first down. Tech found their biggest play of the game on the next play with Hooker throwing a beautiful pass down the middle to Tre Turner who fought off a trailing defender for a 61-yard touchdown, giving the Hokies a 27-20 lead with 48 seconds left in the third quarter.
After starting at their 25, Perkins found an open Terrell Jana down the field who gained 37 yards and a first down at the VT 38. Perkins had another big pass on the next play finding Hasise Dubois for a 30-yard gain to the VT 8 to end the third quarter. Perkins found Tanner Cowley on first down for a 4-yard gain followed by a 2-yard carry for Perkins to set up 3rd and goal at the VT 2. Wayne Taulapapa finished off the drive with a 2-yard touchdown run with UVA tying the game at 27 with 13:30 to go.
Keshawn King gave the Hokies' very good field position after a 43-yard return to the VT 44. Tech started with a jet sweep to Tre Turner who gained 16 yards and a first down at the UVA 40. Hooker then found Damon Hazelton on an out route for 13 yards and a first down at the UVA 27. Tech handed it off to McClease on their third play but lost 2 as McClease slipped trying to turn up field. That was followed by Hooker throwing it away to set up a 3rd and 12 at the UVA 29. Tech ran a QB power on 3rd and 12, but Hooker's run gained nothing. Brian Johnson stepped up though making a 47-yard field goal to give the Hokies a 30-27 lead with 10:58 to go.
Virginia received the ball at their 25 after John Parker Romo sent it out of the endzone. Virginia opened the drive with a big completion from Perkins to an open Hasise Dubois who gained 67 yards to set up first and goal at the VT 8. Perkins ran for 3 yards on first down followed by a run that was brought back after an illegal shift, setting up 2nd and goal at the VT 10. Perkins scrambled on second down for 3 yards followed by a one-yard loss on third down for Perkins after he failed to find a receiver and was sacked by Dax Hollifield. Brian Delaney made the short field goal though to tie the game at 30 with 7:35 to go.
Keshawn King's second kick return wasn't as successful with King going down at the 20. This possession started with a nine-yard for McClease followed by a six-yard run for Hooker on the jet sweep read option to pick up a first down at the VT 35. McClease broke out for another big run on the next play gaining 21 yards and a first down at the UVA 44. Hooker's first down was incomplete after a drop by a jumping Tre Turner followed by a false start to set up 2nd and 15 at the UVA 49. McClease's second down carry went nowhere followed by another false start to set up 3rd and 20 at the VT 46. Hooker then had his third down intercepted by Noah Taylor for no return at the UVA 35.
Bryce Perkins found Joe Reed for a 9-yard gain on first down followed by a second down conmpletion to Hasise Dubois for 10 yards and a first down at the VT 46. Perkins kept the read option on first down only gaining one yard on the run followed by another read option keep for Perkins that gained 10 and a first down at the VT 35. Perkins found Kemp on a screen, but a holding penalty brought the play back, setting up 1st and 18 at the VT 43. Perkins' first down pass was incomplete with his second down scramble going for 2 yards to set up 3rd and 15 at the VT 40 with UVA calling timeout before the play. Perkins found Tavares Kelly, but his 9-yard reception left UVA short, forcing a 48-yard field goal attempt from Brian Delaney who made it to give UVA a 33-30 lead with 1:23 to go.
Deshawn McClease fell forward catching the kickoff going down at the VT 18. Hendon Hooker tried to escape, but was sacked for a 2-yard loss on first down leading to a Tech timeout with 1:12 to go with Hooker getting sacked again on second down for a 10-yard loss, setting up 3rd and 21 at the VT 7 with 1:07 to go. Tech called their second timeout right after the sack. Then, Hooker was sacked and fumbled on third down with the fumble being recovered in the endzone as UVA kneeled on a 2-point conversion, giving the Hoos a 39-30 lead with 1:01 seconds left.
Virginia Tech started at their own 29 with Hooker finding Hazelton for a 15-yard reception follwed by a sack of Hooker for an 9-yard loss with Justin Fuente calling timeout with 48 seconds left. Hooker found Tayvion Robinson on the next play for a 22-yard reception followed by a 36-yard reception to Tre Turner to set up first and goal at the UVA 7. Tech then had an illegal forward pass on first down to set up 2nd and goal at the 13. Hooker's second and third down passes were incomplete, ending the game.