Virginia Tech suffered a heartbreaking 37-30 loss to Kentucky with the Wildcats scoring 2 touchdowns inside the final 15 seconds. Despite the tough loss, the Hokies had several standout performances with Deshawn McClease and Rayshard Ashby rising to the occasion the most to earn today's Hokies of the Game.
Offensive Hokie of the Game: Deshawn McClease
Deshawn McClease once again was a bowl game star with 11 carries for 126 yards and a touchdown plus 2 catches for 17 yards. McClease not only was steady with at least getting solid gains but also had multiple double-digit runs including a pair of 30+ yard runs that were big reasons for Virginia Tech's offensive success.
McClease was explosive running between the tackles and getting to the edge finding holes and turning those opportunities in big plays. The growth of McClease has shown as the fifth year 757 running back finished with a career high 843 rushing yards, the most rushing yards by a Virginia Tech running back in a single season under Justin Fuente at second most overall under Fuente only behind 846 from Jerod Evans in 2016.
The only question that remains now is whether Deshawn McClease will return for a sixth season, something that remains up in the air.
Hendon Hooker had a solid performance going 12-22 for 110 yards and 2 touchdowns while running for 50 yards on 12 carries. James Mitchell was also an x-factor with 3 catches for 36 yards while Damon Hazelton and Dalton Keene each had impressive receiving touchdowns.
Defensive Hokie of the Game: Rayshard Ashby
It feels like Rayshard Ashby has been a regular for Defensive Hokie of the Game, and rightfully so as Ashby had another impressive performance with 14 tackles including 2.5 for loss, 0.5 sacks, 1 forced fumble, and 1 QB hurry.
Ashby was all over the field for the Hokies once again and has emerged as one of the top linebackers in the ACC. With 2.5 tackles for loss today, he finishes the season with 17 tackles for loss, the third most in any season by a Hokie under Justin Fuente only behind Tremaine Edmunds and Woody Baron who each had 18.5 during the 2016 season.
Looking ahead to next season, there's no doubt that Ashby has the potential to become an All-American type performer as a tackling machine who can make his fair share of big plays.
Alan Tisdale had an impressive day with 14 tackles as his athleticism and length proved beneficial against Lynn Bowden Jr. Jarrod Hewitt also had a big day with 6 tackles and a forced fumble while Brion Murray had 6 tackles and an interception, filling in well for the injured Caleb Farley and Jermaine Waller.