On the day where Virginia Tech recognized Bud Foster's illustrious coaching career, the Hokies stepped up to put together their best performance and pick up their first victory over a ranked team at home since 2009.
Virginia Tech beat No. 19 Wake Forest 36-17 to improve to 6-3 on the season and 3-2 in ACC play while Wake Forest fell to 7-2 on the season including 4-2 in ACC play. The Hokies will look to build on their momentum as they travel to Georgia Tech next week while Wake Forest faces a tougher game next week at Clemson.
The Hokies were clearly the better team and dominated in all facets of the game with a pair of first half fumbles being the only reason why Wake Forest led 10-6 at halftime. The Hokies cleaned up their offensive mistakes at halftime while forcing a pair of turnovers on defense. VT outscored Wake Forest 30-7 in the second half as the Hokies scored the final 23 points in this game.
The Hokies' offense had a big game with Hendon Hooker at the helm with 470 yards of offense while the defense held Wake Forest to 301 yards of offense. The Hokies' rushing game came alive as VT averaged 4.8 yards per carry while holding Wake Forest to only 2.2 yards per carry.
Hooker was impressive in this game going 15-23 for 242 yards while rushing for 69 yards and a touchdown. Outside of a fumble, Hooker showed why he's emerged as one of the ACC's best quarterbacks and one of the biggest reasons for the unexpected turnaround at Virginia Tech, remaining undefeated in games that he has started.
Damon Hazelton was dominant on the outside with 7 catches for 86 yards while "Big Play" Tre Turner made a big difference with 2 catches for 30 yards and 4 carries for 73 yards including a 57-yard carry. Deshawn McClease had a slow start but finished well with 59 rushing yards and 2 TDs plus a 10-yard reception while Keshawn King had 35 rushing yards and an 8-yard reception.
Divine Deablo led the Hokies with 9 tackles including 0.5 tackle for loss. Dashawn Crawford had a big game with 4 tackles, 1 QB hurry, and his first career interception while Dax Hollifield had 6 tackles including 0.5 for loss, 2 QB hurries, and a late interception. Emmanuel Belmar and Chamarri Conner each had individual sacks while Jarrod Hewitt and TyJuan Garbutt shared a sack with Garbutt also having 2 QB hurries.
After falling to their lowest of lows with a 45-10 home loss to Duke in late September, Virginia Tech has rallied in a way no one could have imagine putting together better performances every week on their way to their best performance in the past two seasons. Both coaches and players deserve credit for not giving in, making adjustments, and holding themselves to the highest standards that has VT in position to extend their bowl streak and make a trip to Charlotte in early December.
Virginia Tech dominated in all three phases of the game and while a couple fumbles prevented them from leading at halftime, the Hokies not only held their own against a top 20 team, but ran them off the field.
What's clear is that Virginia Tech is the best team in the ACC Coastal and the clear frontrunner to go to the Orange Bowl as the ACC's second best team.
Virginia Tech opened with a short return from Terius Wheatley to the Hokies 18. After a 2-yard jet sweep from Tre Turner, Virginia Tech gained 10 and a first down on a screen from Hendon Hooker to Deshawn McClease. McClease then gained 8 more on a second down pitch with a 13-yard screen to Tre Turner picking up a first down at the WF 49 with an offsides giving the Hokies 5 more yards. After a 2-yard loss by Keshawn King and 5-yard completion to Damon Hazelton, a third down incompletion set up a 4th and 2 that Hendon Hooker converted with an 8-yard run.
The Hokies fed McClease who gained 8 yards on 3 carries before a fourth down offsides gave VT a first down at the 20. Hooker led the charge on the fresh set of downs with 8 yards on 2 carries before a 5-yard jet sweep by Tre Turner gave the Hokies a first and goal at the 7. A bad snap was recovered by Hooker, but cost the Hokies 12 yards. After a second down incompletion, McClease picked up one yard on a third down carry setting up a 35-yard field goal that Brian Johnson made to give the Hokies a 3-0 lead with 5:33 to go in the first quarter.
Wake Forest started their opening possession at their 25 after a touchback from John Parker Romo with Wake gaining 5 immediately via a VT offsides that was cancelled out by a WF false start. On the actual first play, Wake gained 5 on the ground with Cade Carney followed by 2 more on the ground with Carney. The Demon Deacons weren't able to convert though as Emmanuel Belmar sacked Jamie Newman on third down. Wake did have a good punt with a block in the back penalty forcing the Hokies to start at their own 13.
Virginia Tech seemed to have a field-flipping play with a 50-yard completion from Hooker to Terius Wheatley off an RPO, but Wheatley fumbled with Wake recovering and returning it to their own 41. WF attacked immediately with Jamie Newman finding Kendall Hinton for a 32-yard gain and a first down at the VT 27. Wake then fed Cade Carney with Carney gaining 5 yards on 2 carries, but Wake was unable to convert after a third down incompletion. The Demon Deacons did get some points as Nick Sciba made a 40-yard field goal to tie the game at 3 with 2:23 to go in the first quarter.
Virginia Tech started at their own 28 after a 20-yard return to the 28 by Wheatley. VT started their drive with a 2-yard by McClease followed by a 4-yard completion to Hazelton. However, the Hokies weren't able to keep their drive going after a third down incompletion. Bradburn was able to flip the field with Wake getting the ball at their own 22 after a 49-yard punt and 5-yard return.
Wake Forest opened with an incompletion followed by their second false start of the first quarter to set up a 2nd and 15. WF gained 4 on a short completion to Sage Surratt, but were unable to convert on third down after only an 8-yard completion to Kendall Hinton. The Demon Deacons opened the second quarter with a punt that rolled 10+ yards from where it landed to the Virginia Tech 18.
Virginia Tech opened this possession with a three-yard carry from Keshawn King followed by a 9-yard completion to James Mitchell for a first down. From the VT 30, King picked up 7 on first down followed by Hooker keeping a jet sweep read option to gain 8 and a first down at the VT 45. VT then used a QB rollout on first down effectively with Hooker finding James Mitchell who gained 19 yards and a first down at the Wake 36.
Tre Turner kept it moving with a 9-yard gain on a first down jet sweep, but a second down sack by Carlos Basham set up a 3rd and 6 at the WF 32. Hooker wasn't able to convert on third down after gaining 4 on a third down read option, but VT converted on 4th and 2 via an 8-yard completion to Keshawn King to the Wake 20. King kept the drive going with a 5-yard rush followed by a 1-yard carry from McClease to set up a 3rd and 4, but were unable to convert after an incompletion. Brian Johnson was able to get the Hokies points as his 32-yard field goal gave the Hokies a 6-3 with 7:47 to go in the second quarter.
Wake Forest started at their own 25 after John Parker Romo had a touchback. VT's defense started this possession well bringing down Jamie Newman for a 3-yard loss followed by a second down incompletion. Wake Forest had a third down completion overturned, but a holding penalty gave Wake a first down at their own 32. Wake Forest wasn't able to do anything on 1st and 2nd with incompletions including a great pass breakup by Armani Chatman on first down. However, Newman found an open Hinton for a 45-yard gain to the Virginia Tech 23.
The Demon Deacons moved into the Hokies' redzone immediately due to a 5-yard offsides with Jamie Newman picking up a 1st down after a 7-yard run. Wake Forest scored on the next play as Sage Surratt bounced off a couple of Hokie players and found the edge for an 11-yard passing touchdown, giving Wake Forest a 10-6 lead with 5:48 to go in the second quarter.
Virginia Tech opened with great field position after a 36-yard return for Keshawn King gave the Hokies the ball at their own 40. However, Virginia Tech got put behind the chains after a 6-yard sack by Wake Forest on first down. Deshawn McClease gained most of the loss back with a 5-yard run on second down, but good pressure by Wake Forest forced Hendon Hooker to scramble for a yard, forcing a punt. Oscar Bradburn had another very good punt with a 56-yard punt followed by a 7-yard return to give Wake Forest the ball at their own 11.
Wake Forest opened their drive with a pair of carries for Kenneth Walker who gained 8 yards to set up a 3rd and 2. Newman was forced to get rid of the ball quickly due to a VT blitz with the pass going to incomplete, forcing a punt. Wake Forest's punt was to the VT 33 with Hezekiah Grimsley returning it 2 yards to the VT 35.
Virginia Tech started with a big play via curl route to Damon Hazelton who broke a tackle and picked up 24 yards for a first down at the Wake Forest 41. Hooker threw away the first down pass just before the pocket collapsed with McClease gaining nothing on a second down run. Virginia Tech was able to convert on 3rd and 10 as Hooker found Hazelton for a 16-yard gain to the WF 25. Hooker then scrambled for 11 yards, but fumbled with the ball begin recovered by Wake Forest at the 14, ending a great scoring opportunity for VT.
Cade Carney opened Wake Forest's drive with an 8-yard carry and then added 15 more yards on his next carry to get Wake Forest to their own 37 with 25 seconds left in the first half. Newman found Carney on the next play for a 4-yard gain that went out of bounds with VT calling timeout after the play. A second down sack by TyJuan Garbutt and Jarrod Hewitt would be the final play as Wake Forest took a 10-6 lead to halftime against Wake Forest.
Virginia Tech outgained Wake Forest 229-137 in the first half and dominated the time of possession, but were only able to get 6 points off their impressive offensive stats. The biggest issue for the Hokies were their 2 fumbles including a late redzone fumble from Hendon Hooker that made a clear difference on the scoreboard.
Outside of his fumble, Hendon Hooker had a strong opening half going 10-15 for 158 yards while running for a net of 29 yards. Damon Hazelton had a strong first half with 4 catches for 49 yards while Tre Turner was effective with 3 carries for 16 yards and a 13-yard reception. Deshawn McClease and Keshawn King were largely contained with 38 yards on 14 carries during the first half. Other than Hazelton, James Mitchell was the only other receivers with more than one reception with 2 for 28 yards.
Reggie Floyd and Divine Deablo each led the Hokies with 4 first half tackles while Emmanuel Belmar had a sack, and Jarrod Hewitt and TyJuan Garbutt combined for a sack as well. Oscar Bradburn did well in his return averaging 52.5 yards per punt on his 2 punt while Keshawn King had a 36-yard kick return, and John Parker Romo had touchbacks on both of his kickoffs.
Wake Forest started the second half at their own 25 after a touchback from John Parker Romo. Cade Carney received the ball first gaining 2 followed by Jamie Newman gaining 1 yard on second down. Newman's third down pass was incomplete forcing a punt. Tayvion Robinson came in for his first punt return and made a big returning it 33 yards to the Virginia Tech 49.
Virginia Tech started quick on their first second half possession with a 17-yard completion to Tre Turner followed by an 8-yard carry by Hendon Hooker to the WF 26. Hooker then kept the jet sweep read option, picking up 14 yards and a first down at the WF 12. Wake Forest gave the Hokies another 5 yards after a Wake Forest offsides. Hooker kept it on the 1st and 5 gaining those 5 yards to set up a 1st and goal at the 2. Deshawn McClease punched it in on the next play with a 2-yard touchdown to give Virginia Tech a 13-10 lead with 11 minutes to go in the third quarter.
Wake Forest started at their 25 after a John Parker Romo touchback with Newman having a first down incompletion to open their drive. Newman found Jack Freudenthal for a 10-yard gain and a first down on the next play. Newman scrambled on first down gaining 3 yards followed by a 2-yard completion to Freudenthal to the WF 40. Wake Forest converted on third down with Newman finding Kendall Hinton underneath who turned the short completion into a 21-yard reception to the VT 39. Wake Forest gained 15 more yards after a somewhat head-scratching pass interference with Newman finding Sage Surratt for a 24-yard touchdown to give Wake Forest a 17-13 lead with 8:59 to go.
Virginia Tech opened their possession at their 26 after a 21-yard return from Keshawn King. Tre Turner opened the drive with a 57-yard jet sweep helped by a great lead block from Deshawn McClease to get Virginia Tech to the Wake Forest 17. McClease kept the Hokies moving with 11 yards on his next 2 carries and a first down at the WF 6. McClease finished it off on the next play showing great patience as his offensive line cleared the way for an easy 6-yard touchdown to give Virginia Tech a 20-17 lead with 7:02 to go.
Wake Forest opened this drive at the 25 after another touchback from John Parker Romo. However, VT took the ball back immediately after a great blitz forced Jamie Newman into a short throw that was intercepted by DaShawn Crawford, giving VT the ball at the WF 21. Tayvion Robinson started the next drive with a 7-yard carry on a jet sweep followed by a one-yard carry for Deshawn McClease, setting up a 3rd and 2 at the WF 13 with VT calling timeout before the play. A false start pushed the Hokies back to a 3rd and 7 with VT failing to convert after an incompletion on third down. Brian Johnson was able to give the Hokies 3 more points though making his 35-yard field goal to give Virginia Tech a 23-17 lead with 5:30 to go in the third quarter.
A fair catch gave Wake Forest the ball at their own 25 to start this drive. Newman started with an incompletion that was nearly intercepted by Caleb Farley followed by a 3-yard gain via a screen to Kendall Hinton. Hinton then broke a couple tackles on a third down catch to gain 10 yards and a first down at the WF 38. After a first down incompletion, Newman found Surratt for a short completion, but Wake Forest took a 5-yard offsides penalty, making it 2nd and 5 at the WF 43. Newman kept it on second down gaining 3 yards, but Virginia Tech's defense stepped up as Chamarri Conner had a third down sack to force a punt. Tayvion Robinson caught the punt as the VT 15 returning it 11 yards to the VT 26.
Virginia Tech opened their next drive with an incompletion, but Damon Hazelton gained 8 on a second down completion to set up a 3rd and 2 at the VT 34. Hooker was unable to convert though on the third down QB run gaining only one yard which led to a punt. Bradburn stepped up though with a 58-yard punt that gave Wake Forest the ball at the WF 7.
Kenneth Walker opened the Wake Forest drive with a 3-yard carry followed by a second down incompletion that went right through Kendall Hinton's hands. Newman stepped up on third down managing the pocket well before finding Kendall Hinton well down the field for a 27-yard gain to the WF 37. Newman had 2 incompletions after the big play to Hinton. The WF QB scrambled for 8 on third down, but was 2 yards short at the WF 45, ending the third quarter and leading to a punt. Wake Forest opened the fourth quarter with a punt that went over the end zone for a touchback.
Virginia Tech opened with a screen pass to James Mitchell who had space and turned it a big 30-yard gain to the 50. Hooker then found an open Damon Hazelton for 10 more yards and a first down at the WF 40. Keshawn King then find a hole, broke a tackle, and picked up 17 yards on the ground giving VT a first down at the WF 23. King gained 3 more to get VT into the red zone at the WF 20. Hazelton then made a defender miss and set up a 1st and goal at the 1 with a 19-yard reception. Virginia Tech would finish it off on the next play with a one-yard carry for a touchdown from James Mitchell, but fail to convert a two-point attempt, giving Virginia Tech a 29-17 lead with 11:44 to go.
Wake Forest had another fair catch to give themselves the ball at their 25. Newman opened by keeping the speed option for a 2-yard gain followed by a 2-yard carry for Cade Carney on second down to set up a 3rd and 6. Carney converted the third down with an 8-yard carry to the WF 37. Newman's first down pass was incomplete with Carney being stuffed for a one-yard loss on second down to set up a 3rd and 11. However, Newman found Sage Surratt on third down for a 14-yard gain to the 50 and a first down.
Newman once again opened this fresh set of downs with an incompletion followed by a delay of game to set up a 2nd and 15 at the WF 45. Despite the setback, Newman converted on the next play finding Kendall Hinton for a 16-yard completion a first down at the VT 39. Wake Forest kept it going with a 7-yard completion to Waydale Jones followed by a 2-yard carry for Newman to set up a 3rd and 1 at the VT 30. However, Wake wasn't able to convert on third down with Newman being stuffed for a one-yard loss, leading to a 4th and 2. Wake failed to convert with Newman's pass being too far out in front of Hinton, giving VT the ball with 7:02 to go at the VT 31.
Deshawn McClease started the drive with a 13-yard gain to get the Hokies to their 44. McClease gained 1 on the next play followed by a 5-yard scramble for Hooker to set up 3rd and 4 at the 50. The Hokies were unable to convert with an incompletion leading to a punt. Bradburn had another great punt that Virginia Tech downed at the Wake Forest 9.
After a first down incompletion, Virginia Tech hit Jamie Newman as he was throwing the ball causing the ball to go straight up and down into the hands of Dax Hollifield. VT's offense only needed one play as Hendon Hooker ran it in from 7 yards out to give the Hokies a 36-17 victory with 4:38 to go.
Wake Forest started at their own after another fair catch on a kickoff and started with their third-string QB Tayvon Bowers. The Demon Deacons gained no yards on first down followed by 10 yards from Courtney McKinney. McKinney gained three more on the 1st down at the WF 35, but Bowers lost those yards on the next play. Wake Forest was unable to convert on third down with an incompletion forcing a punt that went out of bounds at the VT 20.
Virginia Tech opened with a two-yard Keshawn King carry followed by Hendon Hooker kneeling it out on the final 2 plays.