Photo Credit: ACC Media
Entering this game, Virginia Tech was coming into this game off a shocking loss at Wake Forest and lacked momentum while Louisville was the trending team after a rout of Florida State. Leaving this game, the roles have flipped with the Hokies being the team with all the momentum.
Virginia Tech beat Louisville to improve to 4-2 (4-2 ACC) on the season while the Cardinals fell to 2-5 on the season (1-5 ACC).
Tech got off to a strong start with a 14-0 lead after the first quarter, improving their record to 3-0 in games where they have claimed a first quarter lead. Of course, this game did get tense at times, but the Hokies' offense came through in some big moments including a 24-yard TD run from Khalil Herbert to ice the game late.
Though the Hokies were outgained 548-466, Tech was the better offensive team with 0 turnovers compared to 3 for the Cardinals while stepping up in key moments both out of halftime after the 90-yard Javian Hawkins touchdown run and when Louisville first made it a one-score game in the 2nd half. However, 1-7 on third down is definitely a concern though averaging 7.64 yards per play is always a plus.
Defensively, Tech took advantage of their opportunities to force turnovers with 3 interceptions but allowing two touchdowns of 80+ yards is problematic along with 8.43 yards per play for the Cardinals. Tech did have 3 interceptions but allowing 350 passing yards isn't great though Tech's rush defense was solid allowing just over 100 rushing yards outside of the 90-yard Hawkins touchdown carry to end the first half.
Hendon Hooker bounced back with what may have been the best game of his Virginia Tech career going a perfect 10-10 for 183 yards while having 19 carries for 68 yards and 3 touchdowns, all of which came during the first half including 2 in the first quarter. It was pretty clear that last week's struggles were a fluke for Hooker who showed plenty of toughness taking some brutal hits and getting up from them with even more fight.
Khalil Herbert broke the 100 rushing yard mark for the fifth time in six games this season with 147 yards on 21 carries including the aforementioned 24-yard touchdown run that helped finish this game off. Tre Turner also had his best game of the season with a season-high 71 receiving yards on 4 catches to go with 2 carries for 10 yards and a touchdown.
Tayvion Robinson also played well with 2 catches for 53 yards along with a 28-yard carry and onside kick recovery while James Mitchell had 3 catches for 46 yards plus a pair of fair catch recoveries.
Alan Tisdale was the biggest defensive star of this game with 9 tackles including 2.5 for loss plus a pass breakup as the redshirt sophomore was all over the field today. Divine Deablo also had a big game with 7 tackles including 1 for loss plus an interception while Chamarri Conner had 9 tackles to go with an interception and a pass breakup.
We will have more as this story develops.