The 2023 season for the Virginia Tech football team was on the line in the Commonwealth Cup against in-state rival Virginia at Scott Stadium on Saturday. A win and the Hokies become bowl-eligible. A loss and it’s a long offseason looking ahead to 2024.
When Virginia Tech needed to step up, they did. For the second consecutive road game (they blasted Boston College, 48-22, on Nov. 11), way from Blacksburg, where they were 0-4 in their first four tries, and rolled over the Cavaliers, 55-17, to get the valuable sixth win and bowl game next month. The 55 points were the most scored by either team in the rivalry and three more than the Hokies put up in 2016.
Like at BC, Virginia Tech scored early and often, took control of the game, and never allowed the Virginia offense to get into any rhythm when the game was close. The defense made it a long afternoon for Cavaliers quarterback Anthony Colandrea, sacking him four times in the first half alone.
Offensively, Virginia Tech pulled out all the tricks in the playbook and made big play after big play to get first-half separation from the Cavaliers. Here is some instant reaction from the Hokies rout of Virginia.
Instant reaction to a Virginia Tech win over Virginia
- It was a message sent in the first half by the Hokies. They held a healthy advantage in each category. They had 294 total yards to 60 for the Cavaliers, they had 10 first downs compared to five for Virginia and their play calling and fourth down decision making was flawless.
- I’m not one that bashes officiating in any sport and it’s a very hard job, but the holding call on Kaden Moore was, well, questionable at best. The Virginia lineman fell down and yes, Moore didn’t help his cause by falling on him, however, if that is called on every play, it’s going to be a long game. It’s too bad because the catch and run by Jaylin Lane was beautiful. He caught it in stride and they outran three Virginia defensive backs.
- Colandrea made his bold prediction after the Cavaliers beat Duke, 30-27, last weekend and the Virginia Tech defense played like a motivated group that was offered a challenge in the first half. They sacked him four times and held to 10-for-20 passing for 76 yards. Message sent, message received.
- What an afternoon for Bhayshul Tuten. He rushed for 119 yards, and a touchdown and he returned his second kickoff for a touchdown this season in the second half. What a second half of the season the North Carolina A&T transfer has had.
- Offensive coordinator Tyler Bowen had a great day calling plays and the passing game was spread around. Da’Quan Felton had three receptions for 133 yards and a pair of touchdowns and Stephen Gosnell had one reception for 44 yards and a touchdown. Even Tucker Holloway got involved with a 33-yard touchdown run on a double reverse. Malachi Thomas got into the end zone in the fourth quarter when the starters were pulled.
- Defensively, it was one of the better all-around performances for the Hokies. They had four sacks, they tackled very well and didn’t allow the big plays they had earlier this season. Like Bowen, it was a good game plan from defensive coordinator Chris Marve.
In the end, the Hokies accomplished what they wanted to, they became bowl-eligible and despite not needing the style points, they got them. At 6-6, they will find out next week which bowl they are going to and who their opponent is. Credit to Brent Pry and his staff for the turnaround they had in the ACC to finish 5-3.