How Virginia Tech's six departing players performed in the Military Bowl

Six members of the Virginia Tech football team who are leaving following the Hokies Military Bowl win over Tulane Wednesday had a hand in the 41-20 victory.
Military Bowl presented by - Virginia Tech v Tulane
Military Bowl presented by - Virginia Tech v Tulane / Greg Fiume/GettyImages

The Virginia Tech football team ended the 2023 season at 7-6 with a 41-20 victory over Tulane University in the Military Bowl Wednesday afternoon. There are a lot of players returning to Blacksburg in 2024, however, there are some members of the Hokies who are moving on for different reasons.

Six members of the Virginia Tech 2023 team that will not be returning in 2024 participated in the Military Bowl and had a hand in the victory for memories they won't forget in a season that is turning into a key one in the Hokies rebuild under Brent Pry. Here are the six Tech players who wore the uniform for the last time as a Hokie and their contributions to the win.

Six Hokies leaving had an impact in the win over Tulane

1. Alan Tisdale

Wednesday was the last game for Tisdale in a Hokies uniform and the linebacker was a big presence on defense for Chris Marve's unit. He finished with seven tackles and was all over the place against the Green Wave.

2. Pheldarius Payne

In the second quarter, Tulane was driving and poised to find the end zone, but Payne made one of the biggest plays of the game. He got into the backfield quickly and hit Green Wave quarterback Kai Horton to force a fumble that Antwaun Powell-Ryland was able to recover. Payne finished with a pair of tackles with his forced fumble in his final game.

3. Derrick Canteen & Norell Pollard

Canteen announced after the win over Virginia that he was going to enter the transfer protal, but he wanted to finish out the season with his teammates. He only had one tackle, but his presence was enough to keep Tulane from throwing his way when they actually threw the ball. Pollard had one tackle as well.

4. Da'Wain Lofton

Trailing 7-3 late in the first quarter, the Hokies were forced to punt in the rain. Ball security was going to be big and Virginia Tech caught a break on the punt. Tulane's punt returner muffed the punt and Lofton, who is also in the transfer portal like Canteen, recovered the fumble, which led to a Kyron Drones touchdown run. Game-changing play.

5. Mario Kendricks

Kendricks, a senior, had two tackles from his defensive line position. He finished the season with 14 tackles, nine solo, and 1.5 sacks in his final season in Blacksburg.

These players will be missed going forward, but they got one last opportunity to play with their Virginia Tech teammates and took advantage of it.