The Virginia Tech football team and head coach Brent Pry were looking to finish off the 2023 season in style on Wednesday afternoon in the Military Bowl against Tulane University. After starting the season 1-3, the Hokies went 5-3 in ACC play to become bowl-eligible against a very good Green Wave team that entered 11-2.
Yes, Tulane's roster was not the same one that lost to SMU, 26-14, in the AAC Championship game on Dec. 2 as they were missing their head coach who left for Houston, and several of their offensive stars who opted out for multiple reasons. Pry said going into the game that they were still a good team despite his team being a double-digit favorite.
The weather played havoc on both teams as it rained for most of the game and the second half was played in a downpour, but that didn't stop Virginia Tech from finishing off the season in style. Pry's team established the run early and often and exploded for 24 second-half points to pull away from the Green Wave for a 41-20 victory at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium to close out the season at 7-6 and their first bowl win since 2016.
Instant reaction from Virginia Tech's win over Tulane
1. Tulane's run defense is very good, but they had a hard time containing Bhayshul Tuten and Kyron Drones. The Hokies' QB finished with 176 rushing yards and a touchdown, including a 51-yard run in the third quarter. Tuten finished with 138 yards rushing and two touchdowns.
2. Turnovers were key in the game as Tulane's first two touchdowns were set up by Hokies fumbles, including one in the first quarter and one in the third quarter. Tulane also turned the ball over, but those two turnovers by Tech were the only reason the game was close.
3. When Drones did throw the ball, he threw touchdown passes to a pair of tight ends, Harrison Saint Germain and Benji Gosnell. Saint Germain's gave the Hokies a 17-10 halftime lead with eight seconds left in the second quarter, then Drones hit Gosnell in the fourth quarter for a 34-20 lead.
4. The score may not show it, but the Virginia Tech defense played well. The fumbles left them in a tough spot a couple of times, but they did a good job of limiting big plays. They were flying around all afternoon.
5. This is the best possible way for the Hokies to go into 2024, winning their final game, six out of nine after a disastrous start in September in the non-conference. Don't be surprised to see the Hokies as a preseason Top 25 team next summer. At least they should be anyway.