No. 23 Virginia Tech stepped up big in Saturday’s prime-time game against Boston College as it ousts the Boston College Eagles 40–14 and moves up to 3-1 on the season. Quarterback Hendon Hooker started his first game of the season and dominated as he passed for 11-15, 111 passing yards, a passing touchdown and rushed for 164 yards and three rushing touchdowns. Hooker had the most rushing yards for a quarterback since Virginia Tech’s own Michael Vick in 2000, who had 200 rushing yards. The Hokies’ defense crushed the Eagles’ offense as they made them turnover the ball five times from two interceptions and three lost fumbles.
In the first half of the game, the Hokies’ defense came to play as they killed the Eagles momentum early on with a forced fumble and recovery on the first drive of the game, and recovered the ball on the Eagles’ discombobulated handoff on Boston College’s second drive. Cornerback Devin Taylor intercepted Boston College’s quarterback Phil Jurkovec in the second quarter which further crushed the Eagles’ momentum.
The Hokies’ offense was able to score 10 of its 17 points in the first half off turnovers.
The return of defensive backs Divine Deablo, who was out due to COVID-19, and Chamarri Conner, who was ejected in the first quarter during last week’s North Carolina game, made a large difference for the defense. Deablo brought the experience back into the secondary, held it down defensively with good coverage and forced a fumble. Conner led the team in tackles in Saturday’s game with 11.
Though the Hokies gave up 345 passing yards, which sounds bad on paper, the defense had the Eagles’ offense on lock. Boston College came into the game with just three turnovers on the season and added five turnovers to that total. Defensive back Brion Murray was able to steal the ball with a 45-yard return in the fourth quarter. The Hokies also held the Boston College rushing attack to only 90 rushing yards, so it is safe to say they improved their rush defense from last game.
Virginia Tech’s offense looked solid in Hooker’s first start for the 2020 season. Running back Khalil Herbert and Hooker were simply a one-two punch and too much to handle for Boston College.
Virginia Tech’s offense was poised and confident with Hooker under center. Boston College's run defense was ranked fifth in the ACC going into this game; however, Virginia Tech was able to overpower it as it brought a smashmouth style of game plan into the matchup. The Hokies rushed for 350 rushing yards as a team, and junior transfer Raheem Blackshear even got in the mix and put up a 28-yard rushing touchdown in the fourth quarter.
A lot of credit goes to the Virginia Tech offensive linemen, as they continue to dominate in the trenches and create space for the rushing attack.
As the weeks continue, more and more Virginia Tech players continue to return as many of them recover from COVID-19; only 13 players still remain out. They show a lot of promise in this young season and hope to continuously improve.
Next, Virginia Tech will play the Wake Forest Demon Deacons at Truist Field in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, at 3:30 p.m. on Oct. 24. The Demon Deacons just picked up a win against the Virginia Cavaliers and currently have a record of 2-2. Virginia Tech won the last meeting with Wake Forest in 2019, and it looks to repeat that same success once more.