The 2020 Virginia Tech football team proved once again that the only thing that matters is how you finish.
The Hokies ended their arduous regular season with a cathartic win against their in-state rival, UVA. The victory served as payback for the close loss suffered last year at the hands of the Wahoos in Charlottesville.
Both teams came into this annual matchup as two sides of the same coin. Whereas the Hokies came in suffering from a four-game losing skid, UVA came in as one of the hottest teams in the ACC after winning its last four, including an upset over No. 15 North Carolina.
Virginia Tech started the game with a field goal on its first drive but would give up a touchdown reception to UVA quarterback Keytaon Thompson on its first defensive outing.
The Hokies took the lead back on their next drive with a touchdown on a jet sweep to senior wide receiver Tré Turner. This play would mark the beginning of a stretch where Virginia Tech would score 24 unanswered points that would balloon the lead to 27-7 by halftime.
“We maintained a couple of drives on third down,” said Hokies' head coach Justin Fuente during halftime. “We weren’t able to get as much on first and second down, so I thought that was big.”
The second half would open with another Virginia Tech field goal, but UVA would finally score another touchdown on its second drive of the half to make the score 30-15 after a two-point conversion.
The Wahoos seemed well on their way to getting more points on the board during their next drive until a timely interception from Hokies' cornerback Dorian Strong stopped them in their tracks. This led to another Virginia Tech field goal on the ensuing drive.
The rest of the game featured the Hokies' offense burning as much game clock as it could while the defense stymied the UVA offense for the rest of the game. This included a final interception from the Hokies’ senior safety Divine Deablo that effectively put the game away.
Among the top performers was Virginia Tech quarterback Braxton Burmeister. In a week where the identity of the Hokies’ starting quarterback was a mystery, Burmeister posted a solid performance going 15/22 and passing for 212 yards. His highlight play was a 60-yard strike to Tayvion Robinson for a touchdown.
The other standout player for the Hokies was running back Khalil Herbert who ran for his sixth 100-yard game of the season, finishing with 162 yards overall. His highlight came in the form of a 76-yard jaunt to the endzone during the first half which put the Hokies up by double digits.
“I was excited to leave my mark on the game and help my team get a win,” Herbert said. “The O-line did a great job opening up holes for me up front, coach did a great job play calling, and all-around everyone just did a great job.”
With lingering uncertainty as to whether or not Virginia Tech will be able to continue its illustrious bowl streak this year, this might have been the final game of the year. If this ends up being the case, then Blacksburg can at least breath a sigh of relief knowing the Hokies won the one game that truly mattered.