Nov 28, 2020; Clemson, SC, USA; Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence (16) warms up with his team before the game against Pittsburgh at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ken Ruinard-USA TODAY Sports

No. 3 Clemson clubs Va. Tech, earns spot in ACC title game

Trevor Lawrence ran for two touchdowns and passed for another as No. 3 Clemson pulled away to a 45-10 victory over Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Va., on Saturday.

Lawrence completed 12-of-22 passes for 195 yards and was intercepted once. He gained 41 yards on the ground as the Tigers outscored the Hokies 28-0 in the second half.

Clemson (9-1, 8-1 ACC) clinched a berth in the ACC Championship game and will face No. 2 Notre Dame in Charlotte on Dec. 19.

Virginia Tech (4-6, 4-5) committed three second-half turnovers and used three quarterbacks due to injuries. The Hokies have lost four straight and are 0-4 against ranked opponents.

Khalil Herbert rushed for 96 yards on 21 carries and scored Virginia Tech’s lone touchdown.

The Tigers were poised to stretch their seven-point halftime lead midway through the third quarter but Divine Deablo picked off Lawrence in the end zone.

Lawrence soon redeemed himself after Mario Goodrich recovered a Braxton Burmeister fumble at the Hokies’ 12-yard line. Lawrence scored two plays later on a 7-yard scamper to give his team a 24-10 lead.

After Burmeister was injured, Hendon Hooker replaced him at quarterback and fumbled a shotgun snap later in the quarter. The Tigers’ Derion Kendrick returned it 66 yards for a touchdown.

Lawrence connected with Cornell Powell on a 65-yard pass play with 10:16 remaining to make it 38-10.

Darien Rencher added a 50-yard scoring run with four minutes left.

The Tigers led 17-10 at halftime.

B.T. Potter’s 28-yard field goal opened the scoring for Clemson. Virginia Tech took the lead on Herbert’s 4-yard run. Burmeister’s 48-yard completion to Tayvion Robinson highlighted that drive.

Clemson regained the lead on Lawrence’s 17-yard scoring run but Brian Johnson tied it on a 54-yard field goal.

Lyn-J Dixon’s 19-yard run with 1:06 remaining in the half put the Tigers back on top.

Virginia Tech nearly scored on a Hail Mary pass as the clock expired but Raheem Blackshear was stopped just shy of the goal line on the 42-yard completion.

–Field Level Media

Nov 21, 2020; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA;  Pittsburgh Panthers defensive back Marquis Williams (14) breaks up a pass intended for Virginia Tech Hokies wide receiver Tre Turner (11) during the second quarter at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Pitt crushes Va. Tech behind Pickett’s 3 TDs

Senior Kenny Pickett passed for 404 yards and two touchdowns and ran for another, leading the host Pittsburgh Panthers to a 47-14 win over the Virginia Tech Hokies in an ACC game on Saturday.

Senior wide receiver DJ Turner caught 15 passes for 184 yards and one TD, helping Pitt (5-4, 4-4 ACC) win its second straight game. Turner’s 15 receptions were one short of a school record.

Pickett completed 35-of-52 passes, with one interception. He threw 40 times in the first half alone. A.J. Davis ran 12 times for 80 yards and one score, and Alex Kessman added four field goals, including boots of 53 and 52 yards for the Panthers.

Quarterback Hendon Hooker and wide receiver Tre Turner led the Hokies (4-5, 4-4), who have lost three straight games.

Hooker completed 13-of-22 passes for 260 yards and two touchdowns. He also ran 14 times for 53 yards. Hooker entered the game ranked first in the nation in rushing yards by a quarterback and second in TD runs by a QB, but he was kept out of the end zone by Pitt.

Tre Turner caught three passes for 74 yards and two touchdowns.

Due to COVID-19 concerns, the Panthers were without 16 players, including three starting offensive linemen and star wide receiver Jordan Addison.

Virginia Tech was without 12 players, including one starter on each line and two key defensive backs.

Pitt, which never trailed, led 23-14 at halftime, and the Panthers started the game with three Kessman field goals.

Virginia Tech cut its deficit to 9-7 on Hooker’s 55-yard touchdown pass to Turner, who ran a deep post.

The teams traded long touchdown drives on the next three possessions.

Pitt got a touchdown on Vincent Davis’ one-yard run; Turner went up to catch a high, seven-yard TD throw from Hooker; and Pickett fired an 11-yarder to Jaylon Barden.

On that last play, Pickett made a brilliant spin move to avoid a sack and then threw across his body to Barden, who scored his first career TD.

The Panthers put the game away in the third quarter, getting another Kessman field goal, Pickett’s 64-yard TD pass to Turner and Pickett’s one-yard run to make it 40-17. On the TD pass, Turner beat the Hokies over the top and then dragged two defenders into the end zone.

Davis’ one-yard run with 2:39 left in the fourth quarter gave Pitt a 47-14 lead, capping the scoring.

–Field Level Media

Oct 10, 2020; Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA; Virginia Tech Hokies quarterback Hendon Hooker (2) passes the ball to tight end James Mitchell (82) as North Carolina Tar Heels linebacker Chazz Surratt (21) pressures in the third quarter at Kenan Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Pitt, Virginia Tech hoping to play despite COVID-19 concerns

You could say there are three opponents in play for Saturday’s ACC game between the Pitt Panthers and Virginia Tech Hokies at Heinz Field. The interloper is COVID-19, which could force a postponement.

As of Tuesday, Pitt’s football activities were shut down because of the virus, which forced the postponement last week of the Panthers’ game against Georgia Tech. An unknown number of Pitt players tested positive last week, and test results this week will determine the status of the Virginia Tech game.

“It’s a silent little killer,” Pitt linebacker Chase Pine said. “It got us, but we’re going to come back stronger.”

Pitt (4-4, 3-4 ACC) broke a four-game losing streak two weeks ago with a 41-17 win over Florida State, but any momentum might have been lost with the forced open weekend.

At the least, Pitt will have limited practice this week.

“We can practice once (and be prepared), to be honest with you,” Panthers coach Pat Narduzzi said. “But you like to get two in.

“We expect to play the Virginia Tech game. We hope we’re not let down again. It will be up to our team and players on how safe they are out there.”

The Hokies (4-4, 4-3) have lost three of their past four games but nearly pulled off an upset last week in a 25-24 setback against then-No. 9 Miami, a game they led for 54 minutes before the Hurricanes pulled it out.

They are preparing and practicing as per usual.

“We deal with uncertainty every day,” Virginia Tech coach Justin Fuente said.

“I think our guys have done a great job handling (the pandemic). We can’t approach this week with any different mindset.”

If Pitt gets clearance to play, the matchup to watch will be the Panthers’ defense against Virginia Tech’s offense.

The Panthers rank first in the ACC on defense, allowing 296.5 yards a game. They lead the country with an average of 11.6 tackles for loss, with linebacker SirVocea Dennis tied for second nationally with 13.5. They also lead the ACC and rank second in the nation with 4.75 sacks a game, led by defensive end Patrick Jones II’s eight.

In particular, Pitt is stingy against the run. Opponents are gaining just 78.8 yards a game and a national-best 2.2 yards a carry on the ground.

Something, then, will have to give, as the Hokies lead the conference with 262.8 rushing yards a game. Khalil Herbert averages 8.2 yards a carry and quarterback Hendon Hooker 5.6.

However, Virginia Tech had a season-worst 160 yards rushing against Miami, as Hooker was sacked six times (with 46 yards in losses) also a season-most for the team.

“We’ll have a similar challenge (against Pitt),” Fuente said. “These guys are just as big and just as athletic on the defensive line, but they put more people in the box than Miami. We’re going to go against a big, athletic defensive line that pressures the passer.

“I know that there’s nobody in America that devotes as many hats in the box to the run game as Pat (Narduzzi) does. It makes it very, very difficult to run the ball at all.”

And that’s if the game is played at all.

–Field Level Media

Oct 10, 2020; Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA; Virginia Tech Hokies quarterback Hendon Hooker (2) passes the ball to tight end James Mitchell (82) as North Carolina Tar Heels linebacker Chazz Surratt (21) pressures in the third quarter at Kenan Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Pitt, Virginia Tech hoping to play despite COVID-19 concerns

You could say there are three opponents in play for Saturday’s ACC game between the Pitt Panthers and Virginia Tech Hokies at Heinz Field. The interloper is COVID-19, which could force a postponement.

As of Tuesday, Pitt’s football activities were shut down because of the virus, which forced the postponement last week of the Panthers’ game against Georgia Tech. An unknown number of Pitt players tested positive last week, and test results this week will determine the status of the Virginia Tech game.

“It’s a silent little killer,” Pitt linebacker Chase Pine said. “It got us, but we’re going to come back stronger.”

Pitt (4-4, 3-4 ACC) broke a four-game losing streak two weeks ago with a 41-17 win over Florida State, but any momentum might have been lost with the forced open weekend.

At the least, Pitt will have limited practice this week.

“We can practice once (and be prepared), to be honest with you,” Panthers coach Pat Narduzzi said. “But you like to get two in.

“We expect to play the Virginia Tech game. We hope we’re not let down again. It will be up to our team and players on how safe they are out there.”

The Hokies (4-4, 4-3) have lost three of their past four games but nearly pulled off an upset last week in a 25-24 setback against then-No. 9 Miami, a game they led for 54 minutes before the Hurricanes pulled it out.

They are preparing and practicing as per usual.

“We deal with uncertainty every day,” Virginia Tech coach Justin Fuente said.

“I think our guys have done a great job handling (the pandemic). We can’t approach this week with any different mindset.”

If Pitt gets clearance to play, the matchup to watch will be the Panthers’ defense against Virginia Tech’s offense.

The Panthers rank first in the ACC on defense, allowing 296.5 yards a game. They lead the country with an average of 11.6 tackles for loss, with linebacker SirVocea Dennis tied for second nationally with 13.5. They also lead the ACC and rank second in the nation with 4.75 sacks a game, led by defensive end Patrick Jones II’s eight.

In particular, Pitt is stingy against the run. Opponents are gaining just 78.8 yards a game and a national-best 2.2 yards a carry on the ground.

Something, then, will have to give, as the Hokies lead the conference with 262.8 rushing yards a game. Khalil Herbert averages 8.2 yards a carry and quarterback Hendon Hooker 5.6.

However, Virginia Tech had a season-worst 160 yards rushing against Miami, as Hooker was sacked six times (with 46 yards in losses) also a season-most for the team.

“We’ll have a similar challenge (against Pitt),” Fuente said. “These guys are just as big and just as athletic on the defensive line, but they put more people in the box than Miami. We’re going to go against a big, athletic defensive line that pressures the passer.

“I know that there’s nobody in America that devotes as many hats in the box to the run game as Pat (Narduzzi) does. It makes it very, very difficult to run the ball at all.”

And that’s if the game is played at all.

–Field Level Media

Oct 10, 2020; Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA; Virginia Tech Hokies quarterback Hendon Hooker (2) passes the ball to tight end James Mitchell (82) as North Carolina Tar Heels linebacker Chazz Surratt (21) pressures in the third quarter at Kenan Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Pitt, Virginia Tech hoping to play despite COVID-19 concerns

You could say there are three opponents in play for Saturday’s ACC game between the Pitt Panthers and Virginia Tech Hokies at Heinz Field. The interloper is COVID-19, which could force a postponement.

As of Tuesday, Pitt’s football activities were shut down because of the virus, which forced the postponement last week of the Panthers’ game against Georgia Tech. An unknown number of Pitt players tested positive last week, and test results this week will determine the status of the Virginia Tech game.

“It’s a silent little killer,” Pitt linebacker Chase Pine said. “It got us, but we’re going to come back stronger.”

Pitt (4-4, 3-4 ACC) broke a four-game losing streak two weeks ago with a 41-17 win over Florida State, but any momentum might have been lost with the forced open weekend.

At the least, Pitt will have limited practice this week.

“We can practice once (and be prepared), to be honest with you,” Panthers coach Pat Narduzzi said. “But you like to get two in.

“We expect to play the Virginia Tech game. We hope we’re not let down again. It will be up to our team and players on how safe they are out there.”

The Hokies (4-4, 4-3) have lost three of their past four games but nearly pulled off an upset last week in a 25-24 setback against then-No. 9 Miami, a game they led for 54 minutes before the Hurricanes pulled it out.

They are preparing and practicing as per usual.

“We deal with uncertainty every day,” Virginia Tech coach Justin Fuente said.

“I think our guys have done a great job handling (the pandemic). We can’t approach this week with any different mindset.”

If Pitt gets clearance to play, the matchup to watch will be the Panthers’ defense against Virginia Tech’s offense.

The Panthers rank first in the ACC on defense, allowing 296.5 yards a game. They lead the country with an average of 11.6 tackles for loss, with linebacker SirVocea Dennis tied for second nationally with 13.5. They also lead the ACC and rank second in the nation with 4.75 sacks a game, led by defensive end Patrick Jones II’s eight.

In particular, Pitt is stingy against the run. Opponents are gaining just 78.8 yards a game and a national-best 2.2 yards a carry on the ground.

Something, then, will have to give, as the Hokies lead the conference with 262.8 rushing yards a game. Khalil Herbert averages 8.2 yards a carry and quarterback Hendon Hooker 5.6.

However, Virginia Tech had a season-worst 160 yards rushing against Miami, as Hooker was sacked six times (with 46 yards in losses) also a season-most for the team.

“We’ll have a similar challenge (against Pitt),” Fuente said. “These guys are just as big and just as athletic on the defensive line, but they put more people in the box than Miami. We’re going to go against a big, athletic defensive line that pressures the passer.

“I know that there’s nobody in America that devotes as many hats in the box to the run game as Pat (Narduzzi) does. It makes it very, very difficult to run the ball at all.”

And that’s if the game is played at all.

–Field Level Media

Oct 10, 2020; Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA; Virginia Tech Hokies quarterback Hendon Hooker (2) passes the ball to tight end James Mitchell (82) as North Carolina Tar Heels linebacker Chazz Surratt (21) pressures in the third quarter at Kenan Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Pitt, Virginia Tech hoping to play despite COVID-19 concerns

You could say there are three opponents in play for Saturday’s ACC game between the Pitt Panthers and Virginia Tech Hokies at Heinz Field. The interloper is COVID-19, which could force a postponement.

As of Tuesday, Pitt’s football activities were shut down because of the virus, which forced the postponement last week of the Panthers’ game against Georgia Tech. An unknown number of Pitt players tested positive last week, and test results this week will determine the status of the Virginia Tech game.

“It’s a silent little killer,” Pitt linebacker Chase Pine said. “It got us, but we’re going to come back stronger.”

Pitt (4-4, 3-4 ACC) broke a four-game losing streak two weeks ago with a 41-17 win over Florida State, but any momentum might have been lost with the forced open weekend.

At the least, Pitt will have limited practice this week.

“We can practice once (and be prepared), to be honest with you,” Panthers coach Pat Narduzzi said. “But you like to get two in.

“We expect to play the Virginia Tech game. We hope we’re not let down again. It will be up to our team and players on how safe they are out there.”

The Hokies (4-4, 4-3) have lost three of their past four games but nearly pulled off an upset last week in a 25-24 setback against then-No. 9 Miami, a game they led for 54 minutes before the Hurricanes pulled it out.

They are preparing and practicing as per usual.

“We deal with uncertainty every day,” Virginia Tech coach Justin Fuente said.

“I think our guys have done a great job handling (the pandemic). We can’t approach this week with any different mindset.”

If Pitt gets clearance to play, the matchup to watch will be the Panthers’ defense against Virginia Tech’s offense.

The Panthers rank first in the ACC on defense, allowing 296.5 yards a game. They lead the country with an average of 11.6 tackles for loss, with linebacker SirVocea Dennis tied for second nationally with 13.5. They also lead the ACC and rank second in the nation with 4.75 sacks a game, led by defensive end Patrick Jones II’s eight.

In particular, Pitt is stingy against the run. Opponents are gaining just 78.8 yards a game and a national-best 2.2 yards a carry on the ground.

Something, then, will have to give, as the Hokies lead the conference with 262.8 rushing yards a game. Khalil Herbert averages 8.2 yards a carry and quarterback Hendon Hooker 5.6.

However, Virginia Tech had a season-worst 160 yards rushing against Miami, as Hooker was sacked six times (with 46 yards in losses) also a season-most for the team.

“We’ll have a similar challenge (against Pitt),” Fuente said. “These guys are just as big and just as athletic on the defensive line, but they put more people in the box than Miami. We’re going to go against a big, athletic defensive line that pressures the passer.

“I know that there’s nobody in America that devotes as many hats in the box to the run game as Pat (Narduzzi) does. It makes it very, very difficult to run the ball at all.”

And that’s if the game is played at all.

–Field Level Media

Sep 7, 2019; Chapel Hill, NC, USA; Miami Hurricanes head coach Manny Diaz stands on the sidelines as his team plays the North Carolina Tar Heels at Kenan Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Nell Redmond-USA TODAY Sports

No. 9 Miami rallies, takes down host Virginia Tech

D’Eriq King threw a go-ahead, 36-yard touchdown pass to Mark Pope with 5:59 left in the fourth quarter, rallying the ninth-ranked Miami Hurricanes to a 25-24 win over the host Virginia Tech Hokies on Saturday afternoon at Blacksburg, Va.

The Hokies (4-4, 4-3 ACC) blew an 11-point third-quarter lead and lost their second straight game.

Miami (7-1, 6-1), which won its fourth straight game, stopped the Hokies on their final five drives, getting an interception from Te’Cory Couch, forcing three punts and earning a stop on Virginia Tech’s possession in the final seconds.

King was outstanding, completing 24-of-38 passes for 255 yards, with no interceptions. Miami receiver Dee Wiggins had eight catches for 106 yards.

Virginia Tech got two touchdown runs from Jalen Holston.

Hokies quarterback Hendon Hooker, who made his first collegiate start last year in a win over Miami, passed for 202 yards and ran for 59, including one touchdown.

Both teams got key players back from injury.

The Hokies got running back Khalil Herbert back from a hamstring injury. Herbert, who entered the game ranked third in the ACC in rushing, rushed eight times for 49 yards against Miami.

For Miami, it was tight end Brevin Jordan, who returned and had two catches for 22 yards.

However, the Hurricanes were missing 13 players due to injury/illness, including four starters: left tackle John Campbell, left guard Jakai Clark, defensive tackle Jared Harrison-Hunte and linebacker Zach McCloud.

Virginia Tech led 7-3 after the first quarter. Hooker ran for a 53-yard touchdown, and Miami’s Jose Borregales made a 42-yard field goal. Earlier in the quarter, Miami’s fake field goal, with Borregales running, failed.

The Hokies stretched their lead to 14-3 on Holston’s 8-yard run with 8:47 left in the second quarter.

But Miami cut its deficit to 14-13 at halftime after getting King’s 10-yard run and Borregales’ 40-yarder that came with just four seconds left in the second quarter.

The Hokies stretched their third-quarter lead to 24-13 on Holston’s 1-yard run and Brian Johnson’s 38-yard field goal.

But with 1:27 left in the third, Miami cut its deficit to 24-19 on Cam’Ron Harris’ 6-yard run. Miami’s two-point conversion pass failed.

Miami took its first lead of the game on King’s 36-yard slant pass to Pope, who caught the ball perfectly in stride and ran the final 20 yards. Miami’s two-point conversion failed again, but the Hurricanes held defensively to earn the narrow win.

–Field Level Media

Oct 17, 2020; Syracuse, NY, USA;  Liberty Flames quarterback Malik Willis (7) scores on a touchdown run in the first half during a game against Syracuse on Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020, at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse, N.Y.
 Mandatory Credit: Dennis Nett/Pool Photo-USA TODAY Sports

No. 25 Liberty beats Va. Tech on 51-yard FG

Alex Barbir kicked a 51-yard field goal with a second remaining to keep No. 25 Liberty unbeaten with a stunning 38-35 victory over Virginia Tech Saturday afternoon in Blacksburg, Va.

Barbir’s successful kick came after a Tech timeout negated his attempt that was blocked and returned for a Hokies’ touchdown as time ran out.

Quarterback Malik Willis completed 20 of 30 passes for 217 yards in engineering scoring drives covering 75, 80, 95, 6 and 75 yards to put the Flames (7-0) up 35-28 with 1:41 left in the game. He had three touchdowns passing and one rushing.

But Hendon Hooker was 20 of 27 passing for 217 yards and answered that score with a 12-yard touchdown pass to Tre Turner to tie the game at 35 with 52 seconds remaining. Willis then got the Flames into position to try a decisive field goal with a crucial 8-yard completion to CJ Yarbrough.
Both quarterbacks had big rushing games.

Willis had 19 carries for 108 yards and a touchdown.

After leading rusher Khalil Herbert injured a hamstring returning a kickoff and was sidelined early in the first quarter, Hooker rushed for 101 yards a touchdown in the first half on his way to 156 yards on 20 carries for the game.

The Hokies (4-3, 4-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) went into the halftime break up 20-14 after cashing in on two Liberty turnovers for 10 points in the second quarter. Hooker scored on a 12-yard run up the middle after a fumble recovery gave the Hokies the ball at Liberty’s 30-yard line, and he drove his team from his own 9-yard line after another fumble recovery for Brian Johnson’s chip shot field goal with a second left in the half.

Willis was 10-of-15 passing for 121 yards and two touchdowns in the first half but also was responsible for both of Liberty’s lost fumbles.

–Field Level Media

Sep 26, 2020; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA;  Louisville Cardinals head coach Scott Satterfield looks on from the sidelines against the Pittsburgh Panthers during the second quarter at Heinz Field. Pittsburgh won 23-20. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Hooker helps Virginia Tech knock off Louisville

Hendon Hooker complemented a perfect passing performance with three rushing touchdowns, and Khalil Herbert capped his 147-yard rushing afternoon with a 24-yard touchdown run that sealed Virginia Tech’s 42-35 win over host Louisville in Atlantic Coast Conference play on Saturday.

Hooker went 10-of-10 passing for 183 yards, and contributed 68 of the Hokies’ 283 rushing yards. The performance was a significant bounce-back for the quarterback, who threw three interceptions at Wake Forest on Oct. 24, and for the Hokies (4-2, 4-2 ACC).

Coming off last week’s loss, in which Virginia Tech’s offense sputtered to just 16 points, the Hokies cleared that mark by the early second quarter. They took a 21-0 lead, all on Hooker touchdown runs, and looked headed for an easy win.

But Louisville (2-5, 1-5) whittled away at the deficit behind quarterback Malik Cunningham and running back Javian Hawkins. Cunningham went 23-of-35 for 350 yards with three touchdowns and three interceptions, and Hawkins ripped off 7.6 yards per carry en route to 129 with a touchdown on the ground, and another score as a receiver.

Cunningham found Dez Fitzpatrick for 82 of Fitzpatrick’s 158 yards on a fourth-quarter touchdown. After holding Virginia Tech to a field goal, Maurice Burkley punched in a 13-yard touchdown that brought Louisville all the way back to within six points.

The second-half resurgence marked a dramatic departure from the first two-plus quarters. Cunningham threw two interceptions in the first half, and a third on the Cardinals’ first possession after intermission.

Devin Taylor, Divine Deablo and Chamarri Conner accounted for the three picks.

Despite the turnovers, Louisville racked up 548 yards to Virginia Tech’s 466.

The Cardinals attempted an onside kick following Burkley’s touchdown run. Tayvion Robinson — who set up Virginia Tech’s critical fourth-quarter field goal with a 42-yard reception — made perhaps his most important play of the day, charging in and snagging the recovery ahead of a Louisville player to give the Hokies possession.

The ensuing drive ended with Herbert’s touchdown run, punctuation on a productive day for the Hokies running back. Tre Turner added a goal-line touchdown rush for Virginia Tech.

–Field Level Media