Sep 22, 2022; Blacksburg, Virginia, USA; West Virginia Mountaineers wide receiver Kaden Prather (3) runs the ball between Virginia Tech Hokies linebacker Dax Hollifield (4) and defensive back Chamarri Conner (25) at Lane Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

West Virginia pulls away for win at Virginia Tech

JT Daniels threw for a touchdown and Casey Legg made four field goals to lift West Virginia to a 33-10 victory over Virginia Tech on Thursday in Blacksburg, Va.

Daniels completed passes to eight different receivers and finished 20 of 30 for 203 yards. Kaden Prather had six receptions for 69 yards, and Sam James reeled in a 24-yard touchdown toss late in the first half.

CJ Donaldson rushed for 106 yards and Justin Johnson Jr. added 83 more and a touchdown for the Mountaineers (2-2), who held a decisive 218-35 edge in the yards on the ground.

Mountaineers defensive back Jacolby Spells capped the scoring after breaking on a slant and returning an interception 27 yards for a touchdown in the fourth quarter.

West Virginia native Grant Wells completed 16 of 35 passes for 193 yards and a touchdown for the Hokies (2-2), who were penalized 15 times for 132 yards.

The Mountaineers benefited from a late flourish toward the end of the first half to take a 13-7 lead into intermission.

Legg kicked a 35-yard field goal to trim Virginia Tech’s lead to 7-6 with 1:50 to play in the second quarter. The Mountaineers stopped the Hokies on their next possession before James gained a step on Virginia Tech linebacker Dax Hollifield for a 24-yard touchdown reception with 11 seconds left.

The teams traded field goals in the third quarter before West Virginia put the game away in the fourth.

The Mountaineers had a drive extended by a roughing-the-passer penalty on fourth down and then by a hands-to-the-face infraction on a subsequent third-and-14. Johnson bolted up the middle for a 6-yard score early in the fourth to extend West Virginia’s advantage to 23-10.

Legg added a 38-yard field goal with 10:16 left in the fourth quarter before Spells sealed the win for the Mountaineers.

West Virginia capped a 14-play, 92-yard drive with a 23-yard field goal by Legg to open the scoring before Virginia Tech answered on the ensuing possession.

Kaleb Smith snared a pass over his back shoulder in the right corner of the end zone for a 28-yard touchdown pass from Wells. Smith wound up with five catches for 70 yards.

–Field Level Media

Sep 10, 2022; Blacksburg, Virginia, USA;  Virginia Tech Hokies quarterback Grant Wells (6) throws a pass as Virginia Tech Hokies offensive lineman Jesse Hanson (72) and  offensive lineman Silas Dzansi (60) block during the second half against the Boston College Eagles at Lane Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Virginia Tech back on track as West Virginia visits

Virginia Tech aims to complete a perfect three-game homestand on Thursday night when they host West Virginia in a primetime showdown at Blacksburg, Va.

The Hokies (2-1) answered a 20-17 road loss to Old Dominion on Sept. 2 with convincing victories over Boston College and Wofford.

A transfer from Marshall, quarterback Grant Wells rebounded from a four-interception performance against Old Dominion by tossing three touchdowns without a pick over his last two games.

“I thought I played well,” the West Virginia native said after he threw for 314 yards in the Hokies’ 27-7 victory over Wofford on Saturday.

“Made some completions to start drives, and then we had some big third-down conversions that really helped the momentum of the offense. When you have drive starters like that that get the whole drive, the whole mood, started, it really helps.”

Jalen Holston rushed for a touchdown in his second straight game for Virginia Tech. He also reeled in a 29-yard touchdown reception in the Hokies’ 27-21 setback to the Mountaineers last season at Morgantown, W.Va.

West Virginia (1-2) ignited its offense by scoring on all 10 of its possessions (nine touchdowns, one field goal) in a 65-7 romp over FCS foe Towson on Saturday.

Freshman CJ Donaldson found the end zone on three occasions during the first half, including an 82-yard scamper down the sideline. He has rushed for 274 yards and six touchdowns in three games this season.

Fellow running back Tony Mathis Jr. scored two first-half touchdowns on Saturday before finishing with 104 yards on 17 carries.

“I bring the speed and CJ brings the power,” Mathis said.

The Mountaineers got up early and did not take their foot off the gas despite resting starters and going deep into the bench.

“These types of games are important for the morale of your football team,” West Virginia coach Neal Brown said after his team rolled up 624 yards of total offense. “We were able to sub about three-quarters of the way into the second quarter and we played a lot of guys.

“There’s probably some guys that showed up in the third and fourth quarter that put stuff on film that may warrant some more playing time.”

–Field Level Media

Sep 10, 2022; Blacksburg, Virginia, USA;  Virginia Tech Hokies running back Keshawn King (23) runs for a touchdown during the second quarter against the Boston College Eagles at Lane Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Virginia Tech pulls away to defeat Boston College

Virginia Tech scored 17 points in the first half and played smothering defense en route to a 27-10 win over Boston College in Saturday night’s Atlantic Coast Conference opener in Blacksburg, Va.

Grant Wells (16-for-25, 140 yards) passed for a touchdown, and Keshawn King and Jalen Holston each ran for one to help the Hokies (1-1) bounce back from a season-opening loss at Old Dominion.

The win was Brent Pry’s first as Virginia Tech head coach and the Hokies’ seventh straight in a home debut.

The Eagles (0-2) were held to 155 total yards (only four rushing) and punted 10 times.

Only 54 of Boston College’s yards came in the first half, but Phil Jurkovec (16-for-29, 144 yards) brought the Eagles back within a touchdown in the third quarter.

The Hokies snatched momentum early as Armani Chatman intercepted Jurkovec’s first throw of the night and turned it into Holston’s 1-yard touchdown run eight plays later.

William Ross nailed a 48-yard field goal to extend Virginia Tech’s lead in the final minute of the first quarter. He also hit from 38 yards out with 4:20 left in the fourth.

After Boston College went 3-and-out on its fourth series, the Hokies took the ball back and quickly made it 17-0 when King began busted through the middle for a 65-yard score just 59 seconds into the second quarter.

King didn’t play after his touchdown, but there was no immediate update on his status.

The Eagles had minus yardage over their first seven drives and didn’t gain a first down until Zay Flowers ran to the left for 7 yards during the team’s final possession of the first half. The 14-play, 65-yard sequence, aided by two defensive pass interference penalties, ended with Connor Lytton’s 30-yard field goal with 22 seconds left.

After building its 17-0 lead, Virginia Tech was held scoreless for three straight drives before Boston College’s field goal.

The Eagles then cut their deficit to 17-10 when Jurkovec found Jaden Williams for a 17-yard, over-the-shoulder connection with 5:18 left in the third.

Wells completed five passes on the hosts’ ensuing nine-play drive, the fifth being 2-yard toss to Kaleb Smith to make it a two-score game again.

Boston College starting defensive end Shitta Sillah and left tackle Ozzy Trapilo were both out with injuries.

–Field Level Media

Sep 2, 2022; Norfolk, Virginia, USA;  Virginia Tech Hokies wide receiver Da'Wain Lofton (3) celebrate with defensive back Cam Johnson (12) after scoring a touchdown during the third quarter at Kornblau Field at S.B. Ballard Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports

BC, Virginia Tech look to erase Week 1 losses in ACC opener

Boston College and Virginia Tech will look to erase disappointing Week 1 losses in their Atlantic Coast Conference opener on Saturday night in Blacksburg, Va.

Late touchdowns downed both teams as the Hokies lost 20-17 at in-state foe Old Dominion and the Eagles slipped to Rutgers 22-21 in their home opener.

The Hokies must bounce back from allowing a last-minute touchdown and 10 unanswered points in the fourth quarter on Sept. 2. Marshall transfer Grant Wells threw and ran for a touchdown for Virginia Tech, but he was intercepted four times and Virginia Tech committed 14 penalties.

“It’s all about being 1-0 this week,” first-year Hokies head coach Brent Pry said. “The mistakes that were made (against Old Dominion), the majority of them were very correctable.”

Boston College looks to avoid its first 0-2 start since 2011 (0-3) as it heads south in a similar situation.

Despite totaling 312 yards of offense against Rutgers, the Eagles were doomed by a pair of interceptions thrown by Phil Jurkovec, a missed field goal and Rutgers’ 96-yard, fourth-quarter drive that featured 11 rushes in 12 plays.

“Even if we won that game, we didn’t play well enough to continue to win,” Boston College coach Jeff Hafley said. “We have young players (especially with three first-time starters on the offensive line) who are going to get better. … I love this team, I love coaching them and I know they’ll respond.”

Boston College’s Zay Flowers is coming off his fifth career game with multiple touchdown receptions. He became the 10th 2,000-yard receiver in school history.

The Hokies’ top playmaker, wide receiver Kaleb Smith, is day-to-day after sustaining a “minor injury” on his 39-yard catch that led to a first-quarter touchdown last week.

“He’s a tough young man. If he can go, he will,” Pry said. “He’s an impact player for us offensively.”

Tight end Nick Gallo became a top target for Wells, making a career-high seven catches for 49 yards.

Boston College has defeated Virginia Tech in three of the last four seasons. Pat Garwo III had 116 yards and a touchdown on a career-high 30 carries in last year in the Eagles’ 17-3 home win. However, Garwo was limited to 25 years on 14 carries last week.

“If we’re going to beat good teams, especially on the road where it’s going to be loud, we have to run the ball,” Hafley said. “We’re counting on Pat to do that.”

The Hokies have won six consecutive home openers.

–Field Level Media

Sep 2, 2022; Norfolk, Virginia, USA;  Virginia Tech Hokies running back Jalen Holston (0) runs the ball during the second quarter against Old Dominion Monarchs defensive tackle Denzel Lowry (45) at Kornblau Field at S.B. Ballard Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports

Old Dominion stuns Virginia Tech with last-minute TD

Stifled all night by the Virginia Tech defense, Old Dominion quarterback Hayden Wolff directed a late touchdown drive as the Monarchs upset the Hokies 20-17 Friday night in Norfolk, Va.

Blake Watson scored on a 1-yard plunge with 33 seconds left as Old Dominion stunned Virginia Tech for the second time at home in the last four years. The Monarchs also ruined the head coaching debut of the Hokies’ Brent Pry, formerly the defensive coordinator at Penn State.

Mistakes haunted Virginia Tech (0-1) throughout as quarterback Grant Wells threw four interceptions. Old Dominion’s other touchdown came on the return of a recovered fumble. The Hokies committed 15 penalties that accounted for 121 yards.

Keshawn King rushed 19 times for 111 yards to lead Virginia Tech. King also scored on a 6-yard touchdown pass from Wells to give the Hokies a 17-10 lead in the third quarter.

Old Dominion answered with the game’s final 10 points. A costly pass-interference call on a fourth-down play set up a 20-yard field goal by Ethan Sanchez that cut the deficit to 17-13.

Virginia Tech had a chance to wrap it up late, driving into Old Dominion territory, but Ryan Henry picked off a Wells pass with 2:58 left, giving the Monarchs possession at their own 26.

From there, Wolff directed the game-winning drive. He finished 14 of 35 for 165 yards. Ali Jennings III caught five passes for 122 yards.

Jennings had a key 24-yard reception to trigger the winning drive. Then, his 38-yard reception to the 1-yard line set up the game-winning score.

Wells completed 21 of 36 passes for 197 yards and one TD. The transfer from Marshall also scored the game’s first touchdown on an 18-yard run.

The Monarchs’ lone touchdown in the first half came when a Hokies field-goal attempt went awry. A high snap from center sent the ball downfield, triggering a scramble. Robert Kennedy III eventually scooped the ball on the run and scored on a 25-yard return to give Old Dominion a 10-7 lead.

–Field Level Media

Jul 21, 2022; Charlotte, NC, USA;  Virginia Tech Head Coach Brent Pry talks to the media during the second day of ACC Media Days at the Westin Hotel in Charlotte, NC. Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

New coach Brent Pry leads Virginia Tech into Old Dominion

Virginia Tech travels to underdog Old Dominion on Friday night in a battle of teams entering new eras.

While it will be the debut of Tech’s new head coach Brent Pry, who replaces Justin Fuente after six seasons, ODU will play for the first time as a member of the Sun Belt Conference.

It also will be a matchup of head coaches who know each other well. Pry, 52, and Ricky Rahne, 41, served under James Franklin at both Vanderbilt and Penn State, where they were dueling coordinators.

Rahne arrived at ODU in 2020. The school was one of just three in the FBS to cancel the season because of the pandemic. Last year after a 1-5 start, ODU rallied to finish the regular season with five wins in six games to capture a berth in the Myrtle Beach Bowl.

With 17 starters back, including 10 on offense, and an injection of transfers from Power 5 schools, the Monarchs could surprise despite being picked to finish last in the Sun Belt East after leaving Conference USA.

Pocket passer Hayden Wolff returns at quarterback, backed up by Notre Dame transfer D.J. Mack, who provides a running threat. They will look to a potent receiving duo in tight end Zack Kuntz and wideout Ali Jennings, who combined for 135 catches and 1,758 yards last fall.

“They present problems,” Pry said. “They got a talented offense and they’ve got a quarterback who can throw the ball.”

The cast left over from Tech’s 6-7 team is sparse. The defense could be solid with an experienced secondary and productive linebackers Dax Hollifield and Alan Tisdale, who have started a combined 55 games.

Marshall transfer Grant Wells, who threw for 34 touchdowns and 22 interceptions the last two seasons, gives Tech a downfield threat. Explosive Malachi Thomas takes over at running back.

“I have a decent idea of what Tech’s going to do because I know what Brent believes in,” Rahne said.

Tech leads the series 2-1, with ODU posting one of its most memorable wins in its short history, 49-35, in Norfolk in 2018.

–Field Level Media

Oct 16, 2021; Blacksburg, Virginia, USA;  Virginia Tech Hokies quarterback Braxton Burmeister (3) drops to throw a pass during the first quarter against the Pittsburgh Panthers at Lane Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Former Virginia Tech QB Braxton Burmeister transfers to San Diego State

Former Virginia Tech quarterback Braxton Burmeister has transferred to San Diego State, the school announced Tuesday.

Burmeister passed for 1,960 yards, 14 touchdowns and four interceptions in 12 games — all starts — for the Hokies last season. He added 521 yards and two scores on the ground.

Burmeister entered the transfer portal prior to Virginia Tech’s 54-10 loss to Maryland in the Pinstripe Bowl.

In two seasons at Virginia Tech, Burmeister racked up 2,647 yards and 16 touchdowns against five interceptions. He rushed for a total of 714 yards and four scores.

Burmeister attended high school at La Jolla Country Day in the San Diego area and passed for 11,512 yards and 127 touchdowns in four varsity seasons. He considered the Aztecs out of high school before selecting Oregon.

Burmeister started five games as a freshman for the Ducks in 2017 but played sparingly in 2018 before electing to transfer. He passed for 373 yards, two touchdowns and six interceptions in 11 appearances for Oregon, while also rushing for 131 yards and three scores for the Ducks.

According to San Diego State, Burmeister is the sixth FBS transfer to join the program this offseason. The others are offensive lineman Cade Bennett (Oklahoma State), defensive lineman Deven Lamp (Tulsa), linebacker Cooper McDonald (Washington), tight end Mark Redman (Washington) and defensive lineman Justus Tavai (Hawaii).

Under the direction of Brady Hoke, the Aztecs went 12-2 in 2021, winning the Frisco Bowl over UTSA. San Diego State finished the season ranked 25th in the AP Poll.

–Field Level Media

Dec 29, 2021; New York, NY, USA; Maryland Terrapins punt returner Tarheeb Still (12) returns a punt for a touchdown during the first half during the 2021 Pinstripe Bowl against the Virginia Tech Hokies at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Maryland wallops Virginia Tech in Pinstripe Bowl

Taulia Tagovailoa threw for 265 yards and two touchdowns as Maryland handily routed Virginia Tech 54-10 in the Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium in New York.

Tagovailoa completed 20 of 24 passes for a season-best 83.3 completion percentage. Tagovailoa also rushed four times for 42 yards, as the Terrapins (7-6) won their first bowl game since 2010.

For Virginia Tech (6-7), the loss brought an end to J.C. Price’s short tenure as interim head coach. Former Penn State defensive coordinator Brent Pry is set to take the reins after the Hokies dismissed Justin Fuente last month.

The Terrapins outgained Virginia Tech 481 to 259. Daryl Jones caught four passes for 111 yards and two touchdowns for Maryland.

The Terps began the scoring with a bang in the first quarter, as Tarheeb Still ran a punt back 92 yards for the game’s first touchdown. It was the first career touchdown for the sophomore defensive back.
Virginia Tech punted five more times in the contest, but avoided kicking to Still, as he returned just one more punt for 2 yards.

Virginia Tech got on the board near the start of the second quarter with a 36-yard field goal from John Parker Romo, but Maryland struck back quickly on its next possession, as Tagovailoa found Jones for a 70-yard touchdown strike with 9:13 left in the half.

Maryland’s Antwaine Littleton and Virginia Tech’s Connor Blumrick then exchanged short rushing touchdowns, and the Terps went ahead 24-10 at halftime on a 44-yard field goal from Joseph Petrino.

Virginia Tech never scored again as Maryland pulled away with 30 second-half points.

Blumrick finished with 110 yards passing and 11 yards rushing.

Maryland piled up 207 rushing yards on 28 carries. In addition to Littleton, Colby McDonald and Roman Hemby also scored rushing touchdowns.

The Terps’ defense was led by Ruben Hyppolite II, who racked up 12 tackles. Nick Cross and Demeioun Robinson each tallied sacks on the Hokies’ Blumrick and Tahj Bullock.

–Field Level Media

Nov 27, 2021; Piscataway, New Jersey, USA; Maryland Terrapins tight end Corey Dyches (84) celebrates his touchdown with quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa (3) during the second half against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights at SHI Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Maryland, Virginia Tech rekindle rivalry at Pinstripe Bowl

Two former Atlantic Coast Conference foes will face off for the first time since 2013 in the Pinstripe Bowl on Wednesday, as Maryland takes on Virginia Tech at Yankee Stadium in New York.

Maryland (6-6) left the ACC for the Big Ten after the 2013 season and hasn’t seen the Hokies (6-6) since. The Terps are 16-15 all-time against Virginia Tech.

This is the first time Maryland has gone to a bowl game since 2016. The Terps beat Rutgers 40-16 in their regular-season finale to reach .500 and become bowl-eligible. Maryland hasn’t won a bowl game since the 2010 Military Bowl.

As he has done all season, quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa led Maryland’s offense in that win over the Scarlet Knights, completing 21 of 30 passes for 312 yards and three touchdowns. Tagovailoa finished the season with 24 scores through the air and led the Big Ten in pass completions with 308. He also set three program passing records at Maryland.

“It is definitely going to be a challenge to defend the pass against them,” Virginia Tech’s Chamarri Conner said. “But, as a defensive back, that’s what we look forward to. It will be exciting to see if we can stop them.”

For third-year Maryland coach Mike Locksley, he’s putting extra value on the bonus practices the Terps are getting. He’ll aim to use those to prepare for next season.

“The teams that typically go to bowls have a better chance next year to go because of how they’re able to develop with these extra practices,” Locksley said. “We cannot put a price tag on how valuable these are for us.”

The bowl game marks a period of transition for Virginia Tech. Former coach Justin Fuente was fired in November after a 5-5 start in his sixth season. Two weeks later, the Hokies announced the hiring of Brent Pry, Penn State’s former defensive coordinator who was an assistant at Virginia Tech early in his career.

But leading the Hokies in this game will be interim coach J.C. Price, a Virginia Tech graduate who coached the Hokies’ defensive line this past season. He finished the regular season 1-1, getting Virginia Tech bowl-eligible for the 34th time by beating rival Virginia in the regular season finale.

Price will be retained as the coaching staff transitions to Pry’s new regime, and he has focused on development in his practices leading up to the game.

“We wanted to make sure these guys enjoy the bowl experience. It is (a) reward,” Price said. “So, we basically cut things down. We had limited individual time. But I also expressed to them that there’s a certain amount of work you need to put in to win the game. And we have done that.”

The Hokies will be a bit shorthanded in the bowl game. Quarterback Braxton Burmeister has entered the transfer portal after starting in all 12 games for Virginia Tech this season. Also opting out of playing in the bowl for Virginia Tech is defensive end Amare Barno and wide receiver Tre Turner.

Fellow pass-catcher Tayvion Robinson has also entered the transfer portal, leaving the Hokies a bit thin in offensive weapons against Maryland, which put up 437.4 yards of total offense per-game this season.

–Field Level Media

Oct 23, 2021; University Park, Pennsylvania, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions defensive coordinator Brent Pry looks on against the Illinois Fighting Illini during overtime at Beaver Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Reports: Va. Tech close to naming Brent Pry new coach

Virginia Tech is nearing a deal to name Penn State defensive coordinator Brent Pry as its next head coach, multiple outlets reported Tuesday.

An official announcement could come later Tuesday, per the reports.

Pry, 51, has spent the past six seasons as the Nittany Lions’ defensive coordinator and prior to that, served three seasons in the same position at Vanderbilt and one at Georgia Southern.

Penn State is ranked seventh in scoring defense this season, allowing 16.8 points per game.

Virginia Tech parted ways with coach Justin Fuente on Nov. 16. Fuente’s teams posted a 43-31 mark in six seasons.

Pry served as a graduate assistant at Virginia Tech in the mid-1990s in the early days of his 30-year coaching career.

The Hokies finished 6-6 after beating Virginia, 29-24, last week. Defensive line coach J.C. Price will serve as interim coach in their bowl game.

–Field Level Media