Virginia Tech leads early, but flat second half dooms Hokies in 33-10 loss to West Virginia
The struggling Virginia Tech offense managed only 228 yards, and West Virginia QB JT Daniels threw for 203 yards and a TD, in a 33-10 Mountaineers win in Blacksburg on Thursday night.
A sellout crowd of 65,632 in Lane Stadium on a Thursday night for an ESPN national game was hyped for the first game with traditional rival WVU in Blacksburg since 2004, and the Hokies (2-2) fed off the energy early, actually leading for most of the second quarter, after Grant Wells connected with Kaleb Smith for a 28-yard TD pass that put Tech up, 7-3, with 14:52 to go.
The West Virginia defense got a critical stop on a fourth-and-one at the Mountaineer 18 at the 8:34 mark, stopping Wells for no gain on a QB sneak, and the game seemed to turn on that play.
A Casey Legg 35-yard field goal got WVU (2-2) within one with 1:50 left in the half, and then a quick-strike six-play, 70-yard scoring drive in the final minute, culminating in a Daniels-to-Sam Jones 24-yard TD pass, put West Virginia up 13-7 at the break.
The two teams traded third quarter field goals before West Virginia, up 16-10 going into the fourth, took control in the final 15 minutes, with a six-yard TD run by Justin Johnson Jr. making it 23-10 with 14:13 to go, then Legg tacking on his fourth field goal of the night, this one from 38 yards, to push the lead to 26-10 with 10:16 left.
A picksix 40 seconds later, with Jacolby Spells taking the INT back 27 yards for a TD, sent the remaining fans toward the exits.
That one was Wells’ fifth INT of the year, on a night in which he was 16-of-35 passing for 193 yards.
The Hokies could get nothing going on the ground, finishing with just 35 yards rushing on 18 attempts, while West Virginia gained 218 yards on 46 totes, led by CJ Donaldson, who ran for 106 yards on 23 carries, and Johnson’s 83 yards on 11 tries.