Virginia Tech whups Virginia, 33-15, and it wasn’t as close as the score would indicate
If you believe the rumblings, Virginia Tech was playing to say goodbye to Justin Fuente, and Virginia was playing to go home for the holidays.
Which isn’t to discredit what the Hokies did Saturday night in Lane Stadium, taking control in the second quarter, then coasting to a 33-15 win in the in-state ACC rivalry Saturday night.
Because, credit to Tech (5-6, 5-5 ACC), which had come in having lost its last four, and five of its last six.
We didn’t know the identity of punter Peter Moore until the 3:31 mark of the third quarter, after the Hokies had scored on their first six possessions.
It was 27-7 at the half, a little bit dink-and-dunk – Tech got on the board on a 46-yard Brian Johnson field goal on its opening drive, then had a 17-play, 75-yard TD march on its second – and big play – a 76-yard Khalil Herbert TD run, then a Braxton Burmeister-to-Tayvion Robinson 60-yard TD pass just with 31 seconds left before the break.
‘Twas over, for all intents and purposes, at that stage.
Virginia (5-5, 4-5 ACC), which had won four straight coming in, made it mildly interesting for a half-sec in the third, getting to 30-15 on a 23-yard Brennan Armstrong-to-Tony Poljan TD pass at the 4:50 mark.
That was as close as it would get, and, again, credit to Tech.
Word circulating around the Tech program Saturday was that this one might have been Fuente’s swan song, because even with the win, it’s the second losing season in three years for a once-proud Hokies program that not that long ago considered itself a perennial national-title contender.
A rumor has been bounding around Tech football that Fuente is scheduled to have a meeting with athletics director Whit Babcock on Monday that will end with the coach walking away with a buyout.
If that’s the case, and it could make sense, given the two losing seasons in three years thing, and just wanting to move on – though where it doesn’t make sense is, a buyout in a pandemic, with finances being strained to the gills as it is? – hey, he’d go out the way his predecessor did.
Frank Beamer, father of Shane, the new coach at South Carolina, who, it should be noted, isn’t settled there yet – just sayin’ – beat Virginia in his last game in the in-state rivalry, back in 2015.
That one, coincidentally, was also the last in the series for Mike London, who lost his finale to Virginia Tech, as did Al Groh.
As did, for that matter, George Welsh.
Tech has now won 16 of the last 17 in this series.
Order, for the moment, has been restored.
Story by Chris Graham