Evans' 4 TD passes lifts Hokies past Liberty in season opener

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Liberty (0-1) 670013
Virginia Tech (1-0) 7179336
  • Lane/Worsham Field - 62,234
  • Passing: Jerod Evans 221 yds
  • Rushing: Jerod Evans 46 yds
  • Receiving: Isaiah Ford 117 yds
Notes and Quotes from Tech-Liberty Game

Tech-Liberty game notes

Coach Fuente quotes

Coach Foster quotes

BLACKSBURG – Virginia Tech quarterback Jerod Evans threw for 221 yards and four touchdowns to lead the Hokies to a 36-13 season-opening victory over Liberty on Saturday, handing head coach Justin Fuente his first victory.

Fuente, who spent the previous four seasons at Memphis, took over in January for Frank Beamer, who retired after 29 years as Virginia Tech’s head coach.

Evans, a junior-college transfer from Texas who enrolled this past January, completed 20 of 32 passes. The Hokies trailed 13-10 in the second quarter before Evans threw touchdown passes to Isaiah Ford and Bucky Hodges on the Hokies’ last two possessions of the first half to give the Hokies the lead for good.

Ford caught 11 passes for 117 yards and Hodges caught two touchdown passes. Joey Slye hit two field goals of 34 yards.

Liberty amassed just 160 yards of offense, scoring all of its points off of Tech turnovers. The Hokies lost four fumbles – their only blemishes on the day.

BIGGEST PLAYS

• Tech trailed 13-10 in the second quarter and faced a fourth-and-1 from the Liberty 43. Fuente elected to go for it and Evans went 37 yards on a keeper to the Liberty 6. Two plays later, Evans hit Ford for the go-ahead 5-yard touchdown pass.

• Evans and Hodges connected on a big third-down conversion toward the end of the first half. Tech faced third-and-10 from the Liberty 41 and Evans hit Hodges for a 20-yard gain to the Liberty 21. Four plays later, Evans found Hodges for an 18-yard touchdown play that gave the Hokies a 24-13 lead with 24 seconds left in the first half.

Terrell Edmunds had an interception and He and Johnathan Galante tackled a Liberty punt returner in the end zone for a safety. On the ensuing possession, Evans found Hodges for a 20-yard touchdown play.

FUENTE ON HIS FIRST GAME

“The atmosphere here is fantastic. It’s what college football is all about. People at Virginia Tech take a lot of pride in the game-day atmosphere, and they should. It was incredible

“My thought process coming into the game was how would our kids handle this? How do they respond when things don’t go well. There were some times when things were kind of ugly looking, but I liked the way our kids dug in there and plowed away. The atmosphere was fantastic and I’m please with the way the kids responded to adversity.”

IMPORTANT NOTES

• Fuente became the first Tech coach to win his debut since Jerry Claiborne opened his tenure with a victory over William & Mary in 1961.

• Ford’s 117 yards receiving marked the fourth straight game in which he has recorded more than 100 yards receiving – a school record.

• Ford has caught at least two passes in 27 straight games, tying a school record for consecutive games with at least one reception (Ernest Wilford, 2002-03).

• Ford’s touchdown reception marked the 18th of his career, tying him for second place on Tech’s career touchdown receptions list with Jarrett Boykin (2008-11), Ricky Scales (1972-74) and André Davis (1998-2001).

Greg Stroman’s two interceptions gave him four for his career.

UP NEXT

The Hokies now get ready to take on Tennessee at Bristol Motor Speedway next Saturday night in a game that could set college football’s single-game attendance mark. The two teams haven’t met in the regular season since 1937.

For updates on Virginia Tech football, follow the Hokies on Twitter and on Instagram @vthokiefootball Instagram

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