Tech continues dominance over rival Virginia in Commonwealth Clash

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Virginia (2-10) 003710
Virginia Tech (9-3) 72124052
  • Lane/Worsham Field - 63,120
  • Passing: Jerod Evans 253 yds
  • Rushing: Sam Rogers 105 yds
  • Receiving: Cam Phillips 87 yds

BLACKSBURG – Playing in his final game at Lane Stadium, Virginia Tech running back Sam Rogers rushed for a career-high 105 yards and scored two touchdowns, as the Hokies rolled to a 52-10 victory over rival Virginia on Saturday afternoon to claim the Commonwealth Cup yet again.

The Hokies closed the regular season with wins in five of their final six games, moving to 9-3 overall, 6-2 in the ACC. Tech beat Virginia (2-10, 1-7) for the 13th straight time and for the 17th time in the past 18 meetings. The Cavaliers closed the season with seven straight losses.

The Hokies already had clinched the ACC’s Coastal Division crown for the sixth time by virtue of North Carolina’s loss to NC State on Friday and thus had earned a spot in the ACC title game next Saturday. With their nine wins, the Hokies have registered their most wins in a season since recording 11 victories in 2011.

Tech coach Justin Fuente, in his first season, said he had no expectations going into his first year at the helm.

“To me, it’s always about the process, giving ourselves a chance” Fuente said following the game. “Going through the season, and at the end, looking back and saying, ‘This is what we accomplished.’ I don’t try to limit them [the players] by what I think they could be. We just focus on each day and the process of continuing to improve and do things the right way – and trying to teach off those teachable moments, good or bad, as we move forward. We focus on those types of things, and at the end of the year, tally them up and you guys tell us if we were any good or not.”

Rogers got the Hokies started with an 8-yard touchdown run late in the first quarter, and following another Tech score, he added a 32-yard touchdown run midway through the second quarter to push the lead to 21-0. Jerod Evans’ 1-yard touchdown run right before halftime gave the Hokies a 28-point lead – their largest halftime lead in the series since 2001.

Things only got worse. Virginia went three-and-out on its first drive to start the second half, and then the Hokies scored on their first offensive play when Jerod Evans hit Bucky Hodges for a 42-yard touchdown. That sparked a 24-point quarter that put the game away.

Virginia turned the ball over three times in the game, one of which was returned for a touchdown, and amassed just 247 yards against the Hokies’ defense. UVA played three quarterbacks who combined to complete just 13 of 36 for 139 yards, with a touchdown and two interceptions. Taquan Mizzell led the Cavaliers with 113 yards rushing.

Rogers’ 100-yard performance as the first of his career, as the Hokies racked up a season-high 289 yards rushing and finished with a season-high 579 total yards.

“It’s been awesome,” Rogers said of his four-year experience at Tech. “God has been so good, just letting me be a Hokie, and I’m forever thankful for these fans and this community and everything Hokie Nation. It’s been awesome.

“Obviously a lot of emotions came over me coming out of the tunnel, just thinking back at how fast this time has gone by, but we’re not done yet. So I’m happy to keep this thing rolling.”

BIG PLAYS

• Tech’s first touchdown came about because of a nice 17-yard punt return by C.J. Carroll that gave the Hokies a first down at the UVA 33. Six plays later, Sam Rogers scored on an 8-yard run to give the Hokies a 7-0 lead.

• Evans connected with Isaiah Ford for a 29-yard gain to the Virginia 6 late in the first half. Four plays later – on fourth-and-goal – Evans scored on a 1-yard run.

• With the game well in hand, Tech’s Mook Reynolds made a nice play when he knocked the ball away from UVA quarterback Connor Brewer. Andrew Motuapuaka picked up the loose ball and returned it for a touchdown. The forced fumble was the first of Reynolds’ career.

QUOTES TO NOTE

(Fuente on getting a huge win after several close games)

“It was nice to get the game put away. I certainly didn’t expect that. I went into this knowing the records, and Virginia didn’t have a great record, but the score of the game was always very close and very tight – and that’s fully what we expected. But the ball got rolling today in all phases of the game, and it was certainly nice to let other guys play, get guys in the game. We had a few of those early in the year, and it was nice to get back to that.”

(Fuente on showcasing Sam Rogers)

“Travon [McMillian] had a little mishap early on, the fumble, so Sam ended up getting some more carries. We didn’t do anything … he did end up with more carries, particularly early, but we certainly didn’t go into the game saying we had to get Sam touches because it was Senior Day.”

GAME NOTES

• Rogers’ previous career high in rushing yardage came last season when he rushed for 57 yards in the Hokies’ win over NC State. His previous career high of 12 carries also came in that game.

• Evans’ 5-yard touchdown pass to Cam Phillips in the second quarter marked his 25th touchdown pass of the season – a new school record. He and Tyrod Taylor had been sharing the previous mark of 24. Taylor threw 24 touchdown passes in 2010.

• Evans also set the school single-season total offense record in the Hokies’ win. He now has 3,752 yards of total offense, breaking the mark of 3,500 yards set by Logan Thomas in 2012.

• Ford’s 29-yard reception marked the 200th reception of his career. The junior from Jacksonville, Florida, who has caught at least one reception in 38 of his 39 career games, became the 17th player in ACC history to record 200 receptions.

• Motuapuaka returned a fumble 70 yards for a touchdown in this game. He has scored four touchdowns in his career – an unheard of number for a defensive player. Three of his touchdowns have come on fumble returns, with the other coming on an interception return.

UP NEXT

The Hokies now gear up for the ACC Championship Game, which will be played next Saturday in Orlando, Florida. Tech will take on Clemson in a game that kicks at 8 p.m. The Hokies have lost three straight to the Tigers – all by margins of more than 20 points – but they haven’t met since the 2012 season.

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

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