Strong defense carries Hokies past Delaware in home opener

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Delaware (1-1) 00000
(18) Virginia Tech (2-0) 71001027
  • Lane/Worsham Field - 62,526
  • Passing: Josh Jackson 222 yds
  • Rushing: Jalen Holston 32 yds
  • Receiving: Cam Phillips 90 yds

BLACKSBURG – Greg Stroman returned a punt for a touchdown, Josh Jackson threw two touchdown passes and the Hokies’ defense recorded a shutout, lifting No. 18 Virginia Tech to a 27-0 victory over Delaware in a non-conference game at Lane Stadium on Saturday.

With the win, the Hokies moved to 2-0 on the season and 52-4 against non-conference opponents at Lane Stadium since 1996. Delaware fell to 1-1 on the year.

Tech’s defense held the Blue Hens to just 223 yards in helping coordinator Bud Foster record his 32nd shutout since taking over as the sole coordinator in 1996.

“It’s hard to do nowadays,” Foster said. “I think Delaware has an outstanding football program. I felt going into this game … I’ve known Danny [Rocco] for a long time, and I know he doesn’t take that job unless he has a chance to do some special things there. You’re talking about a tradition-rich program. They are an experienced program – they got 19 starters returning and a lot of upperclassmen. So yes, I’m proud of our kids and how they played … It’s a credit to our kids.”

Stroman broke a scoreless game late in the first quarter when he made a nice cut at the Virginia Tech 45 to dodge a would-be tackler and then went untouched 61 yards for the score.

“First thing I had to do was catch it,” Stroman said. “When I first looked upfield, a lot of guys just hadn’t been pinned, so I just hit and tried to go forward.”

Tech quarterback Josh Jackson threw a 4-yard touchdown pass to Travon McMillian and a 28-yard touchdown strike to Cam Phillips. Jackson completed 16 of 28 for 222 yards and the two scores on the day.

Jackson’s production came on a day in which the Hokies’ offense sputtered at times. Tech finished with just 303 yards.

“Obviously, we have a lot of things we need to work on, but I’m proud of them and the way that they played,” Tech coach Justin Fuente said. “We got to get ready to go for the next one. Delaware, defensively, has a fine scheme. They know it well, they execute it very well and it gave us some problems offensively.”

QUICK NOTES

• Stroman became the first player in Virginia Tech history to return a punt for a touchdown in three consecutive seasons. His three career punt returns for touchdowns rank tied for fourth in school history.

• Stroman’s punt return marked Tech’s 58th touchdown on special teams since 1987, including the 22nd via punt return.

• The Hokies are now 5-1 in their past six home openers, including the past two under Fuente.

• Cam Phillips’ 90 receiving yards now give him 2,291 for his career. He moved past Ricky Scales (2,272) into fourth place on Tech’s all-time list.

Joey Slye’s 50-yard field goal marked a career high. With two field goals against Delaware, he now needs just four to pass Shayne Graham (1996-99) and become Tech’s all-time leader.

• Slye finished with nine points against Delaware, giving him 330 for his career. He needs just seven points to pass Lee Suggs (1999-2002) into second place on Tech’s all-time list.

UP NEXT

Tech continues its non-conference schedule when it visits a struggling East Carolina squad next Saturday in Greenville, North Carolina. The Hokies lost 35-28 on their last visit there (2015).

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