No. 24 Hokies claim Commonwealth Clash with shutout of UVA

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(24) Virginia Tech (9-3) 037010
Virginia (6-6) 00000
  • Smith/Harrison/Scott - 48,609
  • Passing: Josh Jackson 143 yds
  • Rushing: Deshawn McClease 71 yds
  • Receiving: Hezekiah Grimsley 56 yds

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – Virginia Tech quarterback Josh Jackson threw a third-quarter touchdown pass to Chris Cunningham, and the Hokies’ defense made it stand, as Tech shut out in-state rival Virginia 10-0 in the annual Commonwealth Clash game played Friday night at Scott Stadium.

With the win, the Hokies beat their rivals for the 14th consecutive time. Tech moved to 9-3 overall on the season, 5-3 in the ACC, while Virginia fell to 6-6, 3-5.

Virginia Tech’s defense played arguably its best game of the year, as the Hokies recorded their third shutout of the season and shut out the Cavaliers for the 15th time in the 99 meetings. The shutout also marked the third time in this 14-game winning streak.

The Hokies held the Cavaliers to just 191 yards and sacked UVA quarterback Kurt Benkert four times. UVA averaged just 3.5 yards per play and converted just 4 of 15 attempts on third down.

The biggest play in the game came on the opening drive of the second half. On the second play of the half, Virginia’s Chris Sharp fumbled after taking a big hit from Tech’s Reggie Floyd. The Hokies’ Houshun Gaines recovered at the UVA 40.

Tech wasted little time in capitalizing, going 40 yards in four plays. On third-and-3 from the UVA 8 Jackson found Cunningham in the end zone for a touchdown that gave the Hokies a 10-0 lead.

That was all that they needed on this evening. Virginia’s four remaining second-half drives ended in three punts and a turnover on downs.

The Hokies’ only other score came on a 30-yard field goal by Brian Johnson in the second quarter.

Tech finished with 345 yards of offense. Jackson completed 14 of 21 for 143 yards, with the touchdown and an interception. Steven Peoples, who had missed the previous three games, and DeShawn McClease each rushed for 71 yards.

The Tech-UVA football game was presented by Virginia529, the official college savings plan of Virginia Tech Athletics and the University of Virginia Athletics. The score for the "Commonwealth Clash" is now 4-1 in favor of Virginia Tech. Learn more about Virginia529 and this competition at www.thecommonwealthclash.com.

GAME NOTES

• The Hokies played without five starters – receiver Sean Savoy, free safety/whip Mook Reynolds, free safety Terrell Edmunds, offensive tackle Yosuah Nijman, and kicker Joey Slye. All are dealing with various injuries and illnesses. Edmunds is out for the remainder of the season.

Tremaine Edmunds, a Butkus Award finalist, made quite the impression in the regular-season finale, finishing with nine tackles, including three for a loss, and two sacks. He now leads the team in tackles (102), tackles for a loss (14), sacks (5.5) and forced fumbles (3).

Cam Phillips hauled in a 23-yard reception toward the end of the first quarter, and that catch extended his school-record streak of catching at least one pass in a game to 39 consecutive games. He finished with three catches for 46 yards.

Hezekiah Grimsley, a true freshman receiver, made the first start of his career, and he caught a team-best five passes for 56 yards. He came into the game with just two receptions on the season.

• The Hokies have now scored in 295 straight games - the sixth-longest streak in FBS history and the fourth-longest active streak.

Jovonn Quillen got a piece of a punt by UVA punter Lester Coleman in the first quarter. He also got a piece of one in the Pittsburgh game, thus becoming the first Tech player to block kicks in back-to-back games since former defensive end Dadi Nicolas did so at Pitt and vs. Miami in 2014.

• Cunningham caught four touchdown passes last season, but hadn’t caught any this season until hauling in an 8-yard touchdown catch from Jackson in the third quarter.

UP NEXT

The Hokies have concluded their regular season and now await their bowl destination, which they should find out about next Sunday.

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