Less than 12 hours after falling to Clemson in the ACC Championship Game, Virginia Tech accepted an invitation to play in the Belk Bowl on Dec. 29 in Charlotte, North Carolina. The Hokies will play Arkansas (7-5) from the Southeastern Conference in a game that kicks off at 5:30 p.m., at Bank of America Stadium, the home of the NFL’s Carolina Panthers. The Hokies will be making their 24th consecutive bowl appearance and their 31st bowl appearance overall. Tech, which has won three of its past four bowl games, is 2-4 against SEC teams in bowl games and is 13-17 all time in bowl games.
The Virginia Tech football team rallied from a 35-14 deficit to cut Clemson’s lead to 42-35 with four minutes to go, but a late interception put an end to the Hokies’ chances, and they fell to the Tigers in the ACC Championship Game played in Orlando, Florida on Saturday night. Tech quarterback Jerod Evans paced the Hokies with 310 yards and three touchdowns, but threw a fourth-down interception with a little more than a minute to go. Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson accounted for five touchdowns, as the Tigers moved to 12-1 on the season. Tech fell to 9-4 and is now 3-3 in ACC Championship Game appearances.
Virginia Tech receiver Cam Phillips has enjoyed the best year of his career, with a career-best 70 catches, including five for touchdowns, heading into the Hokies’ Belk Bowl game against Arkansas. He was willing to answer the following questions to allow fans to get to know him as more than just a talented student-athlete.
Q: What is your dream vacation?
CP: I don’t know how many people know this, but I’m really big into fashion, so maybe Paris or Spain. I’d like to have some money and go shop. I think I’d have a lot of fun with that.
Q: What’s your favorite place to eat?
CP: I really like seafood, so I’d probably say Red Lobster. I love shrimp and crab legs. It’s always been like that.
Q: What is your favorite city that you've visited?
CP: I don’t know. I really liked Orlando. It was nice. I enjoy going to different places and playing in different stadiums. We don’t get much free time, but the extent of it would be the different stadiums.
Q: If you could play another sport, what would it be?
CP: Probably baseball. I played until I was 13 or 14, and people told me to stick with it. I was really good at it, but I always liked football, so I decided to hang up the glove and catch a football.
Q: If you could live anywhere, where would it be?
CP: I hate being cold, so somewhere warm – maybe Florida, or Texas, or Georgia. I’d like to be doing something with football, or helping other athletes train or something like that
Q: If you could trade places with someone for a day, who would it be?
CP: Maybe Coach Fuente just to see everything he has to go through. [laughs] I think he sits in his office and comes up with ways to yell at us, but I’d like to see what a day in his life is like.
Q: What are you listening to these days?
CP: For some reason, recently, I’ve been listening to older music. In the hotel the other day, I was listening to Al Green, and I was singing the lyrics. Isaiah [Ford] was laughing and was getting a little frustrated, but it’s all fun and games with him and me. I had a good time with that.
Q: What is the talent you’d most like to have?
CP: I wish I had bigger hands, if that means anything. Bigger hands, or I wish I was a little bigger. I have a bigger lower body, my legs, but I wish I had a bigger upper body.
Q: Why did you choose Virginia Tech?
CP: I was really fascinated by the family atmosphere that they have here and how close the players and the coaches were. I found it interesting that, when I came on a visit, the defensive coaches actually knew who I was and were talking to me. I really liked that about the place, and I felt that they wanted me. I was told to go where I was wanted, and I felt wanted here.
Q: What is your favorite thing about Virginia Tech football?
CP: I love the responsibility, honest. To whom much is given, much is expected. Being on this pedestal and a lot of people have an eye on me, whether it’s people whom I don’t really know, or people around campus ... I just really enjoy being held to a higher standard. I don’t think a lot of people get a chance to do that, and I like how I’ve handled it so far. I like the challenge and the responsibility.
The Virginia Tech men’s soccer team saw its fantastic run at the NCAA Men’s Soccer Championship come to an end, as the Hokies fell 2-0 to Wake Forest in an Elite Eight matchup played Saturday in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. The Demon Deacons scored two goals in the final 10 minutes of the game to advance to the College Cup. Goalkeeper Ben Lundgaard finished with six saves for the Hokies, who finished their season with a 13-5-4 mark – their best season since winning 14 games in 2007.
Tech senior Joey Dance won the 125-pound weight class at the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational over the weekend, and the Hokies’ wrestling team finished third in the team race at the prestigious event. Dance brought home just the second individual title from the event in program history (Ty Walz, 2015). He beat Ohio State’s Jose Rodriguez 4-3 in the championship match. Walz (heavyweight), Zack Zavatsky (184) and Jared Haught (197) each made it to the finals of their respective weight class, but came up short. The Hokies return to action on Dec. 18 when they take on West Virginia in Parkersburg, West Virginia.
Playing in its first game as a nationally ranked team in a decade, the No. 25 Virginia Tech women’s basketball team cruised to a 76-42 victory over Gardner-Webb at Virginia Tech Carilion Court on Monday night. Five Tech players scored in double figures, led by Sidney Cook’s 17 points. Regan Magarity added 10 points, 13 rebounds and four blocks. She tied a career high with 25 points in the Hokies’ come-from-behind 76-67 win over Nebraska in an ACC-Big Ten Challenge game this past Thursday. The Hokies are now 8-0 on the season and off to their best start since winning their first 12 games of the 2005-06 season. Tech returns to action Wednesday night at Virginia Tech Carilion Court against Central Connecticut State.
(Women's Basketball • Redshirt Sophomore • Forward • Norrkoping, Sweden)
Regan Magarity hit several key baskets in the second half that helped Virginia Tech rally from a 16-point deficit to beat Nebraska 76-67 in an ACC-Big Ten Challenge game at Virginia Tech Carilion Court. Magarity scored 25 points, including seven in a 16-5 run that cut the Nebraska lead to five in the third quarter. She then scored five straight points to open the fourth quarter, giving the Hokies the lead for good. In the Hokies’ recent win over Gardner-Webb, she notched her first double-double of the season, recording 10 points and grabbing 13 rebounds. For the season, she is averaging 12.4 points and 7.6 rebounds per game.
The Virginia Tech men’s basketball team rallied from a 15-point deficit to record an impressive 73-70 road win at Michigan in an ACC-Big Ten Challenge game played last Wednesday. Justin Bibbs hit two free throws with three seconds remaining, and the Hokies survived a last-second 3-point attempt by Michigan’s Duncan Robinson. Zach LeDay scored 18 points and grabbed six rebounds for the Hokies, who moved to 6-1 on the season and are off to their best start since the 2012-13 season. They return to action Wednesday against Maryland Eastern Shore at 8:30 p.m.
In his first year at the helm of the Virginia Tech football program, Justin Fuente led the Hokies to a Coastal Division title and was presented the ACC Coach of the Year trophy by league commissioner John Swofford prior to Tech’s ACC Championship Game appearance in Orlando. The Hokies fell to Clemson 42-35 in the championship game, but they will be making their 24th consecutive bowl appearance when they play in the Belk Bowl on Dec. 29, and they have an opportunity to win 10 games in a season for the first time since 2011.