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Virginia Tech 34 Notre Dame 31

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Hokies victorious in first trip to South Bend. Virginia Tech will now play Virginia with a trip to the A.C.C. Championship game on the line.

Virginia Tech v Notre Dame Photoby Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Virginia Tech and Notre Dame have had football programs for over 100 years. Oddly enough, today was the first time the two teams have met. Virginia Tech entered the game with a 7-3 record, and Notre Dame had a 4-6 mark. It was a very windy, cold day in South Bend, Indiana. The kickoff temperature was 36, but 24 with the wind chill. The wind was gusting at about 20 mph. Virginia Tech won the toss, and elected to defer to the second half.

Notre Dame took the ball and promptly marched down the field. After some wide open throws, Josh Adams punched it in from the one, and the Irish had a quick 7-0 lead. When the Hokies took possession for the first time, QB Jerod Evans fumbled while being pressured. This game the Irish excellent field position for their second drive. Chuck Clark picked off a pass, but Trevon Hill was lined up offsides on the play.

Notre Dame QB DeShone Kizer was running all over the Hokies, who continue to struggle against mobile quarterbacks. The Hokies’ defense eventually stiffened, holding the Irish to a 24 yard FG. With 4:26 in the first, it was 10-0 Irish. Virginia Tech continued struggling with ball security, including a bad snap.

On the first play of the second quarter, DeShone Kizer found Chris Finke on a 31 yard dart. The play capped a 79 yard drive, and the Hokies trailed 17-0. The Hokies had been getting kick off returns all game, and they had great field position on the next drive. The Hokies put together a solid drive, running the ball effectively for the first time all day. Jerod Evans broke a big 23 yard TD scamper to put Virginia Tech on the board. With 11:28 left in the half, it was Notre Dame 17, Virginia Tech 7.

Both teams traded punts, but with around 7 minutes left in the half, Notre Dame was driving. DeShone Kizer was masterful on the drive, and found Miles Boykin for a 18 yard strike to make it 24-7. The Hokies needed to respond, and they absolutely did. Jerod Evans found Cam Phillips on a slant, and the Hokies were right back in the ballgame. The first half would down, and the Hokies trailed 24-14. Pretty solid comeback for the Hokies, who trailed 17-0 at one point.60

The Hokies started quickly in the second half. C.J. Carroll caught a slant over the middle and raced 60 yards to the Notre Dame 6. Steven Peoples punched it from two yards out, and all of the sudden it was a 3 point game! The teams traded punts, and when Virginia Tech got the ball again, they tried to go deep. Cam Phillips had the ball slip through his fingers, and Notre Dame picked off the deflection. Notre Dame wasted little time making the Hokies pay. Josh Adams broke it through the middle for a 67 yard TD. It was Adams’ second TD of the game, to make it 31-21 Irish.

The Hokies responded, and drove it down to the Irish 4. Notre Dame’s defense held strong, and the Hokies settled for a 23 yard Joey Slye FG. The Hokies were down 7 with a ton of time left in the game. The Hokies’ defense did their job, and the Hokie offense was back on the field. Marshawn Williams was running hard, and Evans was finding open targets on the drive. From the Notre Dame 5, Jerod Evans found Bucky Hodges on the fade to tie the game with 9:13 remaining.

Notre Dame went a very quick 3 and out. Virginia Tech was instantly on the move. Joey Slye made it 34-31 Hokies with only 4:20 left in the game. The Tech defense played lights out, and forced another three and out. Ken Ekanem had a huge sack to snuff the drive. The Hokies offense was in full clock crush mode, but faced a 4th and less than one. They decided to punt, and Notre Dame took over on their own 10 with just over a minute left and no timeouts. It was too little too late, and the Hokies held on for the win. The Hokies will face Virginia nexxt week in the pivotal Coastal match up. If Virginia Tech should win, they will advance to the A.C.C. Championship game.