Over the last two years the Virginia Tech Hokies have struggled against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. Last year VT fell to GT, 22-28. The Hokies struggled to slow the Yellow Jacket ground attack and the two passes GT completed were both touchdowns. In 2016 the Hokies fell at home, 20-30, allowing two 100+ yard rushers and turning the ball over twice. Will Justin Fuente finally be able to defeat the Yellow Jackets? Thursday night games are magical for the Hokies. This year the magic failed to deliver, and Virginia Tech suffered their first conference loss when they fell to Georgia Tech, 21-49
The Virginia Tech Hokies offense took the field after a short Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets kick-off. After solid runs from Peoples and Willis, Tre Turner snagged a 46-yard touchdown and were the first to strike after only 1:34 of play. GT took a little longer but retorted with a rushing TD on the back of a drive that did not feature a single pass play. The Hokies offense wasn’t too worried though. A 24-yard run by Steven Peoples set up the 41-yard TD pass from Ryan Willis to Damon Hazelton, putting the Hokies back on top 14-7. Georgia Tech again found life on the ground, converting a fourth down in their own territory, and then quickly finding their way into Virginia Tech territory. Tobias Oliver ran the ball in for a TD, tying the game up as the first quarter waned.
To start the second quarter Ryan Willis and the Hokies put together a longer drive, but the results were the same as the first two drives: Touchdown Hokies. On the ensuing Yellow Jacket drive the Hokies forced GT into a passing situation and were able to hold. The advantage lasted a punt when Sean Savoy signaled for the fair catch and muffed the reception which GT was happy to recover in VT’s red zone. Two plays later the Jackets tied the game up 21-21. The Hokies were not able to muster the same success during their response and GT again drove down the field for a TD, putting themselves up 28-21 with 1:27 left in the half. The Hokies were again unable to recapture the performance of their first three drives and punted to GT with 0:40 seconds left in the first half who let the clock run out.
The third quarter was a disaster. GT received the kickoff and took to the field again. Khalil Ladler was called for an extremely questionable targeting penalty and was ejected from the game. GT found the endzone shortly thereafter and was up by two TDs. After a toothless response from VT the Yellow Jackets again scored to put themselves up 42-21.
The fourth quarter was something of a problem as well. The Hokies struggled to halt the Yellow Jacket’s rushing attack and failed to capitalize on offense. As the game clock continued to wind down the Hokies were still down three scores with less than ten minutes left in regulation. Any adjustments that VT made didn’t materialize on offense or defense and the Yellow Jackets scored again to put the game out of reach. Sadly, the stands started to empty, and it became clear that the Hokies were playing for pride and not the win. A win over GT continued to elude Coach Fuente.