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Virginia Tech struggles in 23-16 loss at Wake Forest

Wake Forest v Virginia Tech Photo by Michael Shroyer/Getty Images

The No. 19 Virginia Tech Hokies fell to the Wake Forest Demon Deacons 23-16 Saturday in Winston-Salem.

It was a bad day from the jump for Virginia Tech. The Hokies received the ball first and came out flat on offense. Wake Forest immediately took advantage behind running back Christian Beal-Smith, who rushed for 129 yards on just 13 attempts.

Sam Hartman would score from nine yards out to give Wake Forest an early 7-0 lead and the Demon Deacons would never look back.

Wake went into halftime with a 20-7 lead and every possession on offense was a struggle for the Hokies.

Quarterback Hendon Hooker had the worst game of his college career, completing 17 of 33 passes for 223 yards with three interceptions and just one touchdown. Hooker led the Hokies with 98 yards on the ground.

Virginia Tech running back Khalil Herbert could never get going. He finished with just 64 yards rushing on 14 attempts. He did add 39 receiving yards on two receptions.

Hooker struggled badly, often forcing passes into coverage and missing high all day long. Offensive coordinator Brad Cornelson could never seem to get in the flow of the game either.

Officiating was another story. Seemingly, there was a flag on every play and the bad officiating went both ways.

Virginia Tech was outplayed and outcoached in this one. When the Hooker found James Mitchell on a touchdown in the second quarter, it appeared the offense was turning the corner. Then the defense allowed a 17-play, 79-yard drive that went over seven minutes and ended up with the Demon Deacons in the end zone.

The demoralizing part of that drive was Wake Forest went for it on fourth down on three occasions and was successful each time.

The Hokies are back on the road next week with a trip to Louisville.