The Commonwealth Cup will remain in Blacksburg for another year as the Virginia Tech Hokies defeated the Virginia Cavaliers, 29-24, on Saturday afternoon in Charlottesville.
The Cavaliers started fast on offense, and it appeared the Virginia Tech offense would have to score a touchdown on every possession to keep up with the Hoos. Early on, the Hokies, led by quarterback Braxton Burmeister and running back Raheem Blackshear, did just that and went into halftime down 21-17.
Justin Hamilton’s defense stood firm in the second half, holding the Cavaliers to three points in the game’s final 30 minutes. Hamilton sent more pressure at quarterback Brennan Armstrong, including one play where it appeared the game was over. Jordan Williams and Amare Barno converged on Armstrong to force a fumble, and the ball went toward the end zone. Virginia landed on it, and it was ruled a safety.
The Hokies had a chance to seal the game when Virginia’s onside kick landed in the arms of Tre Turner. The Hokies run on first down, picking up a few yards. On second down, they rotate in Connor Blumrick at quarterback again, and offensive coordinator Brad Cornelsen attempts to get tricky, calling for a fake reverse. However, Blumrick’s elbow hit tight end Nick Gallo, and he fumbled the football.
Hamilton’s defense would need to make one more stand.
UVa drove the length of the field and, on third down, called a throwback pass to an offensive lineman, which lost yardage. It was a head-scratching play from an excellent offensive coordinator that gave many Virginia Tech fans flashes of Cornelsen’s weird playcalling.
So, now facing a fourth-and-13, Armstrong’s pass into the end zone was broken up by Virginia Tech safety Tae Daley, and the game was over.
There will be plenty to dissect from this game, but that’s for later. The Hokies give interim coach J.C. Price a big win — over a hated rival to become bowl eligible. What an outstanding effort by Virginia Tech’s players after a sluggish start on defense.
Burmeister would finish the game with 141 yards passing and a touchdown while also rushing for 115 yards. Blackshear rushed 18 times for 169 yards and a touchdown. Wide receiver Tayvion Robinson caught three passes for 89 yards and a touchdown.
The Hokies rushed for 320 yards as a team, averaging almost seven yards per attempt.
Next, we await the announcement of Virginia Tech’s next head coach. And, the Hokies are going bowling.
What a game.