The Virginia Tech Hokies are tied with the Liberty Flames, 17-17, at halftime of Saturday’s game at Williams Stadium in Lynchburg.
Virginia Tech’s offense got off to a fast start when tight end Nick Gallo found himself wide open down the right sideline as quarterback Grant Wells hit him for a 35-yard gain. The Hokies would end the drive with a Jalen Holston touchdown run to take a 7-0 lead.
Liberty answered quickly as quarterback Johnathan Bennett led an impressive drive and capped it off with a 15-yard touchdown run to tie things at 7-7.
From there, Tech’s offense went back to work, crossing midfield before another promising drive was stalled. However, head coach Brent Pry had a trick up his sleeve this time. Pry called for a fake field as holder Peter Moore took the snap and, on the option, flipped the ball to freshman kicker John Love who ran for 11 yards and a first down.
Later in the drive, the Hokies went for it on fourth-and-1, and Holston scored from five yards out.
The Hokies had another good drive going, but Wells took a sack, and the offense bogged down inside the 10-yard line, leading to a Love field goal. Then, on the ensuing kickoff, Liberty running back Shedro Louis returned the kickoff 96 yards for a touchdown and the game was suddenly 17-14.
Tech again had something going on offense, but Wells was sacked twice. Once, it was on him; the other was on the offensive line, forcing a Tech punt. The Flames drove down for a late field goal to tie the game at halftime.
Wells completed 10 of 14 passes for 137 yards in the first half. Keshawn King carried the ball nine times for 47 yards, while Holston rushed for 43 yards and two scores. Virginia Tech star wideout Kaleb Smith does not have a first-half catch.
The Hokies need to put the ball in the hands of Gallo and freshman tight end Dae’Quan Wright more in the second half.
Defensively, the Hokies have struggled to stop Liberty’s speed. The speed difference between the two schools is eye-opening. Look for the Flames to continue to spread the Hokies out and attack horizontally, forcing Tech to chase them from sideline to sideline.