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Virginia Tech football: 5 takeaways from Hokies’ blowout win over Virginia

The perfect way to end the regular season.

NCAA Football: Virginia Tech at Virginia Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

In case you missed it, the Virginia Tech Hokies are bowl-eligible after Saturday’s 55-17 blowout win over the Virginia Cavaliers in Charlottesville.

The Hokies took control on their first possession and never looked back. Virginia Tech went into halftime up 24-0 and harassed Virginia quarterback Anthony Colandrea from start to finish. Virginia Tech quarterback Kyron Drones was excellent again, passing for 244 yards and three touchdowns and rushing for 50 yards.

Overall, the Hokies finished with 500 total yards, and the Hoos finished with 286. However, most of UVA’s yardage came late when the game was already decided.

Here are five takeaways from the win.

A great finish for the Hokies

If you had asked any Virginia Tech fan in September if they saw the 2023 Hokies going bowling, they probably would have laughed at you. Count me among those. This team looked like it was headed nowhere after losses to Purdue, Rutgers and Marshall. However, the change under center to Drones — after an injury to Grant Wells — changed everything.

Offensive coordinator Tyler Bowen and Drones got comfortable with one another and Bowen’s play-calling style appeared to fit Drones better than Wells. And Drones’ running ability opened up things for a running game that was struggling. Over the last two months, Drones has grown each week and looks the part of a future star.

Some will scoff at Virginia Tech’s 6-6 record and not care about a bowl game. You should. If you support this team, root for them. Support them. Getting to a bowl in Brent Pry’s second season, considering what he inherited, is an accomplishment. There are many positives to take from this season and Drones’ development is chief among those.

And how fitting was it to end the regular season with a blowout win over Virginia at Scott Stadium?

The transfers deliver again

Drones, running back Bhayshul Tuten, wide receiver Da’Quan Felton and defensive end Antwaun Powell-Ryland all had significant impacts on this game. Felton caught three passes for 133 yards and two touchdowns. Watching him through and by Virginia’s secondary was a beautiful sight. Tuten rushed for 117 yards and a touchdown and also returned a kickoff 94 yards for a touchdown. And, of course, there is Drones. These are special players.

Powell-Ryland had only a half-sack, but he was in Colandrea’s face all day. He did have two roughing-the-passer penalties, but the Cavaliers could do nothing with them. APR’s impact was obvious, as he freed up others for shots at the quarterback.

Also, Pheldarious Payne deserves a shoutout. The former Nebraska Cornhusker was everywhere on Saturday, as he had seven tackles, three of which were for loss.

What do these players have in common? All came to Virginia Tech via the transfer portal. You can bet Pry will be selling their success next month when the portal opens again. The transfer portal can allow for quick turnarounds if you do things correctly. Of course, the Hokies aren’t going to focus solely on the portal but use it to supplement the roster at key positions.

They crushed it in 2023.

Colandrea’s guarantee backfires for Virginia

Last week, the UVA freshman quarterback guaranteed a win for the Hoos. Big mistake. As expected, Colandrea’s quote was plastered throughout the Virginia Tech locker room, and the players mentioned after the game that, yes, they were paying attention. Some had some fun postgame with Colandrea.

That’s probably a lesson learned for the true freshman, who was hit repeatedly on Saturday.

The dominance continues

That’s three in a row for the Hokies over the Hoos. That’s 18 of 19 and 22 of 24 for Virginia Tech over Virginia. You have two head coaches who arrived at the same time, and there’s a feeling that these programs are headed in different directions.

Even during the worst season imaginable for Virginia Tech — 2021 — the Cavaliers still couldn’t beat the Hokies. The stage was set that season for UVA with a high-powered offense, yet, the Hokies prevailed — again.

Heading into Saturday, some believed Virginia could win this season. I didn’t. While the Cavaliers had played hard recently, including a win over Duke last week, Virginia Tech’s strengths matched up perfectly with UVA.

Pry appears to have the Hokies headed in the right direction. The jury is still out, of course, but there are real signs of progress.

Can Tony Elliott say the same?

UVA’s postgame fun

After the game, Pry wanted the Hokies back on the field for a postgame photo shoot. It’s Lane Stadium North, after all. Well, Virginia groundskeepers had other ideas. Here’s this from the legendary voice of the Hokies, Bill Roth.

This is petty and awesome. Kudos to the grounds crew. What else could Virginia do? The Hokies took over the stadium and whipped the football team. At least someone on the UVA side made life difficult for Virginia Tech on Saturday.

As for the Hokies, they seemed to take it in stride and enjoyed themselves.