The Virginia Tech Hokies fell to 1-3 on the season Saturday after a 24-17 loss to the Marshall Thundering Herd.
The Hokies jumped out to an early 7-0 lead behind quarterback Kyron Drones, who engineered a six-play, 75-yard drive that ended when he rushed for a 31-yard touchdown.
The good vibes continued for Tech when sophomore linebacker Keli Lawson intercepted Marshall quarterback Cam Fancher. Unfortunately, the Hokies couldn’t turn the advantageous field position into points.
After the touchdown run from Drones, here’s how the remaining Virginia Tech first-half possessions ended: Turnover on downs, punt, field goal, fumble, punt and punt.
On Tech’s field goal, they had a first and goal inside the five-yard line, but after a one-yard run, Drones missed on his subsequent two passes, and the Hokies settled for three.
Marshall’s offense began to heat up as running back Rasheen Ali went untouched on a 56-yard touchdown run, and suddenly, the Thundering Herd took a 14-10 lead. It was a lead they’d never relinquish.
Ali rushed for 101 yards in the first half and finished with 174 yards on 27 carries and two touchdowns. Two big runs highlighted Ali’s day, who ran for 117 yards on two of his 27 attempts. Outside of that, Tech’s defense held him to 57 yards on 25 runs.
Virginia Tech’s biggest problem against Marshall was pre-snap penalties. The Hokies were flagged for several on both sides of the ball, giving the Herd a first down or turning a third-and-long into a third-and-short situation. None hurt worse than on Tech’s final drive with under one minute remaining. Drones had the Hokies across midfield, and they were facing a fourth-and-1. Everything was on the table, and presumably, the Hokies would use their 230-pound quarterback to pick up the first down and keep the drive alive.
However, guard Bob Schick was called for a false start — out of a timeout. Drones’ pass to Jaylin Lane fell incomplete on the next play, and the game was over. It was Marshall’s first win over Virginia Tech since 1940.
The Hokies have now lost three consecutive games and face a daunting schedule, beginning with Pitt next week in Blacksburg.
Drones completed 19 of 35 passes for 159 yards. He rushed the ball 15 times for 75 yards with two touchdowns. Drones was also sacked four times. Running back Bhayshul Tuten led the Hokies with 88 rushing yards on nine attempts. As a team, Tech rushed for 184 yards on 30 attempts.
Freshman tight end Benji Gosnell paced the Hokies passing game with four receptions for 52 yards.