BLACKSBURG, Va. (AP) — Michael Brewer threw a 9-yard touchdown pass to Bucky Hodges with 1:48 remaining Friday night and Virginia Tech beat Virginia for the 11th year in a row, 24-20.
The Hokies (6-6, 3-5 Atlantic Coast Conference) won for just the second time in six games, but qualified for a bowl game for the 22nd year in a row, the second-longest streak in the country. They also ended a six-game losing streak at Lane Stadium against conference opponents.
Virginia (5-7, 3-5), seeking their first bowl bid since 2011, lost its 10th consecutive road game. The Cavaliers drove to the Hokies 36 in the closing seconds, but reserve quarterback Matt Johns was sacked on a fourth-and-5 play.
The game was a defensive struggle throughout, and only in the closing minutes did the offenses get moving. The Hokies’ go-ahead drive, which took just five plays and involved a foolish penalty against the Cavaliers, came after Greyson Lambert had led Virginia on an 89-yard march and a 20-17 lead.
Starting from his own 25, Brewer was flushed and threw the ball away, but got hit and knocked down by lineman Mike Moore after releasing the ball, drawing a 15-yard roughing the passer penalty. Brewer hit Hodges for 50 yards on the next play, and for the touchdown after a false start penalty against the Hokies.
Lambert, who rarely looked comfortable all game, finally did in leading the Cavaliers on an 89-yard drive for the go-ahead touchdown. Using almost all short passes, he completed seven in a row, the last a 20-yarder to his roommate, Zach Swanson, to give Virginia a 20-17 lead with just 2:55 remaining.
The Hokies had taken a 17-13 lead late in the third quarter when Brewer, hit repeatedly and at times wobbly, found Cam Phillips for 36 yards and a touchdown to finish off an 83-yard drive.
Virginia led 13-10 at halftime despite doing very little on offense. The Cavaliers gained a total of 124 yards, and 40 came on a run by Kevin Parks, and 54 came on a pass from Lambert to Taquan Mizzell.
Parks’ run gave Virginia a first down at the Hokies’ 17, and they settled for a 40-yard field goal by Ian Frye. Mizzell’s catch and run set them up at the 6, and led to Frye’s 21-yard field goal.
Their only touchdown came when Brewer was hit while trying to pass from his end zone, and the ball popped up and into David Dean’s arms, and he returned the interception three yards for the TD.
The Hokies did their scoring in similar fashion, using a 69-yard drive that featured a handful of plays with Brenden Motley running the wildcat to lead to Joey Slye’s 22-yard field goal. C.J. Reavis later blocked Alec Vozenilek’s punt from the end zone and Bucky Hodges recovered it for a touchdown.